From Classic Boat Library
Jump to: navigation, search


Please contact us to edit or contribute to this page.

Core Craft Boats

Bemidji Boat Co.

Bemidji, Minnesota

The brand name "Core Craft" refers to the construction of these boats- a cedar core sandwiched between fiberglass layers.

According to the 1958 news article included below, Bemidji Boat Company's president, Dick Vogel, formed Core Craft, Inc. to finance the opening of a new boat manufacturing plant in Jamestown, North Dakota. This company was slated to begin producing boats for the 1959 model year for the North Dakota market.

Bemidji Boat Company History by Dick Vogel's son, David:

The original Bemidji Boat Company operated approximately in the early to late thirties. They manufactured red cedar strip boats with native white oak ribs. The bow plates on these boats were inscribed with the words "Arrow Head Boats". Some time after they discontinued building boats at that site, the building was used as an auction house, probably during the early forties. A man by the name of Bert Larson bought the building and turned it into a millwork factory, which he named "Lakeshore Mill". He added a large dry kiln and was also manufacturing children's wooden toys.

In 1947, Dick Vogel, his good friend, John Rynders, and two other men pooled their resources and purchased the Lakeshore Mill, which was located on the shores of beautiful Lake Bemidji. This factory produced just about everything needed to build a home except for the dimensional lumber. This included doors, door frames, windows, window frames, screens, paneling, hardwood flooring, base boards, trim, kitchen cabinets, and other custom woodwork. After less than a year, Dick and John acquired the business from the other two men. Within the first year they also started building cedar strip boats with oak ribs, gunwales, and splash rails. A gentleman by the name of William (Bill) Kemink was their primary boat builder. He had built boats in the same facility many years earlier. In the late forties, fiberglass was becoming a popular process to repair and waterproof boats and other items. About this same time Dick Vogel bought out his partnet, John Rynders.

At about 1950 Dick also started to experiment with replacing the oak ribs in the boats with fiberglass, and he also covered the outside of the boat with fiberglass. The light cedar strips sandwiched between layers of fiberglass not only created tremendous strength, but it also acted as a floatation device. It was during these early stages of development that Dick's nephew, James, (of James) visited from California, and showed a lot of interest in Dick's new boat idea and suggested he name his new boat construction Core Craft because of the core of cedar between the layers of fiberglass. Dick liked his suggestion. Dick was successful in patenting his idea.

By 1955, the boat building business became so successful that Dick dropped all of the millwork business and built a larger factory on the north side of Bemidji, Minnesota, and concentrated on building boats which included 12', 14', 16', and 18' fishing boats, 14', 15', and 17' runabouts, and custom boats with twin inboards up to 25' long. Some Core Craft laminated boats were manufactured under Dick's patent in Jamestown, North Dakota, and Rainy River, Canada.

Dick's two sons also became involved full time in the business. Dave came in 1949, and Harold in 1956. Ken worked for a short time before he moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to attend the university there.

By the early 1960's, labor costs prices the hand-laminated core boats out of the market. At this same time, the company had started building all fiberglass canoes, a fiberglass snow scoop, (called the Snow-Wonder) and built fiberglass snowmobile hoods for Arctic Cat. The canoes were shipped throughout the USA and some foreign countries.

In 1965, Dick sold his business to this two sons, David and Harold, who continued to expand product sales. This included running a night shift to increase productivity. It was during one of these night shifts in 1969 that a fire broke out and completely destroyed the factory. A bigger and more efficient factory was soon built. Dave and Harold also built an adjoining retail store where they sold their products plus Kawasaki Motorcycles and Arctic Cat Snowmobiles. They sold the successful business in 1975 to move on to new challenges in the business world.

Dave's grandson, Jason Vogel, is still using the first Core Craft Boat ever built.

News Articles

Model Information

Unknown Year Information

Core Craft Boats in Use

Back to Main Page