The dream of canoeing started for John Van Hal when he was just a kid. After working a few summer jobs, he and his brother had enough money to buy an 18-foot fiberglass canoe. One of his many adventures included a trip down the Des-Moines River from the source in Minnesota to Fort Dodge, Iowa. Even after weathering a tornado less than 1⁄2 mile from their camp he was hooked on canoeing.
John can clearly remember sitting in the boat with his dad, drawing plans for a wooden boat when he was 12 years old. He dreamt of the day when he could build his own. His dreams spawned a reality in 1986, when he built his first redwood strip canoe. During the building process, he realized that he was doing what he loved most, designing and constructing wood strip canoes. He started vanhalcanoes.com which has become a second passion for John. The shop is in Mooresville, IN.
The adventure of exploring new places and enjoying nature around us is something that John has loved since he was a kid. He says “being able to maneuver through a powerful river or a serene lake in a wood strip canoe is indescribable. If you’ve ever banged around in a metal canoe you’ll immediately notice the quietness of a wood strip canoe. My admiration for the outdoors and natural materials is evident in the care that I put into constructing every wood strip canoe.”
John Van Hal will be at the show to demonstrate and answer your questions about the building process whether you are building one yourself or are just interested in the process.