Handcrafted with Care: Father savors opportunity to build boat for his son

Dave Lein, Editor

Photo by Dave Lein

Tim Hannert, of Bellaire, recently completed a five-year project of building a vintage Adirondack Guide Boat for his son, who owns a house in upstate New York.


BELLAIRE – Tim Hannert built his first boat when he was 12 years old.

And it leaked.

Over the years, the Bellaire resident has honed his skills a bit. The three boats that he built from scratch – along with two he “rehabilitated” – are marvels of precise craftsmanship and function.

“Yes, as far as I know, none of those have leaked,” Hannert said with a smile.

His latest project – which was started five years ago and recently completed – is modeled after a 1880s-90s Adirondack Guide Boat.

“Those boats were popular at that time in upstate New York,” he said. “Guides and merchants used them to carry supplies to remote areas, and they were fairly easy to navigate.”

Hannert’s 16-foot craft includes 70 planks and 1,400 screws. The hull is fashioned from Western Red Cedar, while the ribs were made out of Sitka Spruce from Alaska.

True, it did take five winters of precise woodworking to construct the boat, but that’s only half (or maybe three-quarters) of the process. Sometimes waiting is the hardest part.

“The finishing takes a while,” said Hannert. “First comes a layer of fiberglass, then four coats of epoxy, followed by eight coats of varnish – and that last coat has to dry for four weeks.

“But that pretty much ensures it won’t leak,” he added.

And that’s a good thing since the boat is going to a special customer.

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