Ribs, planking, and Peapods

This was the winter of the Peapod! The association of camp owners on Mountainy Pond each have a peapod, whether Gerrish or Old Town, to row to their camp each summer. They are well-used, so we are happy to give them the attention they deserve. This summer, we sent off five to Mountainy Pond and another unrelated Peapod to Mr. Terry, to enjoy at his family camp.


Gail has been hard at work, milling materials for the mail-order side of the business and keeping us in filler. In addition to her speedy sanding and expert cleaning, she is more than essential around here! Rollin and Elisa just try to keep up with her.

This winter also saw two Gallupe canoes come through the shop. This asymmetrical canoe design was made especially for motoring on the shallow mouths of the rivers in the north of the state. The canoe is the ultimate place-based craft!

Speaking of unusual Maine designs, we also gave a Rangeley square-stern lapstrake boat back to its owner this summer. We replaced the keel, the transom and the inside stem, not to mention reclinching many copper nails and rivets, so it is a much sturdier boat than when it arrived at the shop. Rollin also found a lovely knee for the outside stem, so that the wood grain  follows the curve of the front of the boat. After a spiffy new paint job, this boat headed off to get back on the water with Mr. Field.

Well, now you’re all caught up and you can go back outside and get in your canoe…

Happy paddling!

Back in the shop!

Go Red Sox!

It seems like ages since we’ve all been here!

Rollin took a nice vacation(for the first time in five years), we flitted from the WCHA assembly in New York to the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine, and now we’re all back home, ready to take on our projects. Three restoration projects and two new canoes have been waiting for our attention, there was filler to be made (as always), extra materials from classes to be put away, and on top of that, some of us haven’t even gone paddling yet this summer! We celebrated the season, though, with a shop trip to Fenway Park.

We have a 16-foot Medford Explorer in the shop, being built for Mr. Johnson. Peter installed rails for it and it should get its last coat of paint tonight.


Mr. O’Hara’s Chestnut needed a lot of attention to rib tops, rail ends, and stem tops. These are the most common repairs we undertake. A combination of glue and splicing makes the rib tops strong to carry the inner and outer gunwales.

The stem receives a splice and an inner laminate, both made of ash, to solidify the part of the stem that meets the deck.

We can splice the gunwale, as well, matching wood and grain. But sometimes, we simply have to replace the whole thing.


We said goodbye to many canoes at the beginning of the summer, their owners eager to get them on the water:

And now I’d better get back to that long-neglected sanding…

Happy summer from the shop!

Busy through the Winter

The weather outside is lovely today. We’re expecting three to six inches of snow! And a happy spring to you all.

While Maine was still buried in the white stuff (i.e. until last week), we were hard at work on some fun and challenging projects:


At the beginning of winter, before the snow flew, a crew from Kroka Expeditions in New Hampshire hauled up two of their 20-foot Voyagers for restoration. The boats needed several new ribs, gunwale repair and several pounds of sand cleaned out from under the canvas! For the use that these boats get, though, on river and lake trips with hundreds of students and campers, they were in remarkable shape. The three folks from Kroka began the job of getting them spiffed up by taking them apart. We enjoyed their visit and their energy.


Rollin practiced his chandelier-making abilities this winter! Elisa dropped off this beautiful Morris reconstruction in Everett, Mass. It now lights and decorates the great room in an apartment building there. LED lights line the underside of the gunwales and highlight the color of the northern white cedar inside.

Are we sad that it will never touch water? A little. But at least many people will be able to appreciate the beauty of the Morris design when looking at it from below.


We are always in the process of renewing. Some of the jobs are small –¬† a couple of ribs or a new polish of varnish, a new canvas and they’re on their way. But it’s rare. Usually, we have a lot of work to do to get from this….

to this!

For one canoe, we used a jig to draw out and make a new stem, patched up rib tops, installed new inner gunwales and a few new ribs. After a new thwart, new canvas and outer gunwales, newly caned seats topped off the job.

And all that in addition to drilling stem bands, keeping the fire going, and keeping an eye on the snow on the roof.


At the end of it all, it’s a good thing we have a lot of comfortable places to sit down and take a break.

The boss, at work

Summer is here!

It’s warming up at last in central Maine, which means it’s time to go canoeing. Well, maybe for you!

With the canoeing season in full swing, the shop is busy, busy, busy. Rollin and Elisa have just returned from a successful week-long course at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, ME. We built three different canoes with a group of 12 students and sent each boat off with a lucky winner! Now that we are back from the ocean, we can concentrate on shop projects.

You’ll notice it’s Morris heaven right now in the shop: we have a new Morris being built and on the other side of the shop, a Morris in the middle of the restoration process. And yes, that’s the skeleton of B.N. Morris keeping watch and making sure we’re doing things right.

We’ve been lucky to have the whole crew in the shop this week, including one shop helper whom we only see when he’s visiting his grandfather, but he catches on quick!


Now that winter and mud season are over, we can look back with nostalgia at what we were up to before the weather got hot:

Happy paddling!

Happy New Year from the Shop!

Gail D’Agostino sanding Rollin’s Atkinson Traveler

For the new year, we have a new face at Northwoods Canoe. Gail D’Agostino has joined the ranks and we’re happy to have her – she’s already sanding boats!

The projects in the shop are many and varied. They’ve been keeping us busy in the odd moments we find between shoveling snow.

Mr. Bateman’s square-stern canoe is coming along, with new oak inner gunwales and a new oak keelson. Rollin and Gail bent some new ribs for the canoe as well.

We’ve lowered a form for a new boat this week: Mr. Kaufman’s American Beauty. We hope to get ribs bent this afternoon!



Rollin installing a brand new keel

Also in the shop is the Thum Brothers’ boat, a deep Old Town canoe made custom for the Thums. After this restoration, we hope it will see many more long canoe trips into the wilds of Canada!

Canoes for sale!

Two year waiting list? Not for these beauties!

Rollin has been looking around the shop this summer and he realized that we have two new canoes and a finished restoration sitting in storage, just waiting to be put in the water. Take a look and if you’re interested, give us a call for more information!

This beautiful Model A, Type III 17-foot B.N. Morris was built for a customer in 2001 and is like new! Asking $4800
It has a nice stern seat drawer and comes with Shaw & Tenney oars.
Built in 2010, this Kingfisher was traded in for a newer canoe. It is in excellent condition and there is hardly a sign of wear. Asking $4375
We finished the restoration of this 15.5-foot Chestnut in 2012. Asking $2400


Or are you looking for a project? We’ve got ’em: a Gerrish Peapod and two Rangeley rowboats.

This 15-foot Gerrish Rowing Peapod needs work, but the hull is in good condition. Asking $2000
You can see the original Gerrish tag here. It says “E.H. Gerrish- Maker – Bangor, Maine.”


This Sprague model Grand Laker is 20 feet long, 40 inches wide and 18 inches deep. Asking $800


A 16.5-foot Rangeley rowboat. Needs extensive work, but the hull is still solid and has not deformed. Asking $800
This Rangeley rowboat still has its paint, inside and out. It also needs extensive work. Asking $300


Summer in the Shop

Rollin and Elisa are back in the shop after a class at the WoodenBoat School. Twelve students built three canoes in a week! A former student sent along this video of his finished Kingfisher, cruising across a lake.

Working in the Shop

Some current work in the shop!

A new hull for a 8ft Morris model
Planking the Morris model! The hot iron steams the wood to help it bend.
Elisa doing the grunt work to make the new website.