St. Paul: Skilled hands make a wooden canoeby Marc Sanchez, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Lowertown district of St. Paul is fast becoming a haven for hipsters. Musicians and artists fill the lofts. New eateries and gourmet food trucks line the streets.
But there's a vestige of the waterfront neighborhood's past tucked in the corner of an old J.J. Hill warehouse. This is where Dennis Davidson and George Weed, who operate Northwest Canoe, build and repair canoes.
In between building and repairing canoes for the likes of the National Park Service, Davidson and Weed teach canoe-building classes.
Davidson says he doesn't get to do as much paddling as he'd like because he spends so much time in the shop fixing other people's boats. As long as he can be the catalyst for other people getting out on the water, he's OK with being land-locked.
The shop is filled with power tools, such as band saws and jig saws, but the real craft comes from hand planing and the tap-tap-tapping of each strip of wood on the boat's hull. The repetition of tasks and noises become trance inducing.