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Minnesota Watercraft Documentation Project
New Resident Artisan, Josh Tolkan
I’m Josh Tolkan, one of the new Resident Artisans here at North House bringing you my first blog post! Elise (the other new ADP participant) and I have had a busy first three weeks, getting orientated and settling into our new studio space.
I spent a good part of February working on canoe paddles. I made some fairly high tech laminated paddles. I had a design idea in mind and spent some time playing around to figure out ways to make the process more efficient.
Cedar Canvas Canoe Building and Restoration
What has been taking most of my time recently, is working on wood canvas canoes. I spent two weeks in a class taught by Jeanne Bourquin and Tom Healy, where we were building a canoe for the Cook County Chamber of Commerce to raffle off this summer.
Herring Skiffs are the hallmark small fishing boats quintessential to the North Shore. They were often home-built by local fishing families and there was never a unified design, each family built their own.
Boatbuilding: Half Model Making
I spend too much time staring at boat designs. Those aware of this condition - which affects many boat builders - call it boat porn. If this is the kind of thing you are into, I suggest making some models. I’m not talking about ladies on the fashion runway. I’m talking a miniature boat.
Building the Aleutian Baidarka
At long last I have just about finished the baidarka I have been working on here and there over the past year. All in all, I’m really proud of it and excited to test it in the water very soon. Baidarkas were traditionally built with a large number of very skinny bent frames lashed with sinew to longitudinal members.
Planking the Herring Skiff
I just finished a week long class at North House in which a project I have been planning for 7 or 8 months finally came together. John Beltman and I led 6 students in a project to build a replica of a Herring Skiff. The original boat was built by well-known local builder, EJ Croft in the 1940s.