Gently out to sea | Squamish Chief

Gently out to sea

Squamish man handcrafts wooden rowboats

In a backyard trailer oasis in the Garibaldi Highlands, Conrad Lindner runs his hand proudly down the side of the rowboat he is handcrafting — a cedar captain's gig with three rowing stations.

As he works, a wood-burning stove keeps cozy the shingled trailer woodshop, which Lindner, a contractor by trade, built himself.

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His Terrier-mutt, Mr. Burns, attempts to distract him from his work with soft barks and stares at the pooch's favourite fetch toy.

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Source: Jennifer Thuncher

After letting Mr. Burns out, Lindner returns his focus to the 17-foot long and 40-inch wide rowboat that dominates the trailer.

Lindner, 69, has been in Squamish a little over four years. Before that, he lived on Bowen Island for close to 40 years.

Lindner built his first boat when he was 15 years old.

"It was a sailboat," he recalled. "That is how it started."

Four boats sit covered in the yard outside the trailer. He figures he has built about 15 boats to date. He hasn't heard of anyone else in Squamish who builds boats by hand.

"I make them right from the beginning — from numbers on paper to 3D pieces and set up the frames," he said. He will make the oars as well.

The rowboat he is currently working on is made of cedar fir and mahogany. Much of the wood he reclaimed from construction jobs.

Unlike many boats these days, this one doesn’t have any floatation, such as foam.

It is all wood.

Gently out to sea_7
Source: Jennifer Thuncher

"Boats have become so small and narrow and low to the water that they need floatation or they will be tipped over," he said. "In the old days, in the 1800s, they designed boats so that you wouldn't tip them over if you have any nautical sense."

The rowboat, which he has named Francine, will be white on the outside. Lindner is of Dutch heritage and was born in Amsterdam.

"It is tradition," he said of the colour. "It stands up in the water and is easier to see so there is a safety aspect to it too."

From start to finish, the project will have taken a couple of months.

He hopes to sell this rowboat, eventually.

Anyone interested in this boat or his others can email Lindner at

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