Tom returned home and began digging the footings for his newly dedicated building where canoe work would be done.

In 1995, through Dave Muzzey, of Maine Journeys, Charleston, ME, Tom met Mike Lazor of Fremont, NH. Mike had taken Jerry Stelmock's course and had been building canoes for several years. Tom and Mike agreed to teach each other their skills, Mike worked in Tom's wood finishing business and Mike taught Tom canoe building from the ground up. At Mike's shop, Tom built his first new wooden canoe.

In the years to follow, Tom, through the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association (WCHA), got to know and become friends with Jerry Stelmock, of Island Falls Canoe, Atkinson, ME. As a 25th Anniversary present, Tom wanted to surprise his wife Jan, with a 15' Willow Wisp, and asked Jerry if he would build him a hull, so that Tom could then custom finish it. Jerry agreed, and that was their first collaborative project. Tom has since worked with Jerry on the "Millennium Sojourner" project, and now custom finishes the interiors of all these celebrated collectables.

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