with Donna, Peter, David, Brian, Shawn, Andrea, Laura and Marcie; for Peter Rae
[vimeo 56728541 w=600&h=400]
Check out: http://raecanoe.tumblr.com/
The hard part was figuring out the technology. My three brothers and I each dialed skyped and connected to a scratchy phone line as we recounted to our father the dozens of emails and messages which had been fired off to secure a suitable space and a week of vacation. So it was set, that each of us would descend from different corners of North America, bringing wives, babies and tools in toe with the purposes of assembling milled piles of cedar strips into something that could be fastened to our car and driven out of our borrowed space. During the last dozen years my parents have worked in Asia but have been imagining life on a lake in Eastern Ontario. As we have all become adults, to varying degrees we have all developed passions for woodworking, boating and generally tinkering. The canoe was a chance for us as a family to build off our shared interest and help set our parents off on their new course. With in-laws and children in other parts of the country, the canoe became an organizing force to get our nuclear family together for a holiday. Plus cedar strip boats are just really beautiful.
We each added something to the project before gathering in Toronto. Pouring over the pages of Canoecraft, my father sketched out a work calendar; my mother and I steamed the stems and Brian carved a yoke. There were moments of panic: between committing to the project and getting started, I sat which the book and a cold glass of beer trying to absorb the wisdom and be ready at the starting gate. In the end, the actual building process was fairly easy. Between my brothers, my parents and other friends and family who stopped by, a dozen or so people laid a hand on boat, with my father and two of his sons always at work. We faced two hurdles; the first was ensuring that we would be able to assemble and fiberglass the boat in our relatively short time frame. The second was overcoming a cold Canadian winter and a poorly insulated garage to ensure that our epoxy would set. Through the selective use of heaters we were able to warm the boat and get a great finish. If we were to build a boat again, I think we would use epoxy more sparingly in filling cracks before fiber glassing. Also, we would leave plenty of time for the details, to ensure that the decks and gunwales really speak to the character of the maker.
Back at – sanding the finish with David and my dad in March 2013