Though, by design, his prized creation has no keel, even-keeled best describes Jens Simonsen as he speaks eloquently about a dream come true.
Simonsen, who lives with wife Eileen east of Elgin, first got the hankering for building a cedar canoe, and more recently, paddling said watercraft down a piece of Nebraska’s Niobrara River, at the ripe old age of 10.
“I was reading about building a canoe in a Popular Mechanics magazine,” Simonsen recounted his boyhood memory with unflappable conviction. “It’s been in the back of my mind for decades and when Covid hit (about March 2020), I knew I would have a lot of time on my hands.”
Definitely more passionate over the years for fly fishing, not boating, Simonsen did acquire books here and there and eventually settled on a plan outlined in Building a Strip Canoe by Gil Gilpatrick. The steps are complex requiring a steady hand, patience, tenacity, and well-honed woodworking skills.
For the complete story turn to this weeks Elgin Review.