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Lost Paddle Boatworks is a small, traditional wooden boat shop, located in Saranac Lake, NY in the heart of the beautiful Adirondacks. We mostly repair and restore boats for Tanager Lodge, a small children's wilderness camp on the shores of Upper Chateaugay Lake in the Adirondacks. Occasionally we do restoration projects for other clients as time in the shop allows.


The Thunderbird

I recently completed a thorough restoration of the Thunderbird.  This was done gratis, as a side project in the shop, on and off since 2005 (more off than on).  It was built by Fred Smart of Sandy Creek NY, for Fay Welch and Tanager Lodge, and launched as the first outboard motorboat on Upper Chateaugay Lake in 1926.  The restoration included replacing  the majority of the backbone and framework of the boat.  Replaced were the keel, false keel, stem, bow deck and framework, all the ribs, inwhales, seat-risers, seats, oarlock pads, a few sections of planking, floor boards, and the transom knees.  The knees for the transom are crafted from natural spruce knees harvested from the forest behind Daddy's Lean-to at Tanager Lodge.  All of the paint was stripped to original wood, primed and repainted.  Power comes from a 2014 Tohatsu 5hp four stroke, that was largely donated to Tanager Lodge by Alumni.

More pictures of the relaunching and restoration can be seen here:


Tanager Lodge, December Storm Clean Up, Shop and Handicrafts Repair

This spring as the weather warmed, I started working on the task of cleaning up and repairing the damage caused at Tanager Lodge, by a severe storm on December 10, 2009. Here is a running slide show of pictures, from trips this winter, and more recently days this spring. I'll try to keep it up to date the best I can.


Boreas Stix's and 3388s

Here are some watercraft that I built this winter for frozen water.  I skied the 3388's for the first time today at Whiteface, other than a bit in the backyard earlier in the week.  I built them to be a lightweight telemark touring ski, to pair up with my Garmont Excursions that I like to use when I go for backcountry skis. Most of the good lines in the Adirondacks require long approaches, so I favor the idea of a lightweight tele set up. At 117-83-105 mm I feel they are big enough to float in the woods yet small enough to skin, or kick with wax while on long approaches, without feeling like you have a pair of lunch trays strapped to your feet.  They come in at 5.5 pounds at 170 cm, the soft flex makes them easy to drive with a soft boot.  I had a great day on them  and the Excursions ripping bump lines on Skyward, and making effortless jump turns with their low swing weight on the steeps.

The Boreas Stix's are a pair of light weight skis that I made earlier in the winter, for ski jouring with the dogs. I wanted something that did not have edges, but was a bit wider than the old nordic race skis I had been using. So at 58-54-56 mm they have a bit more platform but will still fit in a prepared track. The dogs especially like the descent from Avalanche Pass to Marcy Dam on them.

Well here is to more spring skiing.


December Storm Damage Tanager Lodge

Around Christmas we received word that Tanager Lodge had sustained winter storm damage to some of the buildings.
I was not able to get up there to look things over and assess the damage until the 30th of December. After a short ski across the lake with a chainsaw and other implements in tow, in a sled, we arrived to view the carnage.
It seems like this damage occurred around the 10th of December, based on the weather history for the month recorded at SLK (Saranac Lake Airport), and from what I can recall. 45 mph winds were recorded at the airport during the three day period, December 9th to the 11th. Looking at the damage on the ground and the linear line of trees that were toppled and up rooted across the Point, it would appear that a micro-burst, or straight-line down-draft from a thunderstorm, raced across the point in a fury.
This storm drastically altered the landscape of the Point as we have known it for years. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:


Reg Merrill's Skiffs

Reg Merrill was a carpenter and boat builder, repairing camps and boats around Chateaugay Lake. Reg built six Chateaugay Skiffs: five 17 foot boats that are copies of the Big Green, a St. Lawrence Skiff owned by Tanager Lodge that was built at Cranberry Lake in 1903, and one 14 foot boat.

Here are two of his 17 foot boats that I recently finished restoring this summer in July:

The skiff owned by Tanager Lodge was in bad need of repair after daily use at the camp since 1972. This started with, stripping off 35 years of varnish, replacing the lower half of the stern stem, replacing about 1/4 of the planking, replacing all of the ribs, replacing the stern seat, and finally revarnishing the boat.

The other skiff seen here was originally built for and owned by C. Hadden, and is now owned by the Salomon Family. It was in much better shape requiring the replacement of only one plank and the repair of six ribs, along with stripping the damaged paint and varnish and then repainting and varnishing the boat.


Reggies Shop

New ice in December, view from Reggie's Shop

Reggie's Shop, sitting on the water's edge on the northern end of Upper Chateaugay Lake, in the Hamlet of Merrill, is now owned by Tanager Lodge.  The shop was Reg Merrill's until he retired and sold it to Tanager.  The shop was built in about 1930 as a garage for Haddy Young, son of the operator of the Merrill 
House on top of what is left of an iron ore dock.  The dock was in use from about 1870 to 1890 to transfer ore from the mines in Lyon Mountain to barges that transported via the narrows and the lower lake to the Forge in Popeville.

Reg was a carpenter and boat builder, repairing camps and boats around the lake.  Tanager kept him busy with their fleet of wooden canoes and skiffs, and to this day continues to keep me busy.  Reg built six Chateaugay Skiffs: five 17 foot boats that are copies of the Big Green, a St. Lawrence Skiff owned by Tanager Lodge that was built at Cranberry Lake in 1903, and one 14 foot boat.  Sadly, Reg passed away September, 24, 2005 at the age of 80, however, the boats he built out-live him today.
This shop commands one of the premier views on the lake, and was the first place that I worked on boats in any serious manner.  I still use it today when I run out of space at home or when smaller repairs of Tanager's boats do not justify transporting them to Saranac Lake.
Reg published a book of his poems called "Musings of a Lake Man," one of my favorite poems is:
"A nice place to work"
Mowed lawn up to Indian Point
That sure is one beautiful joint-
the grass fresh and green 
and mowed down nice and clean,
like an emerald worn by a giant."

                                                                  Sunset from T-bird Shed roof


Goeller Dinghy

These pictures are of "Sadie" a 12' Goeller Dinghy that I built over several years in between many other projects.  It was finally launched on August 24, 2006.  During her maiden voyage on Upper Saranac Lake I proposed to my wife.  At our wedding we used the boat to arrive at our reception.