SANBORN CANOE COMPANY, at its origin, was a summer hobby by a few buddies to build a cedar-strip canoe with little more knowledge than we had gleaned from a how-to book, purchased at the local bookstore. By the end of that first summer we had a sturdy canoe and a keen interest in crafting a few paddles to ply it. Learning everything the hardest way possible, it seemed, by trial and error we succeeded in carving out a few paddles. Those first paddles led to the desire to learn more and then more about paddle making, until we had made more paddles than we could ever use. And curiously to us, some folks liked them. Wham-Bang, Sanborn was born!
From that all-too-clichéd “business in our buddies’ garage” we earnestly set out to carve out our niche in the paddling community. This was familiar territory for us, having paddled and extensively backcountry canoe camped throughout canoe country — for some of us since our early childhood. That heritage had been bred in the early years of the 1900s (and most certainly earlier still), through past generations of our families’ paddling in northern Minnesota and beyond. So through our history and eagerness to learn, we quickly grew as a paddling brand. We honed our craft and in time offered up our paddles to retail locations and to the veritable masses.