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John Hummel - Hiawatha

Posted on March 22 2012

Mr. Moores my name is John Hummel---I live in Elmira, Ontario---I want to thank you for the inspiration and detailed information presented in your book "Canoecraft"---my Dad's people were all boat-builders---seems I inherited the interest if not the native talent---Dad bought your book in 1983 and we read it together often---as sons are wont to do, I was busy raising a family and earning a living, and Dad and I never got it done---I guess I fit the description you give of many first-time builders, recently retired and having the time and desire to build a boat---I chose the "Hiawatha" because I loved the traditional "birch-bark" lines---I was able to loft the plans from "THE BOOK", drew and cut the mold patterns in my kitchen and built the mold in my garage---then I was fortunate enough to meet Fermon Martin, a delightful young man who builds boats in Hawkesville---I think you may hear of him in time to come---he offered me his shop and helped me through some tough spots and the occasions where two pairs of hands are required---the boat was built for my grandson Jack---despite my best efforts to sabotage her at every opportunity, (including sanding a hole right through her), "JACK'S BOAT" insisted on becoming lovelier than I ever dared imagine, chock full of built-in character---at least, that's how I explain her many flaws to Jack in the journal I kept for him---I have a new grandson coming, and he will need a boat too---I think I will try a Rob Roy, something I imagine wee voyageurs can cut their teeth on---I think I understand now that the Hiawatha is not a canoe for rookie paddlers---she is very swift and responsive---Dad was the best canoeist I ever knew, and he would have loved this boat, but she has a bit of a sense of humour---she'll do what you ask of her, but she will not tolerate the same mistake twice and will dump you in a heart-beat if you insult her---she is now residing at our cottage in Dorset, and I have noticed that she is still unusally alert whenever I am around---I think she still likes me, though, and perhaps she will forgive me in time---she would not win a prize at a boat show, but maybe she gives credence to the maxim "beauty is only skin deep"---her beauty lives in her "character" and in the love and fulfillment that went into her creation---I am presuming to send you a few photographs---you must have file cabinets full of such testaments---you have helped to make a dream of many years come true, and I can not thank you enough for that. with best regards John Hummel

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