About Joe:

Tradesman, teacher, researcher and writer, Joe Calnan contracts and consults on projects from his  base on Wolfe Island, Ontario, Canada.

Credential highlights:
  • U.K. City and Guilds certification in Boat Building
  • Canadian Red Seal qualifications in Cabinetmaking and General Carpentry
  • Member of the Ontario College of Teachers; Construction Tech and Design Tech teaching qualifications
  • ABYC Master Marine Technician qualification ( Electrical, Systems and Corrosion Technician certifications)
  • Degrees in Education, English, and Native Studies
  • Three published journal articles on 17th century Great Lakes marine trades

After graduating from the International Boatbuilding Training College in the U.K., Joe worked as a craftsman and boat-builder in Europe, Canada and the U.S.A.  In 2001, Joe launched Calnan Boatbuilding & Joinery on Wolfe Island, tackling cabinetmaking, carpentry, shipwright and educational projects. From 2012-2015, he launched and coordinated a boatbuilding apprenticeship program for MetalCraft Marine Incorporated in collaboration with the New Zealand Marine Industry Training Organisation.  He is equally at home with heritage craftsmanship and cutting edge technology. His published papers on historic marine tradesmen have earned two awards for original research. Joe was a guest speaker on the topic of marine industry apprenticeship programs at IBEX 2015 in Louisville, KY and IBEX 2017 in Tampa, Florida. 


“I’ve had the opportunity to work with Joe both as a student in the Boatbuilding Apprenticeship Program and a colleague as a shop manager relying on Joe for his expertise, coaching, and mentoring skills with tradesmen.  Joe consistently demonstrates the ability to thoroughly understand the question or challenge at hand, and provide a well thought-out and researched response. He demonstrates not only a thorough understanding of the trade, but always demonstrates his mentoring skills as he teaches his students the skills of “how” to research and find the answers themselves. Joe goes far above and beyond the expectations of his job assignments and truly is an asset to the team he is working with.”   -- D. W., Chaumont, New York

"I am a carpenter and builder - my company builds custom homes and cottages in Kingston and the Thousand Islands. Joe Calnan has been doing some of the most challenging woodwork and joinery on my projects for over ten years now.  He has a tremendous depth of knowledge of wood and woodworking, as well as a wealth of understanding of traditional methods and details.  He combines this with a great ability to put his skills to work in an efficient and workmanlike manner: meaning he gets the job done and done well.  He is a true craftsman of the old school." -- M.S., Kingston, Ontario

"Joe rebuilt our century home with great care, attention to detail and incredible workmanship.  Whether you need an ark or a castle, Joe’s the man for the job."  -- C.B., Wolfe Island, Ontario

"For many years, Joe has been custom building stress skin panels for my art work. These large frames are strong, light and beautifully constructed. I would describe Joe as a true craftsman. His love of the work is expressed both in the unmatched quality of his workmanship and his scrupulous attention to detail." -- S.S., Kingston, Ontario

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