Hand-crafted kayaks lead to music of the outdoors
LAKE FLORIDA -- Dr. Dean Lindquist, D.D.S., traveled hundreds of miles to Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, to learn how to make a hand-held planer sing.
Now he plies the waters of Lake Florida in Kandiyohi County and is rewarded with beautiful music of another sort: The sounds of loons calling and the laughter of children as they play on the lake's beaches.
Yet he loves equally the time he spends in his shop overlooking the lake. That's where he makes his planer sing and creates the craft that allow him to glide so quietly and effortlessly over the lake.
"That's my little piece of heaven,'' said Lindquist of his shop.
That would be an apt description of the two cedar strip kayaks he has crafted.
Lindquist practices dentistry in Renville, where he and his wife Paulette make their home. They've raised a family and continue to immerse themselves in the community that they've loved for three decades. They also enjoy getting away to the place they acquired in more recent years on Lake Florida.
The notion of building a watercraft has been with him since 1965, when he was a sophomore at the Granite Falls High School. Upperclassman Carl "Wink'' Lundell was building a wooden boat in shop class.
"Some day I want to build something like that,'' Lindquist said he decided.
He had a few things to do first. After graduating from high school he went to Concordia College in Moorhead for his undergraduate degree. He graduated from the School of Dentistry at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and served a two-year stint in the military before he started his practice in Renville.
Some years ago he picked up a book by boat builder Ted Moores called "Canoe Craft.''
Two years ago he convinced Paulette to join him for the trip when he became a student in the author's boat-building shop located north of Toronto.
Lindquist arrived at the boat building class as no stranger to hand tools. He grew up on a farm with a father who loved to tinker in his shop.
Yet Lindquist said the time spent in class with Ted Moores of Bear Mountain Boats was nothing less than inspiring. Moores told his class that a properly sharpened planer will sing as it is pulled over the wood it shaves. The instructor made sure all of his students learned the most important lesson: "You can do anything if you have sharp tools.''
"The things that looked difficult, he made easy,'' said Lindquist.
He returned home with a 17½-foot, cedar and basswood kayak, the Endeavor 17 model designed by Steve Killing, a friend of Moores. The craft is a slender work of beauty that attracts lots of attention and would be anyone's pride and joy.
Lindquist has a confession.
It's as much the journey as the finished product that is his source of pleasure, he said. He's as happy working in the shop as he is showing off and enjoying the craft.
Not surprisingly, the Endeavor led him to his second work, a 12½-foot kayak that is waiting for Paulette to take to the waters.
The lightweight crafts weigh 43 and 37 pounds, respectively, and cut the waters of the lake as if they possess the hone of the tools that built them. With little effort and at a casual pace, Lindquist can propel either around the shoreline of the lake in no more than an hour's time.
Early mornings are his favorite times to explore the waters, but any time is a good time.
Lindquist said the stealth that comes with being a paddler has opened his eyes and ears to sights and sounds he would never have experienced, and enjoys beyond measure.
All it required was learning how to make a planer sing.