12 December- Overdue Update

I had a guest this week in the barn.  Friend (and R/V Knorr shipmate) Frank Scofield spent a few days working on an interesting project: rehabilitating a small pram for his grandchildren to use next summer, out in the harbor.  Frank tells me the boat was built back in the seventies by none other than Peter Spectre (author and long time Wooden Boat contributor) for his own children.  When they out grew it, the boat was lent (Frank swears he has only borrowed it) for use by Frank’s kids.


The overhaul included fiberglass tape on all hull seams, new bilge runners and keel, new frames, and new inner and outer rails, all in ash.  Frank plans to refurbish the seating, install new oarlocks, and give it all a few good coats of paint.  Look for the relaunched boat next summer, out by Curtis Island on the south side of Camden Harbor.  Hopefully Frank will send us a picture of the finished project.

In other shop news, I am building some furniture- pics next post.  Also building some stands and getting the blue canoe all spiffed up for Maine Wood next month at the Messler Gallery.



13 October- Goose River Guide Boat For Sale

This pretty, gray canoe is available now, in time for some fall paddling. It is a 17 foot guide model. Cedar and canvas, with ash rails, thwarts and and hand caned seats, maple decks; copper tacks and bronze screws and bolts used throughout. It weighs in around 80 lbs and can carry two adults plus either a few kids or lots of gear. The hull is painted with 2 coats of primer and 2 coats of satin base pearl gray Epifanes yacht enamel (#216.) The interior has four coats of Epifanes gloss wood finish and top coats of epifanes high gloss varnish on the hardwoods and matte finish on the cedar. This is a high quality, hand-built boat that will attract crowds everywhere you put in. Also available, hand carved solid ash paddles.

Canoe $4500.00 plus ME sales tax (5.5%)

Paddles $150 each plus ME sales tax (5.5%)

Call or email Bob for more info

(781) 910-8851



gray3 paddles gray2 gray4 gray1


5 October- Catching Up

Summer is definitely over, though I’m sure we will get a few summer-like days over the next few weeks.  And it was a good summer.  Julie and I and the dogs got out sailing a couple of weeks.  I think I spent a total of 21 nights aboard Preamble, away from her mooring.  Now she is hauled out, unstepped and in the shed down on the harbor in Rockland.  My big task there this winter is to disassemble the steering system and replace the upper and lower bearings on the rack and pinion shaft.

Around the house, the wood piles are ready for winter, the dinghy is put away and covered, and the garden is winding down (though still producing beans, squash, cukes, tomatoes, leeks…)  In the next few weeks I will put the Porsche away, swap the snowblower for the lawn mower at the front of the garage, take out the screens and put in the glass panels on the back porch.

Most importantly, though, it is time to get back to work in the barn.  This fall I am building a pretty good sized, two-piece bench/book shelf.  It will be made of cherry, free standing, and the two pieces will be stackable or usable separately.  Here is a sketch, to scale with the wall it will sit in front of.  Each block of the graph paper is 4 inches.


After that, it will be back to paddles, probably some more ducks, and, dependant on selling the last two, another couple canoes.  One of the boats from last season is going to be in a show called Maine Wood 2016 at the Messler Gallery from January 22nd to April 6th.  Hopefully it will sell there and maybe generate a few orders.

I also am hoping to finally finish the upstairs, separating the finishing area from my office and getting some paint on the walls, ceiling and floor up there.  It should brighten it up and help keep the dust down.

Anyway, plenty to do for me and the dogs.


2 September- More boats

It’s hard to believe it is September; but it has been a busy summer.  I am just getting the paint and varnish finished on the last of this year’s boats.  Then it is off for a bit of a cruise down Mt. Desert way- sailing, hiking with the dogs and some nice down time with Julie.  I think Rachel is planning to join us for a bit, also.

My friend Michael O’Neil stopped by and took some great pictures of one of my boats.



This one is painted with satin base Epifanes #28 (water blue) and finished with Epifanes gloss varnish on the hardwood surfaces, and Epifanes matte on the cedar (inside the boat.)  The two paddles are solid ash, hand carved in a beavertail shape.

And, this morning, I put the first coat of satin base Epifanes 216 (pearl gray) on this, the final boat from this past year.


After another coat of paint, and a few more coats of varnish, this canoe will be ready for a buyer in a week or so.  See 30 July post, below, for more info.

30 July- Boats getting finished, for sale.

A little over a week ago, Julie and I launched the first of this year’s canoes in Lake Megunticook.  It paddled well, tracked true and had great stability.  Of course, the real test will be when we take the dogs with us.  This boat is for my own use with Julie and the dogs, as well as for duck hunting on our local rivers, but one of the other boats from this build season will soon be available.  See below.

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The dogs have been practising; I’m sure we will all end up wet the first few times.

Meanwhile, I have been cranking out paddles and working on the other two boats.


Algonquin and beaver tail style paddles. Solid ash, oil finish.


Attaching outer rails.

We are off sailing for the next week or so, aboard Preamble, but when we return, I expect to get the other boats completed by Labor Day.

One of the boats will be available for purchase at that time.  It is officially Goose River Guide Canoe 17-01 (the one launched last week was the prototype.)  I am planning on painting it in Epifanes satin base yacht enamel #216 (a sort of grayish light-blue) though if you speak up before August 10th, you can have it in your choice of any of the standard Epifanes yacht enamel colors.

The boat is made from locally sourced wood: eastern white cedar (planks and ribs) ash (rails, thwarts, seats) and maple (decks.)  It is fastened with copper tacks, and silicon bronze screws and bolts, etc.  The seat frames are joined with mortise and tenon.  The caning is woven in place.  The hull is covered with #10  American cotton duck, bedded with a linseed oil based filler.  Hull paint as described above.  Epifanes varnish on the interior and rails (multiple coats: gloss on ash and maple, matte top-coat on cedar.)

Dimensions: Length-17 feet, Max beam -34 inches, Height amidships- 11 inches, Height at stems- 20 inches.  Weight- 78 lbs.

Here are some pictures of it today.  I still need to trim the outer rails, install the outer stems, paint and varnish.





The price is $4500 (plus 5.5% Maine sales tax.)  As this will be the first official boat of this run to go out of the barn , I am including two hand-shaped, solid ash paddles, your choice of either  beaver tail or Algonquin style (see above,) sized to order.  I will also give a free one year tune up (paint, varnish,etc.) as I would like your feedback after it has been in use.

If interested, contact me at (781) 910-8851 or whitewoodcraft@yahoo.com  Also, please share this with anybody you know who may be interested.  Thank you.












1 July- Back in the Barn

The canoe hulls are all cured, so it’s back to work in the barn finishing them off.  But the past couple of months have been productive.  Most importantly, Preamble is happily moored in Rockport Harbor, with a waxed hull and nice, refinished teak.

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The kayaks got a quick overhaul before getting them out for an early morning paddle on Megunticook- and, hopefully, many more before it gets cold again.

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The dinghy got a lot of attention, paint and oil.  Looking new after three summers of hard use and no love.



The dogs are ready to get back to work, obviously.

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So back to it.  I just finished putting outer rails on this boat and got a thinned coat of varnish applied to the inside.  Next, some outer stems and a keel, and, of course, many more coats of varnish and lots of paint.  Then, do it all again, two more times.


18 May- This Week in the Barn




The title of this post should probably be “the past couple of weeks in the barn, out in the yard and down at the harbor.”  The doped canoe hulls are curing- they are almost halfway there.  Meanwhile, a full-blown spring has overtaken us in a way I haven’t seen in a few years.  Fairly warm, dryish air and not too much (some might even say too little) rain have led to good progress getting the boats ready for summer, as well as allowing for lots of yard work that I had thought wouldn’t happen until summer.

I have managed to squeeze in some work in the barn, though.  I made this shaving horse out of a piece of maple I had kicking around.  The design is based on a few I had seen on-line.  I still need to fashion na foot peddle, but it works quite well and will make shaping paddles a lot easier.  The work support surface is adjustable by the bungee-loaded pawl and the ratcheted post.  The clamp bar can also be set to different positions.  And the seat slides forward and back to allow proper address of the work.


In the yard, the big project (done by Ken Thompson/Beech Hill Landscape) was the (you can’t see it) huge french drain across the entire fron yard, which was then loamed, graded and seeded.  Hopefully it will be a nice, well drained, grassy yard soon.  A smaller job was the construction of two four by twelve by twenty-two inch high raised beds for our vegetable garden.  Seven yards of loam, manure and peat are due Thursday, and then we will be ready to put in the peas and radishes and all.  Next year, we can start earlier, as I will build cold frames above the beds.


The yacht club launch went in the water today, and,  after replacing the completely dead battery, I took it across the harbor to its dock.  Preamble is probably not going in until the middle of June.  Meanwhile, I have a bunch of teak to sand and refinish, as well as a few rigging chores, and, of course, bottom paint and wax.

Once all of these chores are done (and the canoe hulls are cured,) it will be back to more interesting things in the barn.  Rails, outer stems and keels to be fit.  Varnish on the insides and rails, paint on the hulls, and more paddles (and some different shapes) to be carved.

The dogs and Rachel had some nice pictures done by 5IVELEAF Photography, out in Appleton- a Mother’s Day present for Julie.




1 May- This Week in the Barn

The sun is out and things are starting to dry up a bit.  We finally seem to have shed that low-pressure area that had been hanging over us for about the past ten days.  Time to start looking forward to summer!

This week in the barn was all about doping, doping the canvas I stretched last week.  First, I had to mix up the dope.  A lot of people keep their recipes a big secret, but I use one that was shared on the wooden canoe heritage association website.  If you want the exact amounts, it’s posted openly there.  Basically it uses a bit over six pounds of silica per about a gallon of 4:3:2 boiled linseed oil:paint:mineral spirits, with small dashes of varnish and Japan drier.


The dope, or filler, is applied to the hull using a four inch brush that had its bristles cut to half length (to effectively stiffen them.)  I work it into the weave using a circular motion on the brush, then push it even deeper with a “mitten” that I sewed from canvas scraps.  A few hours later, a second coat, painted on and smoothed in with the “mitten” finishes the fill.


Now the boats must sit and cure for anywhere from four to six weeks.  Luckily, I have a bout four to six weeks work to do getting the yacht club launch, Ginny T, back into service and getting Preamble ready for an early June launch.


Ginny T and Preamble, last summer.


27 April- Last Week in the Barn

I didn’t get a chance to post over the weekend, because I was taking my Archery Hunter Safety Course.  It was interesting enough, but probably didn’t need to be two full days.  I took it so that I can hunt both turkeys and deer with a bow, rather than a gun.  This means I can hunt in places that are a bit more populated, which is where the turkey and deer population are most out of control.

Last week (and today) was all about sanding, fairing, stretching, stapling.  I just have to canvas one more hull tomorrow.  It is all faired and ready to go.  Then I will move on to doping.  Here are some pictures.

I’m also posting some pictures of older work in the portfolio section.


First I pre-stretch the canvas, then stretch it over the hull.


These horses fit up inside the inverted hull, supporting it at specific frames.


I use a torch to burn the nap off of the canvas, to help get a smoother finish.


Another hull waiting for dope. 



16 April- This Week in the Barn

This week saw us go from a few patches of bare ground in the snow to a few patches of snow on the bare ground.  Of course, with this came the mud, our fifth season here in Maine.  Soon we can start thinking of spring, turkey hunting, open water fishing, and, eventually, sailing.

It was a busy week here in the barn, between paddle shaping, hull fairing and canvassing.  I’ll let the pictures tell about it.


Here are a pair of Algonquin style paddles, shaped from solid ash.  One is 60″ and one is 52″: I’m in the midst of shaping the shorter one, and the 60″ is finished with a few coats of linseed oil.


I use these two long boards with adhesive-backed paper to fair the hull.  The heavy rigid board is good for the fairly flat bottom, the flexible board works well in the turns.


Once the hull is smooth, it gets sealed with warmed linseed oil, inside and out.


After using a winch to stretch the canvas over the inverted hull (no picture, sorry) the canvas is secured in place with two by four “clothes pins” and the boat is set right side up.


The canvas is pulled tight at the sheer and fastened at each rib with monel staples.


One boat canvassed, preparing to fair the next.

The coming week will be fairing, canvassing and paddle shaping. Then it will be time to dope the hulls.