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Rollin Thurlow, proprietor of Northwoods Canoe Company

Rollin Thurlow, proprietor of the Northwoods Canoe Company, has spent much of his life either paddling, repairing or building wooden canoes. Introduced to canoeing via the family's aluminum canoe in the early 1960's, Rollin discovered the excitement of Maine's lakes and rivers. While guiding Boy Scout trips in the mid 60's down the Allagash River and other Northwoods waterways, he learned the advantages and spirit of wood and canvas canoes. These trips also started his education into the repair and maintenance of these traditional working craft.

After graduation from Maine Maritime Academy and a tour of duty in the U.S.Navy. Rollin's formal education in the construction of wooden boats began when he attended the Wooden Boat Construction program in Lubec, Maine. In 1975 he and Jerry Stelmok became partners in the Island Falls Canoe Company.  They were building canoes off the original E.M.White forms in addition to a wide variety of other wooden boat construction and restoration projects.

In 1982, Rollin established the Northwoods Canoe Company for the purpose of wooden canoe restoration and construction of his own canoe designs. In response to many requests from do-it-yourselfers, he has developed an ever-expanding line of canoe kits, plans, and hard-to-find materials and tools.

"Thanks for all your time at the Wooden Boat School. The course
was the highlight of my summer. I learned a lot, and your
approach gave me a lot of confidence."

-Paul Nelson; Framingham, MA

Regarded as one of Maine's finest craftsmen, Rollin is in demand as a lecturer and instructor. He has taught various canoe classes at the Wooden Boat School, Brooklin, ME; Buffalo State College, Buffalo, NY; Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, ME; Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, Paul Smiths, NY; and at the Wilderness Workshop, Toronto, Canada. In addition to the many articles he has written, Rollin and Jerry Stelmok co-authored the book The Wood & Canvas Canoe, now regarded as the definitive work on the subject. Rollin has also produced two videos; Building the Atkinson Traveler and Steam Bending for Woodworkers, demonstrating wood/canvas canoe building and wood working techniques.

Rolland Thurlow provides wooden canoe building and restoration classes for novices and experience canoe builders.

Peter WallacePeter Wallace, became my first full time employee in 1993. With his woodworking and mechanical skills he quickly became a valuable member of the Canoe Company and as a result he has joined me as a Partner in the Canoe Company.

In addition to being the caretaker for two winters in the White Mountains at the Gray Knob cabin for the RMC and bicycling across the states with his dog Goldie, Peter graduated from Unity College with a B. S. in Outdoor Recreation in 1986. Dating back to the early "70"s he has an extensive outdoor background from rock and ice climbing, backpacking and ski mountaineering, canoeing and kayaking, to search and rescue.  He has worked for several children's environmental education programs, from Maine to W. Virginia, other youth adventure programs and a local Youth at Risk Adventure program. He is an EMT Paramedic with a hospital based ambulance service and a local volunteer ambulance service, a registered Maine Guide, an instructor for Outward Bound here in Maine and an instructor for Wilderness Medical Associates of Portland, me., teaching wilderness first aid and medicine through out the northeast.  He is also an addicted fly fisherman, so don't call up and tell him about your fishing adventure, because he's likely to take the rest of the week off.                                                                                                           


            Me and the Boyz                  Telos                                    Kineo

   His sons Kineo age 18 and Telos 15 are often recipients of his many woodworking talents and projects. The boys have spent time in the shop and are familar with the canoe building and restoration process. They have already been to places a lot of adults will never reach. Both boys have been out in canoes on overnite and multiday adventures before they were old enough for school. Before Telos turned three he did his first  6 day West Branch trip on the Penobscot River(see photos of the deep Traveler). He wasn't yet eight when they made their first overnite backpack trip into Baxters Chimney Pond and the summit of Mt. Katahdin.


   Kineo. last year in the shop, He since has moved on to college He went down to Florida and is attending The Florida Institute of Technology for Aerospace Engineering. "See son, all that sanding is payin off now. "  Telos seen here hiking up White Cap in the rain with his mom in the background is still here in the county attending the local High School as a sophomore.

  Peter built the family home partially from salvaged, manufactured and home cut wood. Their house is large modern home that is off the grid and completely solar powered which is a testament to his commitment to responsible environmental living. Peter incorporates all his skills into our wooden boat building projects, teaching classes, and dealing with customers and phone calls. We are all entertained by his broad knowledge of rock,country, folk and other types of music and a variety of other non essential information and trivia, especially his bank of information on Frank Zappa, Firesign Theater and movies. His words of wisdom based upon that knowledge is always very enlightening.

   After 20 years in the shop Peter has moved on to the paramedic realm. Last year he achieved a paramedic license after a year in school and working full time. He got full time employment with the service he had been working with at the near-by hospital. He will still be in the shop a couple days a week as his full time medic slot is 24 on, 24 off, 24 on, five days off.

Northwoods Canoe, making wooden canoes and kayaks for canoe enthusiasts around the world.

Paul DixonPaul Dixon, has been with the company since 1998,and in keeping with the tradition of short bearded guys Paul fits right in. Paul and his wife Tracy , who is now training in a Nursing program, live in a solar powered log home in Medford, Me. A cabinetmaker by trade he has proven to be a versatile worker. If you call the shop and someone with a Boston accent answers the phone, you have the right place, it's just Paul.     

  Paul has been battling a intestinal condition that has put him out of commission.  For the time being he is on permanent hiatus.


We cant forget "Bean"

She has been a fixture here now for over five years.



   Elisa Schine: Seen here shaping the edge of ribstock. Elisa worked with us a few years back when we were working on the Darrow canoes. She was born and raised in Vermont. That makes her a woodchuck. She graduated from Wesleyan College with a degree in English, minoring in early Britainia female novelist. She worked at Darrow camps for over ten years. So she is  very familiar with wood canvas canoes. She worked with Scott Barkdoll for a while and Kroka Expeditions, both back in Vermont after her first stint here in 2010. She also spent a while in San Fransisco baking pies, (not that we've seen any of the yield from those days". She is now here full time to pick up some of the slack Peter is leaving by not being here full time.















  Pam Tower: Who has survived here for six years is our shipping Guru. She commands the phones when she is here and is the Queen of filler. She keeps the retail and record keeping aspects of the business on an even keel. She came to Maine in the 70's  as a young hippie and now resides in Harmony (town of). She recently finished a nursing program  after several years of juggling full time and part time work, school and volunteering  with several local organizations. Now a licensed and registered nurse with the same local hospital that Peter works out of. She  manages our shipping dept while working per-diem as a nurse.



   Pam has crushed the shipping girl curse. Until she came along we were unable to keep a shipping person employed. We had been thru at least five people before she came along.

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Northwoods Canoe Company
336 Range Rd.
Atkinson, ME04426

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