Paddle shaping


Skills workshops are available in the following basic interest groups, and usually involve demonstrations, and hands–on, in an interactive participatory format. Custom, 1–2 day classes available. $150/day (rates vary depending upon group size and venue. Please inquire.)

Generally, classes run from 8:30am – 4pm. Lunch included. Call 207-997-3639, or email for registration and details.

Traditional Warm Winter Camping

— Winter living skills for traveling on the frozen waterways of the boreal/subarctic regions. Traditions, tools, equipment, clothing, food and strategies for comfort, safety, and efficiency are covered. warm weather dressingTopics you will be introduced to include living in canvas wall tents, dressing for the elements, use of & cooking on wood stoves, emergency fire lighting, snowshoeing, toboggan handling, saw craft, ice reading skills, using an ice chisel, finding water and animal tracking. We also cover knots for the trail & campsite, making do with what you have (making or adapting gear for the winter trail), emergency shelters & bivouacing, cold weather photograpy, and expedition planning.
Instructor(s) : Garrett and/or Alexandra


Crooked Knife Making

With an axe, an awl, and a crooked knife the north woods traveler has an entire portable workshop in their kit. Varying forms of crooked knife are found all over the world, crooked knifeand it functions as a planing and shaping tool all at once. Canoe poles, axe handles, paddles, toboggan planks, just about anything can be manufactured in the field. You can even make a knife in the field from a small file, shape it with another file, re-temper it in the campfire or tent stove, and carve and affix a handle.

Over the course of two days, this workshop will yield a serviceable knife to each participant.
Instructor : Garrett
Two–day workshop


Canoe Camping

cookfire at a campsite on edge of water— The canoe camping workshop lends itself to everything from a wide-ranging overview, to customizing it for in-depth specific topics. It is as much about philosophy and approach as the nuts and bolts of refined technique as it applies to the North Woods reaches of Canoe Country. Topics available for covering are: Hull design for the wilderness traveler, packing strategies for food and gear, canoe trimming, portaging, lining, paddling, poling, kitchen kits, tarp craft, open fire cooking, navigation, and all the whys and wherefores of regional variation and what a traditionalist approach has to offer the contemporary wilderness traveler are among the contents of this workshop. Map & compass navigation and expedition planning are also covered.

Instructor : Garrett or Alexandra
Workshop times can really vary: 1–3 hour sessions
(talk-through) in symposium format
Full day or multi-day in the field, doing everything.


Canoe Poling

Poling lessons on the Shimanto River, Japan

Poling students, Shimanto river, Shikoku, Japan

— Not only an exhilarating and satisfying way to ascend and descend shallow river rapids, it is highly efficient and in some cases the only safe way to proceed. My teacher, Francis “Mickey” Fahey, was a superb canoe poler, having learned it in his youth from Penobscot and other Maine guides.

Alexandra poling on a river “Out come the spruce setting poles, and after a brief lesson in their use, we head for the churning, boulder–studded water pouring down from the lake above. To my amazement, it works. Instead of having to carry canoes and gear through the tangled mess along the bank — a project that would take hours — we pole from eddy to eddy, shoving the boats up the glassy chutes between rocks.”

— Stephen Gorman, Escape Magazine, Fall, 1994


We will use empty canoes initially but these techniques have been refined for use with loaded, traveling canoes. Trim, stance, techniques for negotiating shallow rapids upstream and down while loaded for travel. Requires water site, with moving water ideal.
Instructor : Alexandra
Half–day and one day workshops


North Woods Paddling Stroke (also refered to as “pitch” or Canadian or Indian)

is a highly efficient whole–body use of the paddle which allows you to paddle all day without tiring. Unfortunately, you will only find it referenced in canoeing manuals. Alexandra and Mickey Fahey Due to its refinement, it is best learned through mentorship. Once mastered, your paddling experience can be transformed into a pleasurable “dance” upon the waterways.

Both my parents and grandparents were avid canoeists. The refined paddling skills came later when I met “Mickey” Fahey, of Chesuncook Village, Maine. He guided in the 1930s from Moosehead Lake on through to Ft. Kent, Maine via the famed West Branch Penobscot and Allagash rivers. Folks paddling in a canoeAs a boy he lived and travelled with the Penobscots who taught him woods living skills which have been highly refined by thousands of years of use in Maine. In turn, I have had the good fortune to have taught at events such as the International and Maine Canoe Symposiums, classes at the Ukubiwako Wooden Boat Center in Shiga, Japan and at Woodsmoke Bushcraft School in England.

It is an honor to pass on this time–honed paddle stroke. Traditional ease and grace techniques for wilderness paddling. Requires water site.

canoe lessons at Lake Biwa, Japan

Ukubiwako Wooden Boat Center by Lake Biwa, Japan

Instructor : Alexandra
1/2 – 1 day lessons/workshop


Paddle Making

Carving your own paddle can be one of the most satisfying projects for even people with little woodworking knowledge. You will be guided through all the steps of sawing out the plank and ending with sanding a lovely, light, springy paddle, all ready for varnishing. student making a paddle Tools used involve a bandsaw, electric plane, spokeshave, and woodrasp. This paddle should serve you a lifetime.
Instructor : Alexandra
2–day workshop


Axe Handle Making

Do you have a favorite axe head in need of a handle? Learn how to determine the proper shape, balance and hang for your axe. We’ll use a bandsaw, plane, spokeshave, and woodrasp to make a handle, then hang the head.Planing an axe handle Axe sharpening will be covered as well as axe safety and use.
Instructor : Alexandra
2–day workshop


Hide Preparation

The fine art of handling and preparing animal hides is nearly a lost art in these times. And yet the usefulness and beauty from hides has never diminished. We will cover the varied techniques of skinning, fleshing, fur removal, tanning, and softening. We will cure the hide Alexandra preparing a hideas either rawhide (dry, uncured) or buckskin (tanned and softened) or furred hides (alum tanned & softened) depending upon your project. Rawhides are excellent as drum heads, or cut for snowshoe lacing. Buckskin (smoked) is ideal for moccasins, snowshoeing mukluks, jackets, vests, mitts and ditty bags. Furred hides provide material for winter hood ruffs, mitten cuffs, and decorations.
Instructor : Alexandra
2–day workshop


Mukluk Making

Mukluks are the light warm canvas/leather moccasins used for snowshoeing in northern climes for thousands of years. They are the warmest of all cold-weather footwear. In this workshop, you will sew your own pair, incorporating knowledge that has been passed student making a muklukdown human to human for millennia. You will cut your patterns, learn the puckering stitch, and sew and attach the gaiters. Drawn over a pair of wool felt booties, these boots will keep your feet toasty for hundreds of snowshoeing miles.
Instructor : Alexandra
2–day workshop