GRAND LEDGE, Mich. — Canoe and kayak building is more than just a job or hobby for Grand Ledge’s Allen Deming, it’s art.
Sawing, gluing and spending hours in a carpentry shop was not always how Allen Deming spent his time. After a canoe trip with his son, he saw a canoe he really wanted.
At the time, Deming was working at an American company and thought he could easily buy the specific canoe.
“But I couldn’t find any. Nobody was building them here in Michigan to sell them at that time,” Deming said.
But in 2006, he rolled up his sleeves and said he would do it himself, after reading several books and doing extensive research.
“Thanks to the grace of my fourth downsizing and company buyout, I was able to retire early and start building boats, as I looked for another job. And it turned into a career very quickly,” he said.
In 2007 Mackinaw Watercraft was born and became a full time business.
“Currently I build 11 different models of boats, canoes, kayaks, rowboats, I make paddles and I also make other things. And these boats, although they are all built on the same molds, each one is different. Everyone is unique,” Deming said.
Unique is an understatement, its boats feature engravings and even poetry.
His work can be found here, and if you want to build your own boat, Deming can teach you too.
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