Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Bear Mountain Boats Canoe Building

Graphic pulled from Bear Mountain Boat's website

For years I have been dying to take woodworking classes and really start learning the craft.  My plan is to enroll in a fundamentals class this winter after finishing a couple carpentry projects.  I once read that the best woodworkers are boat makers. The craft itself existed as a matter of survival and had to grow along with the changing of climates, locations and outside threats.  But something else made boat making the pinnacle of woodworking and that was the fact that the vessel had to be water tight and sturdy using just wood and natural materials even before the creation of power tools.

I would love to one day build a canoe, but that's way down the line.

Many people know of Nick Offerman's (Ron Swanson) abilities as a woodworker, but you may not realize how advanced he is in the craft.  Here is a video of Nick making a canoe, in the Bear Mountain Boat style, at a rented workshop in Brooklyn.  It is very satisfying to watch and I would love to reach his level of skill one day.

(This is instructional, and not him playing a character and making jokes. Although he does do the silly Ron Swanson giddy laugh at the 3:20 mark. Guess that's just his real laugh, which is pretty funny.)

Canoeing is an amazingly peaceful and adventurous activity and the boats themselves can be things of beauty.  Creating one with your own hands would be ultimately fulfilling and I really hope to get there someday.

Nick loving his finished product.

I want to go to there.

Here is a canoe that was part of an installation I photographed at the Hillwood Museum.  It was a beautiful boat.

I could stare at the wood for hours.

Yes, please.



  1. Do it, Searbs! I want to join you in the woodworking class. I made a canoe in college but it was definitely not anywhere NEAR as beautiful as these.

  2. You made a canoe?!?!? Looks like I am going to be picking your brain about woodworking from now on. I hope to take a class at this place in Rockville sometime before the end of the year. It's $285 for the fundamentals class if you are game.


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