St. James Boat Shop - Strip Wood Canoes & Kayaks
Strip wood Dingy's
The Building of a Boat
As they say, if a person dedicates twenty-five years of his life to something, he might get pretty good at it. Well, Bill Freese has, and did, in the process establishing himself as one of the leading builders of art canoes in the country. His elegant cherrywood creations are simply a master piece.
Bill, a former engineer, came up with his own design and technique for building the canoes. He started with a typical American model, setting a solid frame every foot to shape the hull: then he spent years tweaking the frames until he had the final shape just right.
Bill passed down all of the trade secrets of building a boat to Dan Burton who still carries on the tradition of crafting unique and beautiful watercraft in the St. James Boat Shop, located in the old Beaver Island Lumber Company. It's easy to find the Boat Shop just follow the trail of sawdust.
A canoe takes around 300 hours to create-including the adding of a protective graphite bottom coating. You will not find staples or nails other than ends adding to the artistic design of the boat. Each strip is glued and clamped to shape the forms and every piece is carved and designed special to the craft. Even the seats of the canoes are individually made taking hours to stretch and complete. All the wood comes from Beaver Island and Dan uses his own band-saw mill. This product is Beaver Island through and through!
Each canoe, kayak, and dingy, is also customized to suit the owner and craftsman's vision. They're water-tight and useable a breath taking view to see gliding with ease through the open water. Many serve as art objects in homes, cabins, and businesses creating the warm feel that only a handcrafted wooden boat can bring to a room. These boats are a labor of love for the art and the reward is always in the beauty of the finished product.
Cherry 14’ $5200
Cherry 16’ $5800
Cherry 18’ $6600
Cedar 14’ $4800
Cedar 16’ $5400
Cedar 18’ $6200
Down Payment $1000
Cherry 16’ $5600
Cedar 16’ $5000
Down Payment $1000
10’ Cherry Wood $9500
Down Payment $2000
Prices can vary up or down dependent upon the details and design created with the craftsman and yourself. Any canoe, kayak, or dingy is a special order and can take any where from 6 months to 2 years depending upon volume of orders. We do not make a date to completion as each one is a unique individual piece varying in time and is a handcrafted artistic rustic work of art.