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My Life with Wooden Canoes

After growing up in Minnesota helping grandpa get the vacationer’s wooden fishing boats ready for spring arrivals at their cabins, my wooden boat history is a long time love affair. It went away for many years but was once again in full bloom when we moved to Colorado in 1997 and now I had a sidekick, Kathy!!  We had been back into restoring and using our wonderful woodies for several years when my niece mentioned Kathy loved wooden canoes.  This was something I didn’t know, after spending 15 years paddling canoes around as Boy Scout leaders. It was perfect timing! I was starting to have problems handling the big boat restorations so it might just fill the bill in several different ways. They were small, I could handle them alone in my shop and I dearly loved them.

We began by buying a canoe and joining the wooden canoe heritage association where we met a whole new group of experts on canoes that would eventually become friends. Our first wooden canoe was a 1947 old town named “Lily” given to Kathy for her birthday at a party at Lake Loveland. Then a cascade of canoes came and went as I couldn’t get them restored before they found new homes. I did weed out the absolute best ones and squirrelled them away for personal use.

Tom's Canoes
Tom's Canoes We settled on just keeping three. 
  1. Kathy’s “Kathryn” a 1897 black Waltham long deck courting canoe. Very rare, very special, winning awards and featured on a hallmark greeting card.
  2. An 1890 C.P. Nutting 16-foot sport canoe named “Echo”  -- think about this folks… 1890. That’s 25 years after the Civil War ended.
  3. A 1915 Carleton 17-foot long deck courting canoe named  “Scout.”

Tom's Canoes

Now with canoes piling up ,what to do with them ? Let’s start showing them!!!!!! Well, we started showing up at more and more shows with a canoe or two in tow. Thank goodness our club is very accepting and our canoes were well received. Kathryn even took 2nd place out of 22 boats one year.  And I don’t know about the lake you grew up on, but a boat like a Big Chris were rare. However everyone had a leaky old row boat or canoe in their past and the public liked them too.

Tom's Canoes

A few years ago the A.C.B.S. finally caught on and the little canoes we love seem to get more and more pages in each issue.  Seems they have caught on too.

Thanks for your interest.

Tom's Canoes

Tom's Canoes

Tom's Canoes

Tom's Canoes

Tom's Canoes