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About Guide Boats

The first guideboat was designed in the 1830's in the Adirondacks. It was a boat born of necessity, when hunting, fishing and trapping put food on the table. Beaver pelts went to market in boats such as these. Towards the end of the century, these boats changed from crude hunting skiffs into their present graceful form. This evolution was accomplished, as always, by competition. Builders competed with each other, as did the guides. Typically these boats were designed to carry a guide, two sports (as their customers were called) and all their gear.

2boats.bmp (519098 bytes)Yet they had to be light enough for one person to carry. Henry van Dyke wrote of such boats, (in 1895), "they are one of the finest things that the skill of man has ever produced under the inspiration of the wilderness. It is a frail shell, so light that a guide can carry it with ease, but so dexterously fashioned that it rides the heaviest waves like a duck and slips through the water as if by magic."

Today that tradition of beauty, strength, and light weight is carefully preserved in the careful construction and meticulous attention to detail that defines every guide boat that comes out of our shop.  The hull of our top-of-the-line boat is made of red cedar, the stems and ribs are made of spruce, the bottom board is pine, and cherry is used for the seats, oars, gunnels and trim.

Steve Kaulback, co-owner and designer of the beautiful craft, explains, "We use each wood to its best advantage. Cherry is known as a beautiful wood, but not many appreciate how tough and flexible it is."

Each wooden boat takes 250 to 300 hours to build, and with reasonably care, will become a family heirloom for many generations to come.

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