Custom Crafted Canoes


I am amazed at our human ability to remember our accumulated life experience. My first ever wood project was a toolbox hammered together with nails in a junior high school shop class. A fair number of decades have passed since the toolbox. My wood skills have developed with practice and the patient instruction from several boat-builders. I am now a retired college professor and I’ve encountered many types of teachers in a thirty seven year career. The best teachers I ever met were found in wood shops and boat-shops. They know that the real teaching/learning process occurs through action that results in a finished project.


My best teacher was Henry "Mac" McCarthy of Sarasota, Florida. Mac operated a canoe shop and authored an excellent book entitled "Featherweight Boat Building". My wife Leslie and I built two canoes under his direction. Mac’s book is available through the Wooden Boat Store, Brooklin, Maine, 04616.


Today I am a student of wood and of sailing. Leslie and I work together in our garage woodshop building canoes and an occasional rowboat. I enjoy sailing (Biscayne Bay and the Florida Keys). I have discovered that the fine motion of a good boat, the safe return from the water and the rich smell of wood-shavings in the woodshop really do enrich the soul. I have posted pictures of several canoes already completed, including the ones mentioned above. Others will follow in time. Please enjoy the site and comment if you are so inclined.


- John Zeien


Single Person Canoe