Inspired by stories of their grandfather carving boats with local youth in the 1960s and their own experience hand-making a canoe for a 2009 Boundary Waters trip with their buddies, cousins Zak Fellman and Todd Randall launched the Sanborn Canoe Company in 2012. Today it makes gorgeous 13- to 17-foot canoes with caned or cherry-strung seats and hulls trimmed in ash and cherry hardwood, but it’s best known for its colorful line of artisan paddles. The beaver tail-shaped Tettegouche and Gooseberry blades are crafted from cherry; others combine laminated Western red cedar, aspen, and black walnut.
In true #madeinminnesota fashion, each piece is carved and painted by hand at Fellman and Randall’s woodshop in Winona. Stop by the attached brick-and-mortar store for a good selection of wilderness gear and apparel, or browse their painterly blades at other stockists around the state, including Askov Finlayson, Midwest Mountaineering, and Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis; Golden Rule in Excelsior; Upstate MN in Grand Marais; Piragis Northwoods Company in Ely; and Bill’s Base Camp in Bemidji.
Sanborn Canoe Company
460 W. 3rd St., Winona, MN; 507-313-6967.