Adirondack Guideboat Services Provided by Woodward Boatshop
Welcome to the Woodward Boat Shop/Adirondack Guideboats. Woodward Boat Shop specializes in the reconstruction and restoration of vintage, antique Adirondack guideboats, and the construction of new traditionally-built Adirondack guideboats. All work is done using the traditional materials, employing the same traditional methods that were originally used to create these masterpieces of craftsmanship. There is a minimal usage of modern materials, excepting in cases where more damage would occur by more forceful methods.
All new boats are constructed from sawn rib natural crooks harvested from hand-dug Red Spruce (Picea rubens) stumps partnered with quarter-sawn clear Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) or Northern White-Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) planking and decks. Seats, cleats and the gunwales are all made with Black Cherry (Prunus serotina). All lumber is milled at the shop with a band sawmill from locally grown trees harvested under sustainable forestry practices. All fastenings are copper or brass. The hardware is bronze, cast from our own shop patterns. Hardware includes the oarlock horns and oarlock straps, and the stembands. Each boat comes fully equipped with a pair of oars, a sneak paddle, bow seat, stern seat with a backrest, a middle seat with a hinged backrest with leather straps, and a carved carrying yoke. The seats are all hand caned with natural rattan cane. Oars and paddles are made from Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum), Red Maple (Acer rubrum) Red Spruce, Black Cherry, or White Ash (Fraxinus americana). These boats are all built from patterns based on our local boats that have been around since the 1850’s.
Woodward Boat Shop is committed to accurate restorations of traditional Adirondack Guideboats. All restorations are done using the same materials that originally went into the boat. We process our own materials, from clear, quarter sawn Pine or Cedar for planking to natural crook sawn ribs from hand dug Spruce stumps. We use only traditional oil enamel paints and marine spar varnishes for finishing. All fastenings used are brass, copper or bronze, marine grade. We eschew the use of modern adhesives and coatings such as epoxies, polyurethanes, glues and compounds. We especially never use or recommend the use of fiberglass cloth, carbon, graphite, or any other modern fabrics in conjunction with polyesters, polyurethane, or epoxy resins coatings on any wooden boat much less an heirloom antique or classic guideboat. These coatings create a rigid barrier which does not allow the wood to dry out thus promoting rot. They do not flex with the boat, eventually cracking and leaking. At this point it is a bitch to find and repair the leak. The boat has become a monocoque shell, and the only way to fix it is with more resin and cloth. Also, they add a significant amount of weight to the hull. In short, if you fiberglass your wooden-planked boat, you’ve sealed it’s fate and limited it’s lifespan. The beauty of a traditional boat is that any piece can be replaced, thus giving the boat a theoretically unlimited lifespan. Not to mention that you took an antique heirloom artifact of Americana folk art, worth thousands of dollars in fair to good condition, and devalued it greatly.
Parts & Accessories
Woodward Boatshop can provide a variety of hand made parts and accessories for existing Guideboats. Feel free to contact us for information about having these parts made for your Guideboat. Please note that lumber and root crooks are not available at all. Please don’t embarrass yourself and ask for them.
Seats, Leather Straps
We build and repair seats, seat caning and leather straps for Guideboats and canoes.
Oarlocks & Horns
We provide cast bronze Oarlock straps and horns.
Oars, Paddles, Yokes
We build Guideboat oars, sneak paddles and canoe paddles in various lengths and styles from Maple, Spruce, Black Cherry, or White Ash.
I am available to do lectures, a slide show or interpretive demonstrations about Adirondack Guideboats. I also do displays at various venues in and around the Adirondacks, including an artist-in-residency at Great Camp Sagamore in Raquette Lake each summer.
Appraisal & Brokering
I perform Guideboat appraisals upon request, and broker sales of Adirondack Guideboats. For a list of Guideboats for sale, see the brokerage page.
Woodward Boatshop is located at 3 Hanmer Ave. in Saranac Lake, NY - just off of Route 86 west of downtown Saranac Lake.