For me wooden boats and windsor chairs are
linked not only by curves, steam bending and hand tools but by a place, Maine.
In the early 1980's I moved to Maine to learn about the basics of wooden
boat building and in my landlord's barn, I built boats and in his kitchen
I was introduced to Windsor chairs.
Wooden boats seem to me to be one of the most beautiful examples
of form following function and top of the heap are small lapstrake canoes
and boats, though the Indian birchbark and the wood canvas canoe are close
My interest in wooden boats had begun when my grandfather gave me
a 1936 Old Town Trapper. He had loaned it to a friend who hit a big rock
with it. Despite being a woodworker this presented me with a completely different
concept and I was hooked.
My boats are constructed using traditional material, methods and
tools. My philosophy has been to try the old ways first and only when they
don't work to try something different. One example of the wisdom of this
notion is repairability. In traditional boats very few parts can't
be removed and replaced to an original state. I appreciate the notion of
a boat that can be renewed 50 years or more from now to the same shape it
was when new.
As with my chairs I've found the the only real improvements on the
old ways are in modern glues, sealants and some finishes. I make my boats
and canoes with bronze and copper fastenings and typically white cedar oak
and mahogany. My traditional stock designs are chosen for versatility and
practicality. I will also build on a custom basis to your design or help
modify an available design to your use.
I also do wooden boat restoration, wood/canvas canoe recanvasing,
and make canoe paddles, double paddles and oars.
I will also consider select repairs and restoration of Mahogany
Runabouts.I first was introduced to them in Northern Wisconsin, where I had
a small shop in Manitowish Waters. This experience lead me to Lake Tahoe
and Sierra Boat Works which is one of the premier shops in the world for
this type of craft. So lets just say you never quite get them out of your
"The soul of a wooden boat is an elusive thing. It is found in the
blend of energies invested by the designer, the builder, and the owner. If
all three investments have been made with love and care, the soul of the
boat seems stronger. There are very few things that we can dream into being,
build with our own hands and enjoy for a lifetime. Wooden boats shine among
them." Jon Wilson - Editor of Woodenboat