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Josh Tolkan

Grand Marais, MN
North House Folk School photo of instructor, Josh Tolkan

Josh spent his youth paddling rivers of Northern Wisconsin and sailing on Lake Michigan. While attending Carleton College he began paddling Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and sailing the midwest collegiate racing circuit. After spending a summer teaching sailing at the Center for Wooden Boats in Seattle, he became a hobby boat builder. During seven years spent as an affordable housing project and construction manager, he built a cedar strip canoe, a nutshell pram, and remodeled an RV trailer into a mobile kitchen. Finally Josh decided he had had his fill of management life and needed to be using his hands on a daily basis. In 2016 he enrolled at the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building near Port Townsend, WA. His year of school culminated in a third place finish for his team at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival’s three-day Boat Building Challenge! In the fall of 2017 he went to work for Wilderness Inquiry in Minneapolis, MN. There he redesigned and prototyped Wilderness Inquiry’s 24-foot Voyageur canoe and then helped Wenonah Canoe prepare to mass produce that design for Wilderness Inquiry.

Josh is a Artisan in Residence in North House's Artisan Development Program. Josh is excited to spend two years as an Artisan in Development at North House. He hopes to inspire the North House and Grand Marais community into the history and possibilities of traditional wooden boats, and to use his time here to launch himself into a career as a self-employed boat builder.

Current Courses Offered by Josh Tolkan

3 Days
Teaser image for Boat Design Principles and Carving a Half Model of a Lake Superior Fish Tug: Online Course

Boat Design Principles and Carving a Half Model of a Lake Superior Fish Tug: Online Course

This is an opportunity to dip your toes into the world of boat lofting, the technique used by master ship builders for generations until the advent of computer aided design. Rather than lofting students will use boat design techniques at scale. In the first session, students will draft the Grand…
Tue, Mar 16th, 2021
6:30-8:30pm CST on three Tuesday evenings, March 16th. 23rd, and 30th
Instructor: Josh Tolkan

Past Courses Offered by Josh Tolkan

Boat Design: Shaping a Half Hull Model

Building the Lake Superior Picnic Boat

Framing and Planking a Traditional Herring Skiff: Boatbuilding Fundamentals

Laminated Canoe Paddles

Lofting and Pattern Making for the Herring Skiff