PRESERVING A SPECIAL PIECE OF CANOEING HERITAGE. MERRIMACK CANOES - ESTABLISHED IN 1954 - IS ONE OF THE VERY OLDEST CANOE MAKERS IN AMERICA.
WHAT IS A MERRIMACK CANOE? WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The original Merrimack Canoe - a wood reinforced composite canoe was developed by L.H. Beach more than 60 years ago(yes, it is one of the very oldest canoe makers in America!). Today the hull of a Merrimack canoe is built with a layup of fiberglass, Kevlar and carbon fiber much like other canoe makers. But what makes a Merrimack special is that it is then reinforced with actual wood ribs running the full length of the hull. It's a marriage of modern technologies and old school sensibilities. Each is handmade: trimmed out with wood gunnels, seats, decks and thwarts and inlaid with a brass medallion on the front deck. Making a Merrimack both a thing of beauty, and a lightweight modern performance canoe.
THE STORY OF MERRIMACK CANOES:
The original wood-reinforced fiberglass hull was developed by L.H. Beach more than 53 years ago. He grew up in Maine and moved to Merrimack, NH where he started the company. When fiberglass started to be used in boat building, he didn't like the looks of the all fiberglass hulls. He came up with the idea of combining tradition with the new fiberglass technology. So he made a thin fiberglass hull and instead of reinforcing it with fiberglass he used wood ribs one-sixteenth inch thick. This gave the hull the stiffness it needed with less weight and great looks. In 1967, Doris and Lem Beach, took over the company and started building the canoes when Lem retired from the Navy. They built canoes in Merrimack until the fall of 1972 when the business moved to Crossville, Tennessee. Merrimack stayed in the family until only a few years ago when it found a new home and owner in Travelers Rest, SC.
Earlier this spring we negotiated bringing Merrimack Canoes into the Sanborn family. We moved everything up to Winona, Minnesota and we're looking forward to crafting these exceptional canoes for years to come!
WHO ARE WE?
We are Sanborn Canoe Co. - makers of high quality wooden canoe paddles. Each one crafted by hand. We started Sanborn 6 years ago to scratch an itch. We wanted to make canoes and paddles to take on our canoe camping trips. It snowballed from there and now we make paddles and other vintage-style canoe camping gear. We never did get around to making more than a few canoes though. That's where Merrimack comes in. It brings Sanborn full-circle to our original goal of crafting both paddles and canoes. We couldn't be more excited about the marriage of Sanborn and Merrimack!
WHY BRING IN MERRIMACK? WHY NOT JUST MAKE SANBORN CANOES?
At Sanborn Canoe Co. we are, at our core, in love with the nostalgia, heritage and beauty of canoe camping. All things that scream Merrimack Canoes. They are a mix of vintage and modern. High-performance yet still beautiful in the way classic rib/canvas canoes are made. You know what, sometimes the old ways of doing things are still the best ways of doing things. Merrimack Canoes have been crafted for over 60 years and we kind of see it as our duty to honor that heritage - preserving it and moving it forward for new generations of canoe lovers to enjoy!
QUALIFICATIONS & BUDGET:
We've spent the last 6 years building Sanborn Canoe Co. into what it is today. It started in our buddies garage - we had to develop every aspect of not only the woodworking/craft of making canoe paddles but the craft of building and nurturing a canoeing brand. Merrimack will require the same set of skills and hard work to make it possible.
We're asking for $40,000. This is bare bones to get production of these beautiful canoes up and running again. We’ve taken the first steps of moving everything from South Carolina up to Minnesota - but the canoe forms and templates and equipment is all in storage right now. We’ll be using some of the money to recoup the cost of moving. Then moving forward we'll need to update facilities for canoe making and purchase the raw materials used to make canoes: composite materials, wood(lots of wood), tools, brass stems and medallions and finishing products.
Risks and challenges
The specific challenges for this project lie in the updating and construction projects for the canoe workshop. There may be delays with permits from different agencies that we are already working through to make sure everything will go smoothly. These are all things that we have worked through in the past and we don't forsee anything that will delay this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (45 days)