Don Hardy, Craftsman
Rebuilding an old wooden boat can be a daunting, time consuming task. Don Hardy of McCall Boat Works knows what it takes to bring classic vessels back to life. Hardy worked as a carpenter and a builder for more than three decades. Ten years ago he shut down his custom home construction business in Boise and moved to McCall, determined to pursue his passion…restoring wooden boats.
“The wife and I drove out to Kuna and checked out this boat that was in a barn … I started about a six month restoration, stripping the boat out and did a lot of research and the more research I did the more I fell in love with the boats. And from there on I just realized it was my calling to start a boat company. I guess the best part is I get to see a product from an ugly stage to a finished stage and I get to see people enjoy it. When I see it out on the water and I see a lot of people compliment the owners on their boats or their owners compliment me back, that's where my satisfaction is. It's really a passion that has grown huge in me.”
From his shop near Payette Lake, Hardy now refurbishes boats for clients from around the country. Hardy is also one of the founding members of the Payette Lakes chapter of the Antique and Classic Boat Society. It's the newest chapter in the country, but it has already established a tradition…an annual boat show on beautiful Payette Lake.
“I think the boat shows are just a good way to promote what has really been left out there and part of our historical past. I think is just the old craftsman style that we don't have nowadays. You could have a lot of nice pretty expensive plastic boats at the dock but everybody is going to gather around the wood boat. It's just very soft and appealing to the eye and I think the wood talks to people. It attracts them. It definitely draws their full attention. These boats are treasures to a lot of people and they provide a lot of enjoyment.”