From the Shop: Getting caught up and looking ahead.

November is kind of an exciting time around the Blackfly shop.  It’s the time of year when things start to settle down bit, and gives me a chance to catch up, catch my breath, look back, and look ahead.

Boats ready to go out.
Boats ready to go out.  They’re gone now.

From time to time, I hear funny rumors about Blackfly.  This week it was that I have a backlog of up to a year.  I’m pleased to say that’s just not true.  As of this week, all ordered canoes have gone out (it would have been last week, but I got one more order late in the week).  Don’t get me wrong, there have been some backlogs this year.  With new molds coming on line all at once at the end of June, it was somewhat inevitable.

Since then, I’ve been working on catching up, and it feels good to finally be caught up. There were some other delays that were unforeseen, but still avoidable.  It took me a few extra weeks to get some of the canoes out because I ran out of saddles, and my foam supplier was back ordered on foam.  I hadn’t figured in the extra time when I ordered saddles- I figured everything would go quickly and smoothly, but it didn’t.

Lesson learned, look ahead more.  Now that things are slowing down as colder weather sets in, I’m doing just that; working to get ahead.  Hulls are currently in stock for all of the canoes, and I’ve already got a few canoes put together, so they’re ready to go out as soon as they’re ordered.  I don’t like making people wait for whitewater canoes, and I’m going to do what I can to keep up with it better next year, starting now.  Unfortunately, I know I’m going to run out of big Octanes (91’s and 92’s) fairly soon- I’m down to the last three.  Due to space limitations and dust concerns, I can’t build canoes and do R&D work at the same time. So once I get all the inventory ready to go, and get the shop organized a bit better, the next project is to re-tool the big Octane.  The demand for this canoe surprised me this season- if I’d expected it, I would have had a ‘real’ mold made sooner!  I’ll get the plug cleaned up and sent out to have an aluminum mold made so I won’t have to rebuild the fiberglass mold again.  I’m not planning any major changes to the boat, mostly just aesthetic tweaks. Hopefully, I can take care of that soon so the time the canoe is off-line will be as short as possible.

I’ll also have some time to work on another project that’s been bugging me for too long- the Condor- but I’ll save that for another post.