Builders of Wood & Canvas Canoes and Classic Rowing Boats

About The Boat Builder

AlexStewart River canoes and boats are built by me, Alex Comb. I started canoeing when I was eleven and built my first boat shortly thereafter.

On one of my first trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in the mid 1960's I saw a wood and canvas canoe and the image hung in my minds' eye until I built my first canoe in 1972. I started Stewart River Boatworks in 1979 with a 14' tandem canoe model and have since added and subtracted canoes until today we build 10 different canoe models. Living near the shores of Lake Superior for the past twenty years, I began kayaking as a way to navigate the rocky shores of Superior's North Shore, and have added a series of Greenland inspired sea kayaks to our standard models. Rowing boats have been built to suit customers' requests, though most of the boat models listed on these pages were chosen because they reflect the kind of boating I like to do.

Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I have borrowed canoe designs when they were available. The traditional designs I prefer are those built by Chestnut and E. M .White. When the existing designs weren't quite "right" I modified them. In some cases, as with solo canoes, there were few traditional designs available, so I made my own.Fiona In these instances I have designed them to look "traditional." My kayak designs are based on the Southwestern Greenland styles as depicted in the Adney and Chapelle book: The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America. Again, these are traditional designs modified to better fit the intermediate paddler. Rowing boat designs are of proven designs by some of the best builders in recent memory like R. D. "Pete" Culler, L. Francis Herreshoff and John Gardner, as well as some "traditional" designs.

With eldest son Jesse now grown, I live with my young daughter Fiona near Lake Superior on the edge of the Superior National Forest which seems to offer us "the best of both worlds". We are close enough to the woods that getting to it is not a major undertaking, though civilization is still close at hand. Sometimes it seems too close. It is a constant reminder of the importance of a simpler life; a life where wilderness is essential.

It is my hope that these boats can help others to reach the elemental existence we all need.

Duluth/Superior Living article on Alex Comb

Living North article on Alex Comb 


wooden runabout

woodis festival

 wooden runabout

wooden canoe

wooden sailing boat