I am a third generation farmer living on the North Fork of Long Island, NY. Originally from South Dakota, I went to a one-room schoolhouse near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Later, I studied at Iowa State University,
and earned an MS and PhD in Horticulture from Cornell University.
I grew up looking out at the Dakota horizon over fields of golden wheat. These days I look eastward over the Atlantic Ocean
to points unknown.
I started building a canoe in 2014 shortly after my father passed away. Those elk antlers you see in my woodshop were his trophy. I live in a beautiful house on the North Fork, and began making that canoe over the winter during several historic blizzards.
Some people say that when you build a canoe, you’re planning your escape. But for me, it’s a process of making order out of chaos. You buckle down on a task and make something beautiful and useful. Then when you’re done, it’s freedom.
My primary material of choice for a canoe is an aromatic red cedar. But I’m also exploring a broad range of hardwood biodiversity including walnut, maple and basswood. I’ll be building different boats with different species of trees.
There’s different colors and grains and textures to be had out of sustainable timber here in coastal Long Island, NY. It inspires the other creative explorations in my work—including nature photography. I took all the photos for this website.
I am a partner and CEO of Bedell Cellars, a 100-acre, certified sustainable vineyard and winery founded in 1980. Our Merlot was served at President Obama’s Inauguration. I am Chairman of the Board of WineAmerica. This year I’m rowing a wooden boat around Manhattan for Rocking the Boat, a youth development organization in the South Bronx.
Preszler Woodshop handcrafts heirloom quality canoes using traditional woodworking techniques. Each boat is painstakingly molded from hundreds of hand-cut wood strips during an exacting process that takes a year to complete. A Preszler Woodshop canoe is a functional work of art that is meant to be passed down through generations. Each vessel is made by the artist in his woodshop on the North Fork of Long Island — a barn built in 1820 which served as the original Mattituck Village Blacksmith. His practice is imbued with the elements of the outdoorsman: wood, water, sky, and life.