My name is Dave Borsellino and I am the owner/operator of Red Hill Woods.
I live and work on the red clay of Southern Ontario.
I work with sustainably harvested wood, most of it obtained directly from local individual loggers and small wood mills.
I feel a strong connection to the land we walk upon.
My interest in woodworking grew out of a love of Nature, I've felt drawn to the forest my whole life. Function and performance are central to my work, as I strive to honour the tree with every piece I make. Every bow, paddle and board remembers its roots.
I’m blessed to work with such a warm, living material. I hope to foster a connection between people and trees, through the beauty of wood.
Red Hill Archery
“A wooden bow ignites a spark in you”
I’m drawn to wooden bow making from a very deep place.
There’s a spirit that lives in traditional archery that is more than nailing a target or tagging game. It’s olde-tyme woodcraft alive today. It connects us to our ancestors, who met nature on level ground.
Bowmaking is a unique form of woodworking. These are not static pieces. The stick bends and it returns. Thousands of times. And doesn’t break. It doesn’t remember any of the bend.
To make a bow, and to shoot one, requires focused intention. You must calm your mind. In a world of distractions, noise and A.D.D., a wooden bow is like medicine.
Bow styles: One piece character bows. Straight stave backed bows with raised tips. Reflexed bows.
Wood species: varies according to bow style, draw weight, personal choice and availability. Osage Orange; Black Locust; Hickory; Sugar Maple; White Ash; Eastern Hop Hornbeam; Black Cherry; Black Walnut; Red Elm; Sassafras.
String: Hand-made from waxed linen, with silk serving at nocks.
Bison hide grips. Quivers, arm guards and gloves of 8 oz. oiled leather, hand-made and hand-laced.
“A compound bow is a recurve bow with training wheels.”
“Building a longbow is easy. Just get a log and remove everything that doesn't look like a bow.”
Made of Sitka Spruce, which has the highest strength to weight ratio of any North American wood. All shafts are spined to match your bow’s draw-weight, and grouped together by grain mass. Hardwood-footed shafts are also available.
Fletching: Wild turkey or Canada goose feathers, lashed with silk thread soaked in hide glue.
Nocks: Under 60 lbs -- reinforced with hardwood. Over 60 lbs – reinforced with horn.
Points: Stainless steel or brass field tips. Steel broad-heads. Hand-made horn/antler tips.
All bows are finished with ten coats, arrows three coats, of a polymerized linseed oil/resin blend.
“Draw not your bow till your arrow is fixed.”
Red Hill Paddles
“Dream up your paddle, and I’ll bring it to its wooden manifestation”
I didn’t grow up in the hull of a canoe, but I did spend a fair bit of time in one. It was my uncle’s, a rackety metal one with caulked-over rivet holes all painted camouflage. It had a flat-back stern to mount an outboard motor.
It was so cumbersome and unresponsive that I could stand on the gunnels and it would act like a stick in the mud. We trudged it through the lakes of North Central Ontario with a couple of warped old paddles. I loved it.
Fast-forward to the present and a 16 foot cedar-strip Prospector, hand-built by my wife, three boys and I. We all needed a paddle, so what began with five cherry wood blanks, has become an endeavour into the seeming endless possibilities of paddle making.
"I’m fascinated with the idea of customizing someone’s perfect paddle."
ProcessWith paddles, as with canoes and kayaks, any design aspect aids in some way and hinders in another. Our purpose here is to arrive at a design that will suit most of your needs most of the time.
ConsiderationsYour physical attributes: Size, strength and stamina.
Environment: Deep or shallow water? Fair water or challenging waves? Lakes or rivers (white water)? Rocks?
Lifestyle: Day trips with a high-stroke rate or a more aggressive sprinting technique?
Customized design elements: Grip and blade design? One piece or laminations? Your colour and aesthetic preferences? A circular or ovular shaft design? A unidirectional design for increased power?
All paddles are sealed with a polymerized Tung oil/mineral spirit blend. One piece paddles receive 10 coats of polymerized Tung oil. Laminated paddles receive three coats of spar varnish.
“Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing”
Henry David Thoreau
Red Hill Boards
A board is a balance between raw materials and design.It’s refined in the most basic way. If people love these boards it is because they love wood. Nothing shows the inherent beauty of wood like a board.
Hand-made cutting and serving boards made from a variety of Carolinian hardwoods, available in a vast array of sizes, shapes and thicknesses.
Fully seasoned and kiln-dried.
Hand-shaped and fine-sanded to a silky feel.
Finished with linseed, hempseed or walnut oil.