Books & Videos


The Wood & Canvas Canoe    by Rollin Thurlow and Jerry Stelmok

Image resultThe best and most complete guide to the construction, restoration and maintenance of wood and canvas canoes. Abundant photos and line drawings illustrate the step-by-step instructions. Includes study plans for the 17.5′ Atkinson Traveler, the 15′ Cheemaun and the 10′ Whisper. The book is also a careful history of the evolution of the wood and canvas canoe, including extensive discussion of the building of birch bark canoes and sketches of many of the early canoe builders: Gerrish, White, Morris, Old Town and others.
(Paperback, 186 pages)
Reprint Price – $38

Historic Canoe Company Catalogs

1908 B. N. Morris Company
1910 Old Town Canoe Company

Reprints of these historic canoe catalogs offer a glimpse into the vast array of canoe styles being offered at the turn of the century. The pictures and descriptions of the canoes and their hardware make these catalogs wonderful guides for restoring old canoes built by these companies. Reprinted by the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association, LTD.
Price – $10/each

Videos    —–All videos available  on DVD or USB

Steambending for Woodworkers

In my years of boat building and teaching, I have found that many people are intimidated by the need to steambend wood, even though steambending can easily be done in a home shop without elaborate equipment.

The first portion of the video deals with theories of wood bending: how the compression and stretching of the wood during bending stresses the piece. Understanding this theory allows you to anticipate problems and prepare to address them. Then, I take up practical issues of how to select wood – for species, dryness, grain, knots and flaws, shape – and how to prepare and pre-shape the wood. Next, I show you how to construct a couple of different models of home-built steam boxes, made from simple materials, and I discuss alternative steaming operations.

In the second half of the video, I bend several different pieces for you to see, from simple to more complex operations, and show you some tricks for handling difficult bends. Although I show steambending mainly for canoe construction – ribs (both for new canoes and replacement ribs for damaged canoes), hardwood stems, pre-shaped rails and decks – the same theories and techniques apply equally to wood bending for all kinds of purposes. Whether you are working on larger boats, fine furniture, snowshoes, toboggans or any other bentwood projects, this video will help you make successful bends.

This video was shot over 20 years entirely in my own shop using high-quality home-video tape equipment.  From tape to CD to USB the video quality has suffered a bit so it is not a slick Hollywood-style production, however it is clear enough and provides the information that is important for this project.  (65 minutes)
DVD – $15      Both Steambending  and the Building the A.T. videos available on one thumb drive- $20

…You should be complimented on a job (video) well done…you solved several project problems I was having and I certainly appreciate it.”
– John Deusebio, Toronto, Canada


Building the 17.5ft Atkinson Traveler

I made this video to help people understand the principles and techniques of building wood/canvas canoes. Using a 17.5-foot wilderness guide canoe as a model, it guides you through every step of construction, from selecting the rough stock and shaping the ribs, through steambending, planking, canvassing, and sanding, to painting and installing the brass stembands.

Whether you want help building your own canoe or just want to know more about traditional canoe construction, you will find this film informative and, I hope, entertaining.   This video was shot over 20 years ago entirely in my shop using high-quality video tape equipment. From tape to CD to USB the video quality has suffered a bit so it is not a slick Hollywood-style production, however it is clear enough and provides the information that is important for this project. (60 minutes)

This video is an excellent companion to the book, The Wood and Canvas Canoe, and helps explain some of the more esoteric aspects of canoe building that are difficult to put in writing.
DVD – $15       Both the Building the A. T. and the Steambending videos available on one thumb drive – $20


Now Available – both the Steambending and Building the A.T. on one thumb drive – USB $20

Winterwalk – 2003

Join Rollin Thurlow and six others, among them such notables as Alexandra and Garrett Conover and author Bob Kimber, while they travel 60 days and some 400 miles along frozen rivers in northeastern Canada.  The trip begins with a car and train ride deep into the Labrador interior. Then, by snowshoe, unsupported and without restocking, the group travels east and north on the Riviere De Pas and the George River to Ungava Bay in far northern Quebec. I brought along a mini digital camera and managed to obtain five hours of tape, which I condensed into this hopfully entertaining  film. Experience life on the trail in the traditional manner, as it was and still is today. Filmed and edited by Rollin Thurlow. (60 minutes)
DVD – $10   USB – $10