News & Events

July 13, 2019 from 10:00 to 3:00

The South Arm Classics

On the shore of beautiful Lake Charlevoix, this is one of the most unique shows in Michigan.  Antique boats, classic automobiles and craft beer along with our boats, paddles and baskets.  Join us in Tourist Park in East Jordan, MI

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Spring Lake Wooden Boat Show

Join Mackinaw Watercraft from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at beautiful Mill Point Park on the shores of Spring Lake for this fun filled event .  We will be bringing our newest canoes and kayaks along with handcrafted paddles and picnic baskets.  There will be lots to see with restored wooden motorboats, tractors and motorcycles as well.

Saturday, June, 15, 2019

Antique & Classic Boat Show

38th Antique & Classic Boat Show
June 15, 2019
10am – 4pm
The Antique & Classic Boat Show celebrates all kinds of boat types from wood and fiberglass to power and paddle and is one of the oldest and most popular of its kind in the region. The family-friendly event features a variety of boats including Chris Crafts, Centuries, strip-built boats, dinghies, canoes, sailboats, and much more! Kids’ toy boat-building and demonstrations make this event a real hands-on experience for all ages. Our aim is to help perpetuate the building, restoration, and use of classic boats and small craft and to give participants and the public an entertaining and informative learning experience.

The show is now in its 37th year and the Michigan Maritime Museum is honored to take the reins from the previous sponsors, the Traditional Small Craft Association. We hope to continue their wonderful legacy of showcasing classic and small craft as well as the people who love and care for these vessels. 

Cost for the show is $10 for adults and $5 for kids (under 3 free). Free to Museum members.The cost includes the show and admission to all Michigan Maritime Museum exhibits.

June 22, 2019

Where It All Began - Algonac, MI

Mackinaw Watercraft brings its unique spin on wooden boats to the home of the original Chris Craft manufacturing site.  Join us at the Algonac Harbor Club for a look at some of the most beautiful wood that has ever been afloat.  The show is from 10:00 to 4:00 at 1999 Point Tremble Rd. Algonac, MI.  This will be our only opportunity to join our friends on the east side of Michigan this year, so please don't miss us.

August 3, 2019 9:00 to 4:00

Boats on the Boardwalk

Mackinaw Watercraft is proud to once again be a part of this classic event. We will have a full complement of our handcrafted Canoes, Kayak, Paddles and Picnic Baskets on display. so bring your credit card and be prepared to make someone very happy.
Set along the tree-lined boardwalk of the Boardman River in Traverse City, vintage boats of any material and older than 25 years are welcome. Wood boats of any age are welcome.

August 10, 2019 9:00 to 4:00

Les Cheaneaux Islands Boat Show

The Big Daddy of all the Great Lakes antique and wooden boat shows.  Here you will see stunningly restored classics of types and styles as well as Art and marine memorabilia.  But you will only fine one creator of new boats.  Mackinaw Watercraft will be there in booths 1 & 2 right next to the water waiting for you.

September 6 & 7, 2019

Wood Expo at Johnason's Workbench

Once again Mackinaw Watercraft will play a featured role in this popular annual event.  Free to woodworkers and lovers of all types this expo features some of America's top wood workers and tool suppliers giving demonstrations and talks on their specialties.  Our chief woodworker Allen Deming will be speaking on both days, offering his insights on what is involved in producing the two most popular types of home built wooden boats.  He will also be working on the construction of a strip-built canoe both days.

September 21, 22 and October 5, 2019

Strip-built Boat Building 101

Over the course of these three weekend dates you will receive 15 hours of instruction from experienced and acclaimed wooden boat builder Allen Deming. This class is designed as an introduction to the construction of cedar strip canoes, kayaks and paddles. 

Covered topics will include discussions of boat design, materials, tools and construction techniques. The class will rely heavily on live demonstrations and include the opportunity for hands-on participation.

From forms to fiberglass and finishing this overview should give you a strong start on the road to building your own wooden watercraft. For registration see the class section of this web site.

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Wood/Fiberglass/Epoxy Paddle Making 201

Mackinaw Watercraft, LLC owner and designer Allen Deming will offer a wood paddle making class for beginners and experienced woodworkers.

This two hour class will provide instruction and insight for making Allen’s laminated canoe and kayak paddle designs.  Using live demonstrations and written instructions, a step by step process will reveal his method for creating beautiful and long-lasting canoe and kayak paddles.

You can expect to learn how to make your own laminated canoe and kayak paddles. We will discuss optimal woods, fiberglass and epoxy usage.  An illustrated instruction booklet with plans will be provided to each participant.

Take home kits will be available for an additional fee.

Cost:  $35.00

See Class section of this site for registration.

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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


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

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




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.)


Both the port and starboard bow panels bear handcrafted images of the boats name sake.