Sunday, November 17, 2013




Write you way to a Atkinson Traveler

Over the last 36 years I have been very fortunate to be able to make my living doing what I love in such a specialized and admittedly old fashion occupation as custom building and restoring wooden canoes/boats.  I have been able to restore almost every type of old classic boat, build reproductions of some of the best boats ever built and I have also been able to build and sell my own designs.
My shop has always been no more than a one, two and in some very busy years, a three person shop.   I have been extremely lucky to have the help and assistance of Peter who has been my shop partner for over 20 years; Pam who does all the mail order shipping and book keeping and Andrea my supportive wife! 
In the near future I will be taking the order for the one thousandth boat to be restored or built in my shop.   To celebrate this milestone I want to build a special canoe that means a lot to me, the 17.5’ Atkinson Traveler.  It is the first canoe I designed; named after the village I live in and designed for the wilderness paddling that I enjoy.  It has been a very successful design which I am very proud of. 
While I want to put all my years of experience into this canoe I also want it to be a canoe that is used as the design was intended.  The Atkinson Traveler needs to be in the water, a few scratches on it, maybe a cracked rib or two from hard use, mud on the paint and a smile on every face in the boat.  This is a boat that I want to build to my own specifications and I want it to be used as the canoe was designed for.
Because my customers and the WCHA (Wooden Canoe Heritage Association)  have been such a important part of my professional  success, I want to celebrate this one thousandth boat by offering this commemorative Atkinson Traveler completely free of charge to either;
 1) A past or present member of the WCHA.
 2) Any one of my past canoe/boat customers.
 Cost of any shipping not included!
 
 There is only one stipulation: The owner of the boat must promise the boat will be used  as it was intended as per the original design; and the harder the use the better!

To be eligible for this boat please send me your name, your; contact info and a brief description of how you intend to use the boat.  Please, no more than 300 words and be sure to include your WCHA membership number or NWCC customer number.  Peter, Pam, Andrea and I will choose the top 25 essays and then have a drawing for the winner. There is no cost for the boat or to enter your essay.  The boat will be on display at the 2014 WCHA Assembly where the drawing for the winner will take place. You need not be present to win but of course that would be nice. Sharpen up your pencils and plan on attending the 2014 Assembly!
 Thank you for your years of support.
Rollin



Sunday, January 20, 2013

 The Brad Fox family form Chaplin CT. drove up to Maine for a short vacation and to visit the shop.  Brad and his wife have been bitten by the wood canoe restoration bug and have started to accumulate a small fleet.  Their two kids came along but mostly for the chance to visit with Bean.  Unfortunately Bean spends the week ends with Peter, since its his dog and was not at the shop.  So here is a picture of Beans usual position in shop during the winter, laying on his blanket next to the stove!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jordan Winters is now building his own 16 ft Rushton Indian Girl in the shop.  Jordan worked the shop from about 1995 to 2001 when he was just a teenager in middle school and high school.  He is now a successful architect working in Toronto Canada.  For his 30th birthday he gave himself the present of building his own canoe with us!  It gives Peter and I great satisfaction to have such a successful shop graduate!
Jordan- top photo-22013;  bottom photo working in the shop 2001!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Mrs. Alling  has three canoes to be restored.  Her families farm was a salt water farm in Kennebunk Me. The farm included Parson Beach which the public was allowed to use and it also happen to be where Andrea and got engaged way back in 1969.  Little did I know that right there in that huge barn were three canoes that would hep me earn my living!
One of the canoes is a small Old Town which is in the picture. the other two are reported of of been built by a native American by the name Ranco.  He built fine canoes based upon the earlier birch bark canoes.  ther is anice exhibit of his work at the Brick Store Museum in Kennebunk. 

Mrs Marilyn Stong Townsend and her husband  of Jefferson Me. brought her families canoe to be restored. It appears to be approximately a 1940's E.M. White that has been repaired several times before.  Its going to be a challenge to correct everything that has been done to it but the hull has its basic shape so it will be doable! 


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

We had a visitor from Japan last week, Takihiro Mise.  He had recently taken a two week class at the Wooden Boat School and now he was in visiting Garrett Conover to learn a few North Woods skills and working a few days in my shop to learn about wood and canvas canoes. Takihiro had bit of boat building experience but had never worked with canvas canoes before.  He was a very good woodworker and excellent student.  Wanting to get the whole "American " experience, his next stop before going home is taking in a New York Broadway play!

The shop had a safety inspection from the state "Work Safe" program.  Unlike OSHA, they do not issue fines but are just there to help you improve the safety issues in the shop.  The did point out a few items that we were not aware of and a few that we knew about but had been ignoring, which is far too easy to do.  Bean has taken the report very seriously and insist that we provide her with better ear protection!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kineo, Peters son, in the red shirt has worked in the shop off an on for many years.  He is now a junior in high school.  He has been accepted at  a advanced science and math school which means he be away form home for the next two school years.  This was the last day of his being able to work in the shop.  Pam made him a cake and we had some going away presents.  His mother , grandmother and some shop friends were able to make the party!

 Late summer and early fall means one thing at the canoe shop.

 Its Stripping Season!  Its time to break down the canoes that we will be working on for the following year, remove the seats, decks, rails and other hardware so the interior varnish can be stripped with the chemical remover.  Its a most unpleasant job, messy and obnoxious but on that externally important to be done well.  We have to dress up in all kinds of protective gear which is hot and uncomfortable but it keeps us from killing our self's!  We do the stripping now because the weather is not too hot and its not too cold yet which inhibits the chemical stripper.  We do all the canoes in a two week period just to get rid of the job and not have to do it any more for the rest of year!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011