My Story by Glen O'Dell, Ottumwa, IA, USA
By Glen O'Dell
In July of 2000 my friends and I went to Montauk State Park in southern Missouri trout fishing. While we were there I saw several brochures from different outfitters that shuttled canoers from different drop off points to pick up points.
After talking to my friends I called Darrell Blackwell at Jadwin Canoe Rental and scheduled a float trip from Cedar Grove to Akers Ferry. That day I fell in love with the current river and paddling a canoe.
For the next six or seven years that was my vacation. I would go twice a year, once with my family and once with my buddies. I have traveled about 50 miles of the current river several times. It is the most beautiful place I have ever seen.
In 2007 I got a seasonal catalog for Cabela's that showed a cedar strip canoe on the cover, I then Googled cedar strip canoe. Canoe Craft and Bear Mountain Canoes caught my attention.
I called a local book store and ordered Canoe Craft. A couple days later I got the book, being a carpenter and wood worker I found it very interesting and read it front to back.
I told my father that I was going to build a cedar strip canoe. He told me a story I had heard before about him and his father building a plywood-lap siding boat in the basement that would not fit out the door when it was finished. He then encouraged me on after reading and studying Canoe Craft himself.
I kept saying for a few years that I would start it this winter. For the next two years I was way too busy building a new home and doing several other remodels.
When the fall of 2010 rolled around I told my wife when the trees start changing I am going to call Bear Mountain and get the plans and material so it was here staring me in the face for this winter.
I did so in mid-September. I chose the 15' Ranger with the help of Joan over the phone. The same week that everything arrived my father passed away and starting on my canoe is how I dealt with it.
I built a loft above my work bench, so that I could book match every strip for side to side. With the material they sent me I was able to not have one scarf joint in my canoe.
As I went through each stage of building my canoe, I referred to Canoe Craft as my bible. I would read each chapter pertaining to that stage of the build at least half a dozen times. I also kept Nick Offerman’s visual guide DVD to Canoe Craft in my DVD player. I would also reference it every time I had a few hours to work. With the guidance of the two, I was able to build a canoe that I am very proud of.
By the finishing stage my son got very involved and helped glass-epoxy and finish. At the end of the project I had to build my own seats, cane them, build a portage yoke and fabricate my own paddles just to put a feather in my hat. I'm working on a full head dress.
Now I have to build another one because I have two children and I do not want them to fight over this one.