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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

Tuesday 30 April 2013

A little further work on the viol fingerboard. Sort of. This is a dummy fingerboard and a dummy bridge made solely for the purpose of working out the geometry of the parts. The dummy bridge was made to the pattern shown on my plans. With the cedar fingerboard I was able to determine that I needed to lower the surface of the neck where it joins the body. That done, I am now confident that my parts will align into the right neighbourhood. Presently, with a 2mm spacer sitting at the nut, a straight edge has 6mm clearance over the end of the fingerboard. This is a mid-range value based upon the info that members here provided to me last week, for which I am grateful. I can now proceed on the actual parts confident that there will be range for fine-tuning.

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Monday 29 April 2013

The set up, the geometry of the neck angle, string height, and bridge height, is critical for the playing of any stringed musical instrument.  You can build the best resonating box ever, but if the interface between instrument and musician is crap, well then, nobody will ever want to play it.

So I am working on the neck, fingerboard, and bridge now.

Part of that is ot make up dummy patterns of the the fingerboard and bridge to work out the shapes first.

And another part of that is to prepare some purfling for the fingerboard and tailpiece border.

I also turns out, a discovery that I made after rough cutting the Santos Rosewood Fingerboard, is that many viols had a hardwood laminated over a lighterwieght wood core, in order to keep the mass of the instrument down.

Hmmm, do I or don't I make it that way?  Not too late.  Yet.

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Somedays, when a lot of work has to go through in short order, the shop starts to feel a little corwded...

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Also this week, I have an older Souris River canoe in for gunnel replacement. This canoe had Ash gunnels on originally and the owners, who keep a cottage at Big Whiteshell Lake, don't have a covered storage space, which is typical of many canoe owners. The wood has deteriorated and it was decided that aluminium gunnels would be a more appropriate choice.

The gunnel replacement on the old Souris River Jensen Tripper is done. Black looks pretty good on the old girl. I made up some fibreglass end caps, too, to cover and protect the gunnel ends. As a finishing touch, the outside face of the rivets is painted black.

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Dorges Field, April 24th, 2013.

Mere days after the other photo, showing the spring melt.

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A little work on a Current Designs kayak.  The stem areas had bee worn away through abrasion every time the kayk takes ground.  So time to build the worn areas back up with some fiberglass and resin, then sand and fait them smooth.   A little shot of gloss white spray paint makes it look good and is far less expensive that building up and polishing gelcoat.  The rest of the hull is all scratched up anyway.

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I made a good trade last Friday. You know its a good trade when both parties feel that they got the best part of the deal and walk away happy. This is why I'm happy. This is a vintage sailing rig for fixing to a canoe, and it was originally with a late 1930's Canadian Canoe Co. wood and canvas canoe. The owners had absolutely no intention of ever sailing that canoe, however they really did need some new cedar for rib replacement, so a deal was made. Her is the rig sitting in place on the Seliga that I am working on. Lee boards with leather straps to buckle them to the canoes thwart, clamp on mast partner, short mast with lateen sail of Egyptian Cotton, and a back rest for when you sit on the canoe's floor while sailing. the backrest just happens to have a teeny-tiny Peterborugh Canoe Co. decal under the layers of dark, crust, old, varnish.

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The Seliga has been thoroughly sanded on the interior.  This is always a fun task as the old varnish is well dried and is very hard, I have to be extrememly thorough preparing for the refresher coats of varnish.

I also reparied a gunnel break in the spruce gunnels near the stern seat and removed the decks.  The Ash decks were starting to get a little soft in the points and it was better to remove them now and epoxy saturate them to stabilize them, than to just leave them and let the rot advance.

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Thursday 18 April 2013

This week I have added a few pages to this website.  I am taking some time to expand the presentation of my work.  I have added pages to profile my musical instrument work, my artwork, my paddle making, as well as to provide a place to present any items which are available for sale.

I have just gotten this part started, so please feel free to visit, but remember that it is fresh and I am still adding to it!

I also did a little tinkering around with how it looks.

Remember, you can join in the discussion with Red River Canoe & Paddle on our Facebook page.

Also, my Facebook page Douglas Ingram Artworks
Once in awhile a canoe comes into the shop that is out of the ordinary.  This time it is a 17' canoe built by Joe Seliga of ely Minnesota.  Joe is legendary, sadly, I never had the opportunity to meet him.  From what I have heard and read he was a lovely man.

Joe built a nice canoe.  The shape is very fine for tripping, the materials are all of excellent quality and well shaped and fitted.  It is a very honest and refined build without getting "precious".

This one is in pretty good shape, needing only a few repairs, mostly sand and refinish the varnish, new canvas, fill, and paint.  There is evidence of prior repairs, a few replaced ribs, some rib repairs, etc.  All well done by, I am lead to believe, Roger Redwin who lives and works in my neighbouring town of Landmark Mb.

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The Evergreen Willow all done with shiny new Walnut trim.

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After getting the Willow done and out of the shop I decided that it was now, or sometime far into the future, to get the bass bar fitted and glued onto the soundboard of the viol.

So it was now!

Then I was able to glue the top to the rim, and show my wife the progress.

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Picked up some Santos Rosewood for the fingerboard and tailpiece.  Spent a little time cutting them to size.  Shaping will have to wait till the next time that I get some extra time.  I want to do some inlay borders and I need to relect some more on what I want to do for that.

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Dorge's Field, April 16, 2013.

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Saturday 6 April 2013

I have a kevlar canoe in with a lot of this peeling surface material.  I thought that it might be gelcoat, but it doens't act that way, doesn't sand well, but scrapes right off with a chisel in a jiffy!

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With the Chestnut guide out the door, time to turn my attention to the next project, which in this case is a 16' Evergreen "Willow" needing the rotting gunnels replaced.

So, make some new ones, take notes of the trim locations, remove the old ones, and start fitting.  You have to be careful when fitting gunnels to a composite hull to avoid any buckling of the laminate or changing the "width".  I put the centre thwart in position as the gunnels were being positioned, then worked slowly to the ends.  Fitting the ends of the inner gunnels was the most challenging part due to how they come together and the fact that the joint is fully exposed leaving all to see any poor workmanship. (What looks like a gap here is actually a shadow line)

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