News & Events
Kayaks and canoes evolve into art!
Last fall Allen spent a lovely autum afternoon with Lester Graham of Michigan Public Radio's Stateside program. Stateside has tagged Allen as an "Artist to Watch"for their national NPR audience.
You can listen to Lester and Allen's conversation by clicking on the link below.
Mackinaw Watercraft on mLive.com
January 23, 2012
GRAND LEDGE -- When Allen Deming decided to opt out of corporate life in 2006, he seized upon an idea: why not build a pair of cedar strip kayaks, one for himself and one for his wife.
He had grown up in the building trade around Lansing. Woodworking had been his longtime hobby.
So that’s what he did that year — leaving behind a 30-year career in corporate sales.
Deming, 55, built two 17-foot kayaks that still hang on the wall of his cozy wood shop, a structure on the family property where he built his home.
Allen's Newest Creations
The Canada Goose
The Canada Goose is a 12' Pere Marquette solo canoe bearing a hand crafted marquetry rendition of the boat's name sake. Weighing in at just 32 pounds she is perfect for discovering the little lakes and rivers that are home to geese and other water fowl. The inlay is made from wood veneer of various species using just their natural grain and color to represent the subject. The Cherry wood brightwork and the California Redwood color stripe on the waterline really dress this simple design up.
‘The One Tree’ – a kayak that you dream about
John Schneider, For the Lansing State Journal12:02 a.m. EDT May 5, 2016
On a snowy day in early March, in need of a balm to soothe the chafing of winter, I found myself at the 21st annual Quiet Water Symposium at the Michigan State University Pavilion.
The symposium is a sprawling collection of displays and presentations that celebrate non-motorized outdoor recreation on land and water. It’s nature-palooza for hikers, cyclers and paddlers.
Having done a fair bit of kayaking in recent years, as well as a little woodworking, I was drawn immediately to the display of gleaming wooden kayaks built by Mackinaw Watercraft of Grand Ledge.
I had never been in a kayak until about 12 years ago, when I bought my wife a fiberglass two-seater for her birthday. We use it mainly to glide up and down the coast of northern Lake Huron, and I continue to be impressed by the simple efficiency of these vessels.
At the symposium, one particular kayak stirred my desire. It was 14 feet long, 23 inches at the beam, and weighed a mere 28 pounds. It was made of white cedar, redwood and ash, with inlays of beech, mahogany and walnut. It even had a name: “The One Tree,” driven home by a dramatic inlay of a stylized tree on its fore end.
Taking note of my interest, the boat’s builder approached me and offered to deliver the kayak to my home that very day - for $6,000.
I had a feeling that the price, though more than I would ever pay for a non-motorized recreational vehicle, was not as high as it seemed. I asked the man how many hours he had invested in the kayak. He told me, I did the math and it turned out that the $6,000 would barely represent minimum wage for his labor, not to mention the materials.
I told him that, aside from the cost, I couldn’t bear to dunk such a fine work of art into water, let alone subject it to rocks and sand. He assured me that it was built to be used like any other kayak and offered a solution to my squeamishness. He said I could use the kayak for its intended purpose during the summer months, then hang it on a wall and admire it in the winter. Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the kayak would stoke my daydreams of sunny days on flowing water.
That’s something to think about.
Read John Schneider's daily blog at www.johnschneiderblog.com.
Allen Deming of Mackinaw Watercraft demonstrates his technique for building cedar strip wooden kayaks at the Quiet Water Symposium in March. All photos this page: Kate DuHadway
News: 21st Annual Quiet Water Symposium A Big Success
2,700 PADDLERS GATHER FOR LARGEST ONE-DAY PADDLING SHOW IN NORTH AMERICA
As early March snow swirled around the Michigan State University campus, some 2,700 people arrived at the university for the 21st annual Quiet Water Symposium this year..... (for more of this article click on the title link.)