Tuesday, June 24, 2014

2014 North House Folk School Wooden Boat Show

Summer solstice brings the North House Wooden Boat Show. I went again this year as a representative of Urban Boat Builders.


I have been volunteering with UBB for some time now. UBB works with at-risk kids to teach them life skills through the building of wooden boats. It is always a joy to take the boats to a show where people who love wooden boats can see the work of the kids up close. North House Folk School is located in Grand Marais, Minnesota. Its mission is to preserve and teach traditional crafts of the north country. The show is an annual event that showcases some of the crafts and includes a community chowder feed and a solstice pageant put on by the community. It is a lot of fun.


Our boat was the star of the show. It is an interpretation of an old boat design popular in the Muskoka Lake region of Canada in the 1920s. Called the Disappearing Propeller Boat, or dispro, or dippy, it featured a single piston engine mid-ship hooked to a hinged propeller that could be raised to avoid rocks, reduce speed and operate in shallow water. Our version, designed by boat designer and program leader Phil, is powered by an electric trolling motor cleverly incorporated into the rudder. The battery is located under the forward bench seat. The boat was built by high school age kids in Boys Totem Town, a correctional facility for teenage boys, under the supervision of instructor Phil. The boat performed flawlessly in Lake Superior and garnered lots of loving attention from boat enthusiasts at the show.

Here are some pictures from the show:

View of the Grand Marais Harbor

The UBB boat- a beauty.

Took it for a spin- nice!

No visible means of propulsion- magic! And it is quiet.

Birch bark canoe

Nice thwart detail.


Another birch bark canoe.

Restored antique cedar canvas canoe.

Nice row boat.

The Hjordis- a schooner.

Lake Superior gravel beach.

Nice timber bench.

Muskets- you can make one at North House.



Kids working the bellows.


Natural dyes.

Basket weaving.

Our crew.

Interesting camper on display.

Built on a Yakima trailer.

Canvas Awning.

The solstice pageant- another summer welcomed.


  1. Wonderful. Really enjoyed seeing the wood crafting skills and getting a peek at the event. And good for you and UBB.

  2. Hi all!
    My name is Tony Long, I am a worker. I had a terrible problem with my Best Trolling Motor Battery, thank for share this article. It is helpful for me, see the same at: Best Trolling Motor Battery