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      Selling my custom solo wood canoe     
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senior member (74)senior membersenior member
03/09/2018 07:47AM
I love my canoe, but I hate that it's been sitting in the rafters not being used enough. (It's in my stable of three, a three man, a tandem and this one)

It's beautiful, custom built by a craftsman that took meticulous detail into account on the build, (not a first timer, garage builder or a factory). It has cherry wood and Brazillian Lacewood accents. It moves like a ballerina through the water. It's lightweight and it's a sin for me to have it hidden from use.

It's 16.5 feet long, I believe it was the 38 special design, has a sliding seat to balance your load both when paddling or portaging, there is no detail left off this boat.

I realized I have detailed pictures showing the screws, accent woods, sliding seats, but I have to get a full photo as well, I will do that this weekend. It also has CVCA yokes. Typically yokes are a challenge on a solo canoe, but that detail was thought of as well. Take a look at the seat photo!

I'm asking $3,999 and can be at Copia this weekend. I travel the Twin Cities, Wisconsin, Northern Illinois and the Quad Cities so I'd actually be able to deliver it as well.

Let me know what questions you have or if you have an interest.

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distinguished member(1159)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/09/2018 09:39PM
That is a beauty!
distinguished member(1719)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/10/2018 04:44AM
oh my, be still my heart, she is a beauty, if only i had met her 15 years ago. she will find a good home.
distinguished member(1591)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
03/10/2018 02:03PM
Uff da. That's one nice-looking boat. Good luck with the sale!
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
03/16/2018 02:54PM
If anyone would like to see any other images I will see what I can do to take them.

Just let me know.

senior member (74)senior membersenior member
06/07/2018 09:32PM
I'm putting my canoe back out there. I picked the wrong spring to sell my canoe, it was so cold and no one was thinking about paddling when they were shoveling snow up until May.

So here it is. Let me know if you have any questions.

senior member (74)senior membersenior member
06/12/2018 08:01AM
Obviously I must not be matched up well with the market, whether that be on price, photos, time of year or other reasons.

I would welcome messages or private notes with suggestions.

I appreciate your opinions up front.


distinguished member (263)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2018 08:13AM
Since you asked.....

Your price is higher than a brand new ultra light carbon Kevlar model with every conceivable upgrade. You need a very specific buyer who really appreciates the form as much or more than the function.

Good luck!!!!
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
06/12/2018 01:18PM

Thanks for your reply. What do you think a market price is for a canoe like this one?
distinguished member (317)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/12/2018 05:39PM
Long-winded reply, sorry.

I built woodstrip canoes for sale at one time in my life and it never was more than a part-time business. Its a very small market. Over the decades I have seen many woodstrip craftsman businesses start up and fade. To sell my boats I had to set prices about equal to a kevlar boat of the same size. That meant I was making minimum wage. If I had given myself a craftsman's wage I don't think I ever would have sold a boat. I didn't stop until I had built the boats I wanted to keep for myself. I do love them. They are great boats of great construction and I enjoy them all the time.

There are a number of factors involved with selling woodstrip boats:

1. Woodstrip construction was developed by amateurs for amateurs. Most people who want a woodstrip boat build it themselves for the cost of materials and enjoyment of the hours spent.

2. The guilt factor. Most folks would fawn over my boats at a show, but in the end would say "I wouldn't want to scratch it up on the rocks". Then they go and spend their money on a kevlar boat.

3. People don't understand how tough these boats are. I use mine hard as I would any composite boat and it is still stiff and strong 30 years later(with a few patches).

4. They are usually heavier than an equally expensive kevlar boat. People will pay for less weight, but rarely for looks or craftsmanship. I notice you don't have the weight of the canoe in your post.

5. To get $4000 for your boat you need to find the conjunction of a wealthy person wanting a solo boat made of wood. Then that person needs to see your ad.

If you are patient that will happen some day. If you want to move the boat, I would price it $2000-2500. About the same as a high-end kevlar solo. Even that is going to take some time for the conjunction to occur. You are one of those rare folks willing to pay a craftsman for good work. Thank you for seeing the value. You need to find someone just like you to buy this boat!!
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
06/12/2018 08:02PM

Thanks for your well thought out and articulated reply.

With that I will do a little more research, but I think I will bring it down to $2,500.

distinguished member(800)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/14/2018 06:51PM

Well said and well reasoned. What a display piece this boat epuld make...
distinguished member(1312)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
06/15/2018 02:25PM
I am sure you know how much you paid if any for this beautiful boat. I would not take less than that and would add 2 to 5 percent for each year I owned it. if you bought cheap, set your price as described by others. The value for it will be exactly known the day you sell it. Could well change the next hour/day or so. You may want to consider selling one of the others instead.
06/15/2018 02:52PM
Can you tell us anything about the craftsman who built this beauty? Sell the story.
senior member (74)senior membersenior member
06/17/2018 09:31AM
It was mentioned that I tell the story and explain the craftsman who built the canoe.


…..It was a dark and stormy night...well actually those that were from the old CCBB may remember my story that lead up to me looking for this boat.

I was fly fishing in the Rocky's at about 9,400 feet with two friends, they moved down stream and after they were out of sight, I felt a tingling, I couldn't breath and had what felt like fire in my lungs, my vision got tingly and started to narrow. I quickly sat down on a rock in the middle of the steam and prayed. I told God I wouldn't make any promises I couldn't keep, but that I had two kids and a wife at home and didn't want to become Grizzly Chow. I told Him that if He did have to take me that this was a beautiful place to do it.

After the initial fear, I calmed myself and self diagnosed. I didn't think it was a heart attack, then I went to elevation sickness, even though I'd done this before and drank a lot of water etc. I thought that's what it was. I fought for all I was worth to remain conscious. I eventually and very slowly worked my way out of the stream and sat on a rock. I couldn't breath any more than slight intakes, and I was still tingling and had very slight vision, my body wanted to pass out.

I'm not sure how long it was, but probably a couple of hours past when my first buddy came back up stream, I was in a state of pain, trying to keep conscious, when I saw him I collected all the energy I could and tried to wave and holler. I couldn't get a sound out but he saw me. He recently retired and told the story like this: "I saw Kevin sitting on a rock and waved to me, I couldn't hear him because of the stream, I yelled back, I've got a fish, I caught the fish, and when I looked back Kevin was sprawled out on the rocks." He ran to me, made sure I was alive, then realized the other guy had the keys and had to leave me and go down stream to get the other guy.

I stayed conscious, they gave me water and tried to get me up and walk me out. It was too steep and narrow in areas, so we moved about 20' at a time then I had to rest again in fits and starts. They said it took an hour to get to the truck and another hour to get down the mountain to town. They said I was fidgeting and moaning in the back of the truck the whole way, it's too hot, it's too cold, etc...

We got to the hospital and I could get on my feet now, but it was a Veteran's hospital and they directed us to the next hospital down the street, (In Denver). After many hours and tests I got out at about 3:00 a.m. with the diagnosis that it wasn't my heart and that "I was simply a flat lander who couldn't handle the elevation". I went to my hotel feeling like a defeated. We were at the Fly Tackle Dealer show and the next day at the show I kept hearing about the guy who almost died up on the mountain fishing the day, do stories and their derivatives fly fast!

The next two days, it was like fire every time I breathed and I still couldn't take a deep, or shallow breath. I was embarrassed and walked myself into the emergency clinic by the convention center and again told them what was going on. They said the same thing...I'm not used to the elevation. I walked back and now really thought I was a whimp. My roommate said I couldn't even hold my head up while I sat and ate. I got on a plane and flew back to Madison on Sunday, this started on a Wednesday, hoping the lower elevation would get me back to normal, but in the mean time I'd scoured Web MD for everything I could think of and came up with HAPE. On the plane I felt 2 or 3 pops in my lungs and when I hit the ground I thought I was going to die. I went home, walked in the door, told my wife and she thought I was just complaining.

Feeling completely dejected and like a whimp. I drove myself to the emergency room, and 10 days later they let me out after spending most of the time in Intensive care with Pulmonary Embolisms the size of a softball in my lungs. For the first 5 days they wouldn't let me move even to go to the bathroom. After Vicaden, Warphrin, and I think Coumadin and some other stuff the pain recessed so I could breath again and I just avoided them cutting me open and putting some screens in with lots of begging on my part. (by the way, the emergency room doctor via the patient advocate in Denver called me back in Madison and requested my records. They took care of all my medical bills and I am a study case for them after that experience...moral of the story: don't write it off as a flatlander so easily!)


I had been wanting a solo canoe at this time and while spending 10 days looking at the walls yes happy to be alive, I was determined to find not only a solo, but also a custom strip canoe, but not just any, the best made, the best I could find. This was in the fall of '04.

I scoured every board and then as time went on Craigslist postings. I was obsessed. I saw a lot of common strip canoes, built with love and care by home builders, but none were the ones that fit the ideal I had set in my head. I wanted a canoe that stood out, that was built by a craftsman that was passionate about his work with the skills to accomplish that task. I wanted it special and unique on top of having great lines and great workmanship. I had a system for Craigslist that I would look every morning within a 500 mile radius and then expanded it to 1000 miles. I looked on here bwca, paddle net, and then after a decade of daily looking WoodsWalker on here pointed me to a guy in the Alexandria area who was selling a beautiful boat, who was a great craftsman.

He had built the boat for himself, but was retiring and wanted to build a tandem for him and his wife. He had kept the canoe in his shop and with retirement pending was not going to renew his lease for his space and wanted to sell it before he had no place to store it.

I'm from Madison, but had a week long meeting in the Twin Cities coming up, so one night, while at the meeting, I grabbed a guy I work with who is a great craftsman himself, I wanted his eye for detail, and we drove up to see the boat and meet the man who built it. We got there and met the man and his wife. He reminded me of the type of guy from the old PBS show The Woodwright shop, a solo craftsman who doesn't have to bend to anyone else's wishes, someone who can have singleness of purpose to see his ideas through to the end and not have an accountant or manager tell him, it's a bad idea, because if he did it their way he could cut costs and it would be "just as good". I was surprised because his business craft was in metal, not wood. His shop was immaculate, nothing out of place, and organized to a "T". That made me even more excited because I knew he was a great craftsman who built this boat out of passion and not spare time from his other "work" projects.

He showed me the boat, his eyes lit up as he explained it, and his voice had a lilt as he described, knitted wood, (I didn't know what that meant, but I knew it must be good the way he talked about it), Brazilian lace wood, that it wasn't Cedar, Cherry accents, brass hardware, custom solo, adjustable sliding seat to balance the load, the ability to have a portage yolk on the seat as he explained and showed the design and it weighed in like a feather in the low 40's!

I watched as his wife smiled as he explained with passion how and why he built it, but that now it was time to retire and build a tandem so he and his wife could paddle together and that he wouldn't have space for two canoes with closing down his shop. My friend and I looked at the lines, (experience told me that many strip garage built canoes weren't strait), we could see that it was straight as an arrow. One of the pictures with the canoe on the shore that I used above is the same photo he showed me, which is why I used it here, it had an impact that it wasn't just built to be a show piece but rather both a show piece and a boat to paddle on a trip in the wilderness, not just at the local pond.

I was sold, after a decade of looking for the perfect canoe, I had found it, beautiful, unique, great lines, fully functional as a wilderness tripping solo, great workmanship. It hit all the boxes and hit them at the top level. He told me how much he was asking and no matter the number I was in! I told him I'd be back with cash after driving back to Wisconsin after my meeting and then driving back up a week or so later. After seeing it in person and a few weeks in between it was strapped to the top of my truck. I remember I was at the Hermantown Mill's store setting some displays (before it opened), when I picked it up. I was parked in the lot with all my industry associates taking them out to show off my new prize. I remember you could see the sun through the fiberglass resins showing that it wasn't globbed on too thick, it was a nice clear resin.


Then I got it home, showed all my buddy's and stood proud as I showed it off. I stored it out of the sun in the rafters, tucking it neatly and safely away, waiting use....and work, and life, and a tandem trip, and a three man trip, and a canceled solo trip because of work,.....well, it just kept going on like that. I got it out a bit to paddle and fish out of, but never got to trip out of it. It glides, and paddles effortlessly, my locator shoots through the hull, I can adjust the seat to keep balance with my gear, but more importantly to adjust my back and knees on my old aching body. But mainly it is sitting tucked away in the rafters safe from everything....the problem is this is a boat that needs to be seen, it needs to be paddled, its built to be both a show piece and a great paddling boat.

That's why I have it for sale. I got my joy out of it, and now it's time for me to let it go to a better home.

This may not be the story people expected, but that may be where my pleasure with this boat was, maybe it was the joy in the journey.

Let me know if you have questions.

Kevin, (Nomad)

senior member (74)senior membersenior member
07/22/2018 08:15PM
I will bring the price down to $2,500.

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