It was truly a wonderful opportunity to be able to work along side someone as capable as John and to learn that even I can tackle most jobs. My wife Merridy encouraged me to do this and she was absolutely right. (I still think it was a plot to get me out of the house during the winter.) If you are thinking of doing a big job or a small job and you want help to do it right then call John.
Jim & Merridy Watt & "Twilight."
Jim and Merridy Watt (1954 Shepherd Runabout):
Sandy Beatty (1939 Port Carling Boatworks Seabird Loon):
John's talents are truly demonstrated in this refurbishing job. It was indeed a pleasure working with John on this project and having the continual dialogue. Watching the progress was was not only fun, but fulfilling. I was very proud of the old girl at the Antique Boat Show on Little Lake in Peterborough, July 2004. Sincerely a project well done! Thanks, John!
George Crossman (1958 Shepherd Junior):
"John did a great job restoring my 15 1/2 ft Shepherd. He certainly knows what he is doing. I get alot of looks on the lake when I have the boat out for a run. It will provide years of fun at the cottage. Thanks also, John, for getting me interested in wooden boats!"
Brian Norman (1958 Peterborough Lakeside):
"For most of us, turning over our beloved watercraft to a total stranger is a daunting leap of faith. But working with John on the restoration of our Peterborough Lakeside, I can assure you that your boat, and your cheque book, are in capable hands.
John is skilled and enthusiatic about restoring these watercraft to their original (or better) glory using traditional and newer technologies as needed."
John Petrosoniak & Mary Jane Dundas (1957 Shepherd Junior):
"We have seen a number of classic wooden boats that John has restored. His work is meticulous and the results look like fine furniture on water. We can't think of too many people who dedicate the time and attention to produce the extraordinary work that he does. As a result, we are thrilled to have him restore our 1957 Shepherd and can't wait for it to be complete so that we can enjoy it at our cottage on Gold Lake."
(Email from July 2007: "Hi, and thanks for the beautiful boat! ... What a beauty! It certainly got a lot of attention from boater at the marina and many admiring looks on the way to the cottage. John and I are thrilled that the boat has been so beautifully restored - even better than new. This year marks its 50th birthday - 1957 to 2007. What a terrific way to celebrate this boat in Canadian boat making history. Thank you so much for doing such great work for us."
Peter Richardson (1957 Shepherd Junior):
"The crowning glory of John's work is the varnished finish; it's a thing of beauty that you want to care for, and insist that everyone else cares for it too. Underneath that finish is very careful work that, in our case, undid the ravages of rot and careless work by another boat restorer, and got us back much more nearly to the original form as it came from the Shepherd Boat Works. All in all, we're delighted with our "new" boat. And we've never had so many compliments!"
Johnathan Richardson (June 2007) Hello there, I just wanted to let you know how pleased I am with the boat ... she looks absolutely fantastic and it is truly a pleasure to have her back . I have since built a nice little mahogany box which fits up under the rear deck and is accessed through the hatch , storage for small accessories . I will send a photo , it turned out well . Thanks again for your efforts; it is all much appreciated!
Dan Vasiga (1966 (Lakefield) Richardson Aquacraft):
"John was certainly knowledgeable about the boat and helpful in getting the project underway. Once the boat was in the shop John and Cindy kept us up to date on the progress with emails and text updates, which was very exciting for us, living in another province. John's advice on what to replace vs. what to repair was invaluable, and he also suggested some excellent modifications that improved on the boat's original design.
The quality of John's workmanship was excellent as was the workmanship for the portions of the work that were outsourced.
All in all it was a great experience getting a boat that was built in the 60's, and retired for over 25 years under a cottage, looking like new again.
Thanks John and Cindy!"
Ken Kirk (193? Race Boat):
John - just wanted to tell you how pleased I am with your total restoration of "Allez IV". She is a very unique and distinctive race boat and you have restored her to her maximum potential. I have great respect for your woodworking and finishing skills. Above all, I appreciated the open exchange of ideas and discussion of options and details during the restoration process. You made the process very enjoyable for me and the results are absolutely spectacular! Everyone who sees "Allez IV" is very impreseed!