Shell Lake Canoes: Bulletproof! Brad, I was surprised to learn that in three years in the early 1950s, Shell Lake produced more wooden canoes than anyone else in the world--including Old Town. That was in the heyday of youth summer camps, and the camps bought Shell Lake canoes in record numbers. They were popular with camp directors because they were wide and flat-bottomed (and so initially felt very stable), and although heavy with the beefy construction and continuous ribbed floor, they were just about bulletproof. In my high-school years, I worked summers as a counselor in a Wisconsin Boy Scout camp very near Shell Lake, and the camp was just making the switch from wood canoes to aluminum. At the end of one summer, I was able to buy two of the well-used Shell Lake canoes. This was pre-Ebay and pre-WCHA, so I picked up the two very serviceable canoes for $65 total. A question for your father would be if he knows anyone working at the boat factory during the 1960s who may have acquired the original Shell Lake metal-clad canoe forms. I've talked to lots of old-time former employees of the boat factory in Shell Lake, but no one knows what happened to the forms. I'd love to find one of the old forms hidden away in some weathered barn in rural Shell Lake and take it to the new canoe museum in nearby Spooner to set up and start making canoes off it again. What a piece of working history that would be!