Trent Preszler builds heirloom quality canoes using traditional woodworking techniques, each boat painstakingly molded from hundreds of hand-cut wood strips during an exacting process that can take him a year to complete.
The first one took even longer, as Preszler learned woodworking technique in a combination of self study and trial and error. That project was inspired, Preszler told the Wall St. Journal, by woodworking actor Nick Offerman, whose TV character paddled away in a canoe in the final episode of Parks & Recreation.
Preszler Woodshop canoes are functional works of art, Preszler says, each made by him in his woodshop in Mattituck, New York, on the North Fork of Long Island. An 1820s barn that was the original village blacksmith is his woodshop.
Preszler considers himself a third generation farmer, operating Bedell Cellars, a 100-acre winery and vinyard on Long Island. He has an MS and PhD in Horticulture from Cornell University. Bedell Merlot was served at the Presidential inauguration and vintages sell for up to $250 a bottle.
He started building his first canoe in 2014 after his father passed away, primarily of aromatic red cedar, with black walnut, ziricote, maple and basswood also incorporated. The oars are ash, with the tips dipped into molten bronze. He plans to sell it for $100,000 as he moves ahead on three more canoes.
"I’ll be building different boats with different species of trees," says Preszler. "There are different colors and grains and textures to be had out of sustainable timber here in coastal Long Island, New York."
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