Contact me at: or by phone 204.878.2524

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Lots of stuff goes on in this shop, located in Lorette, Manitoba.

Primarily it's the building and repair of classic wood & canvas canoes, and the making of premium canoe paddles. I also do custom boat building, composite fabrication, and special projects. A growing passion of mine is the making of classical guitars, I'll post about that, too.

I want to be able to share with my clients the progress of their commissioned work. Later I started thinking that there might be other people who are interested in what goes on inside a wooden canoe shop operated by an artist and a recovering teacher.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me by email, phone, or by post. My mailing address is:

Red River Canoe & Paddle
24249 River Rd
Lorette, Manitoba
R5K 0Z6

Saturday 30 March 2013

I can feel it in my bones that it is now time to get back to painting!  However, I really prefer working large scale, like 3' x 5' and larger, but I am running low on paint supplies, I'm trying to be thrifty  and I just don't have the time to invest in working on just a few large paintings.

The only real solution is to work smaller.  I can use what paint I have, get them done in a timely fashion, get more paintings done, and maybe sell and ship some at affordable rates.  They idea here is to kick start my painting mojo into gear.

So I cut up a panel of 3 mm Baltic birch into 8" x 10" panels.  There are 36 of them, should be good for awhile.Having them sit here at the ready is one step close to being able to work on them.  Now I just need to fill up my paint stores and gesso the panels.  I'm thinking of adding a wood rim to the backs of these panels, too, to make them easier fr future mounting.  Easy to do it now rather than later.

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I keep an aquarium in my shop to liven up the place, and the sagittaria subulata is in bloom! Makes me think of warmer times and warmer places during the cold winter.

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I don't think that I ever showed photos of my "S" shaped Mid-Century Modern style coffee table that I made last fall.  Well, here it is in situ.

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Due to a lot of sow over the winter and warmer temps coming a little late, the spring melt is slow. All of the snow is usually gone, or almost gone by now, but until we get some bare spots most of the suns heat is just bouncing back into space! However, my south facing roof is getting some really cool icicles!

Yes...I know that my Christmas lights are droopy!  We keep them up year round and I do need to check on all of the hooks.  I'm also thinking of changing out these red LEDs for some white.  We used to have regular bulbs and the worked great for outdoor lighting in the front yard, great for evening snow clearing and such.
These are too dim to be of much use.

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While I was at my hardwood supplier I was shown some interesting maples, which I just had to buy.  First up is an 11" wide, 4/4, 7' long piece of curly soft maple.  Second is a 7" wide, 4/4, 11' long piece of hard maple with a very interesting "bees wing" or "Waterfall" type of grain rolling diagonally across the width.  Third is a 7" wide 8/4, 10' long piece of hard maple with Bird's eye and curl.

I plan on using these for guitar backs and sides.

Now I need to figure out how best to cut them!

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Once all of the woodwork is completed, and the planking is all back on, then I am onto the task of sanding out the entire interior prepping it for new varnish.  I put on two coats of Epifanes spar varnish, which is the only varnish that I use now.

Then prep the outside by sanding and applying linseed oil, then canvas and filler.  New outer gunnels of Red Oak, to match the inners, deck, and other trim (but the decks are Ash) are fabricated and installed and sanded.  After the stem bands are put back on, I am done on this canoe as the owner will be doing the paint and trim varnish.

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Once the 18' Chestnut guide is opened up the extent of the task at hand is revealled.  The stem tips and gunnel ends, which looked OK before now look...well the don't look at all as they are not there.

Chestnut typically used a scaprh jointed gunnel and one of the inner gunnel glue joint has failed.

So, make up some cedar stock for the rib end repairs, and get the stem and gunnel repairs done.  Then on to two fractured rib repairs and some planking replacement.

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Friday 15 March 2013

Now that the Tremblay is finished enough for varnish, the next canoe is an 18' Chestnut guide, a "Moses" model. Notice the very closely spaced ribs, which is what distinguishes the Guides fro the Cruisers, as well as the wonky gunnel line typical of Chestnuts that did not have the correct size thwarts.

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A bit of progress on the viola da gamba. the back of the soundboard is carved to final dimension, the "C" holes are cut, and the bass bar is being fitted. Once that is done I can close it up! Yeah! A long time coming.

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Tuesday 5 March 2013

In between working on big projects, I am taking advantage of a bit of time to make a little progress on the viola da gamba. I have finished cleaning up the inlay on the back and the purfling o the front, trimmed the back along the sides, sanded the sides, and started trimming the heel. I have also started carving out the back of the soundboard.

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The canoe seat that had come in with ripped apart pre-woven canoe is now done. The old cane is cut out, the seat frame sanded and varnished, and new webbing is woven, stretched, and stapled on. Yes, I used stainless steel staples...

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Now that the Chestnut is done and out of the shop, as well as that guitar case, I can put my attention to this 17' Tremblay. Here it is stripped of its old varnish, sanded, and ready for the woodwork repairs.

An Almansa guitar came in for some repair. The purfling had gotten knocked, came loose, and the top came unglued from the lining. Actually, let me qualify that. The Almansa does not have the tail block come up to the top and neither does the lining extend through the region, so the top has precious little to be glued to. Its a wonder that these things stay together at all.

The17' Chestnut Cruiser "Cronje" is now done and back to wearing its proper colours.  The Cruisers and guides were only available in this colour.  The Pleasure serise of canoes was only available in red and green.

Friday 1 March 2013

The guitar case is finally finished!  Its amazing at just how much work fitting out the interior is.  Not cheap, either.  Just the foam and fabric cost about $80!

By the way, after experimenting with various adhesives, including spray contact cement, I determined that hot melt glue worked best, but it takes a lot of glue sticks!

I need to figure out an simpler way to do this as I'm actually considering making more cases...

BTW, the guitar is a Martin 0000-18.

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