It’s not every day you see a wooden boat on the water. Justin Martin and his brother Ian caught the boat-building bug while working for a canoe company in high school. Today, the two own a company in North Ferrisburgh, Vermont, called “Adirondack Guide Boat”.
Guideboats date back over 150-years and are known for their efficiency and stability. They resemble a wide canoe and are rowed with oars instead of paddles, and perfect for fishing or a lazy day out on the water.
Justin says each wooden boat is hand-made, and they do their best to buy the materials locally.
"We build the wooden boats out of Western red cedar. We basically buy it out of Massachusetts, but obviously it comes from the West," says Justin. "We use spruce for the ribs and the bottom board, and the stems, and we use cherry which we actually get locally for the trim, the gunnels, the decks, the seat, and all the other small parts in the boat."
It’s not easy making a guideboat. Justin says it’s a painstaking process that literally takes hundreds of hours just to build one. They integrate modern technology with old craftsmanship dating back to the 1800s.
"We use fiberglass on the exterior of our wooden boats that you can’t see, but it’s there, and it basically encapsulates the wood so it’s not subject to what the boats in the 1800’s were," says Justin. "When it was cold, they would dry up and you could actually see through the cracks in the boats until the spring when they submerged the boats back in water, and the wood swelled back out so the boat would actually float again. With our boats, that’s not a worry anymore."
Justin says they sell the boats finished or as kits to be put together.
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