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Phil Hart - Freedom 17

Dear Bear Mountain folks, This is for you satisfied customer file. In 1968 I took my first trip to the BWCA with a college friend. I was 19. A few years later that friend presented me with a copy of Canoecraft and so commenced my dreaming of building my own woodstrip canoe. Fast forward to the fall of 2004. I was living in central Kansas, my brother in southwestern Wisconsin and we agree that the time has come. We picked out a nice basswood tree from his wood lot. He fells it and gets it milled into 1 X 6s and I buy the new version of Canoecraft. June 2005 we mill the basswood into strip along with some walnut for accents. After some discussion about designs we decided to build different ones, he the Redbird and I the Freedom 17. Except for the decks, I trimmed with oak salvaged from our local dump where a cabinet company discards its leftovers. My brother Curt used walnut for his gunwales and butternut for stems, decks and thwart. The canoes were started this past winter and finished this summer in time for a late August maiden voyage in the Grand Marais area. I really appreciated the forum information on the web site. Sorry I didn't participate. Here are some photos to share. We are first-timers, but came into it with a good bit of wood working experience. One tip I would pass on that I found extremely help in terms of tools was the use of my 12" disc sander to cut the mitered strips that close up the bottom. I realize that is a tool lots of folks might not have. Mine is on an old Shopsmith, so I can slow the arbor speed way down. To sum it up, I think we have kind of a neat story of sibling canoes in that they were made by brothers and from the same tree as well. Thanks again, Phil Hart

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