Posted on January 16 2014
By Dick Bolhuis
One day, on our holiday in Germany, after having a burn-out, we saw many plastic canoes coming by. And at that moment I knew, I wanted to have a Canoe. Not a plastic one, but a real one. In that period, 1988, there was no internet. So it was a bit harder to get some information. So I went to a museum, there was a exhibition about birch bark canoes. I thats where I bought my first two Canoe books. Canoe Craft and the bark canoes and skin boats of North America. And so I started, next to my work as a bus driver and still am, building my own first stripper, The Red Bird.
Just like Ted, I had zero experience working with wood. Because I was a mechanic for 12 years in the army. At that moment my live changed completely. After building my Canoe I had so many questions, that I decided to contact Ted. He invited me to come over and so I booked my ticket and flew from Amsterdam to Toronto! After that moment till now we have met so many wonderfull people like Ron Frenette, Walter Walker, Dick Person Julie McCrum, Kirk Whipper, John Stephenson and many many more. So after the Red Bird, I build, till now, about a 40 canoes. What’s very special for me is that also my 2 daughters love canoeing. And so built for my oldest daughter a wedding present, The Ranger. And there are a view salesmen models at the Canoe Museum I built.
The book Canoe Craft has changed my live completely. I didn’t only build canoes, but also furniture. Further I also started to advice and help other people how to build stripper canoes.
As you know, we live in the Netherlands. And there is plenty of water here and so now and than we are going to Danmark for a Canoe trip. Also after my first trip to Canada, I went back several times, for visting the people we have met and making Canoe trips. Once I was working with Ted in the Canadian Canoe Museum, restoring old canoes, I met a man. He wanted to build a typical Dutch boat. A “Friesche schouw”. I worked out the plans, translated the books and made a scale model. This sailing boat is now to see at Rice Lake.
Some people asked my here in the Netherland wat the price is for a wooden Canoe. I always say, that the Canoe will give you lots of more pleasure than the money is worth.
At last, I wanted to thank Ted and Joan especially and the many other people we met, for changing our life's and gave us this opportunity.