Who We Are

The Wooden Canoe Builders' Guild was formed in 1996 to serve the collective needs and interests of builders and restorers of cedar canvas and woodstrip epoxy watercraft and to foster public interest in and knowledge of such watercraft. The Guild provides a forum for co-operation and communication among wooden canoe and kayak builders and facilitates the co-operative bulk purchasing of the specialised products and materials used in the construction of these vessels.

Guild members are producing, today, those canoes and kayaks which will become the heritage watercraft of future decades. It is the goal of the Guild to preserve and pass on the skills required to build and reconstruct these watercraft, which are so connected with the history and traditions of North America.

Every member of the Guild is indebted to people whom we have never met, but who led the way in developing the techniques which most of us follow today. The names of the old companies such as Henry Rushton, Chestnut, Old Town and Peterborough, to name a few, represent the heritage which we strive to preserve and continue through our work.

Today's wooden canoe builders operate, predominantly, in small scale enterprises in widely scattered areas of North America. Few workshops have more than two or three employees which is why these builders are truly individual entrepreneurs with a strong sense of responsibility to produce quality watercraft for truly discriminating owners.

Construction Standards

The Wooden Canoe Builders' Guild seeks to have its members maintain high standards as they produce watercraft for those customers who will appreciate the time and care invested in the canoes and kayaks coming from their shops. They also strive to return to active use those craft that have suffered the ravages of time so that they may, once again, connect mankind with the natural elements. For those members who build wood & canvas canoes, one of the conditions of membership in the Guild is agreement to a set of construction standards set down by the Guild. The onus is on each builder to meet or exceed these standards without any formal policing by the Guild.

Code of Ethics

Members of the Guild are governed by a Code of Ethics which sets down guidelines concerning members' conduct with reference to customers, the public and each other.

Membership Criteria

Membership in the Guild is based on the following statements of criteria:

  1. A member of the Wooden Canoe Builders' Guild, with all the rights and privileges of such will be said to be one who:
    1. Engages in work, whether full time or otherwise, which relates to the construction, reconstruction or use of wooden canoes, the promotion of wooden canoes or the provision of resources, sevices or supplies associated with wooden canoes.
    2. Has completed the approriate application form and paid the appropriate fee for the current membership year.
  2. Members in good standing may so identify themselves on letterhead, advertising, etc. and can use the Guild logo for this purpose.
  3. Membership is available through a process of application to the Guild in writing or electronically.
  4. In the case of a partnership business or joint ownership of business, only one of the partners from each company will have voting rights at meetings involving Guild decisions and business. Voting may be done by proxy.

* Charter membership is equal to regular membrship and is a designation given only to those who were present and active at the Midland and or Peterborough meetings. Charter membership holds no rights or privileges above regular membership. Charter members may identify themselves as such on advertising.

Becoming a member of the Guild

For information about how to become a member of the Wooden Canoe Builders' Guild, please contact the membership co-ordinator as shown on the home page.


cat tailNote:

The Wooden Canoe builders' Guild is a voluntary organization established to promote the construction, restoration and use of wooden canoes and kayaks. Members of the Guild are independent individuals and businesses offering services to the public in the construction, repair and restoration of such craft. While the Guild has adopted a set of construction standards to govern the cedar canvas canoe construction carried out by its members, in order to encourage sound construction practices, each member is responsible for his or her own work and neither the Guild nor any officer of the Guild undertakes to inspect or monitor the work done by any member of the Guild. Consequently neither the Guild nor any officer of the Guild assumes responsibilty for such work or liability for any consequences arrising from such work.


The Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly, July 2008


As stated above one of our goals is to preserve and pass on the skills involved in the building of cedar canvas canoes. Individual members do this through a variety of means including giving courses and classes usually at their own shops. In July 2008 the WCHA held its annual Assembly at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada.

The Guild took full advantage of this venue and we played a major part in running and participating in the 'building and repair' portion of the programme. Guild members displayed a variety of new and restored canoes. Pam Wedd and Ron Pellinen presented workshops on painting and sanding canoes sharing their considerable skill and experience. Dave Alguire did a presentation on rib top replacement, rib repairs and some other repair issues.

All during the course of the weekend the Guild was also building a brand new cedar canvas canoe from scratch. This project was headed up by Roger Foster with help from Brie Marsh , Pat Smith and the other members who helped out as they had time.

Following is a short photo essay showing some of the members and the activities that they participated in over that weekend.


guild tent     basswood canoe








sanding  painting



canvasing  canvasing





pam and roger  roger and pat




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