Any and all whom visit San Antonio are greeted with beautiful scenery and a thriving metropolis consisting of restaurants, shops, bars and of course the hallmark attraction, the River Walk. As one begins to explore the River it is hard not to take notice of the barges upon the it which take tourists and locals up and down the River Walk while pointing out points of interest along the way. These barges have become a sort of keystone attraction themselves as they are a great way to learn about the city as well as get a great view of the many attractions.

in 2016 a project came into fruition which called for new state of the art river barges. Mason’s Mill and Lumber Co. began working with the Go Rio cruise company along with others to create a prototype for the intended barges. After the prototype for the barge was approved Go Rio began bidding out the project to custom boat builders. A company in Chicago landed the project and was commissioned to build 80 new river barges. Once the order was received in 2017 Mason’s Mill went to work. Mason’s Mill milled the hand rail components on a custom CNC router and began shipping them out to the builders for installation. Two years later here we are admiring the final product as the historical city celebrates its Big 300th Birthday.

“This project is unique because of the time it took to complete and how long it will be around! I hope I can take my grandkids on these barges one day and show them not only the quality of our work but also the wood, these handrails will last a lifetime!” – Mason Spellings of Mason’s Mill and Lumber Co.

Most of the river barge is constructed with decorative metal and accented with Ipe (Brazilian Walnut) which is in the Ironwood family of tropical hardwoods. There has been a steady increase in the specification by architects and designers for this specie due to its attractive appearance and incredible durability. With the same fire rating as concrete and proven 50+ year performance in ground contact testing, Ipe has proven itself to be a preferred specie where durability and a pleasing aesthetic are required.

Mason’s Mill used extra wide boards to cut the radius handrails in order avoid gluing up smaller components. The finished product is as attractive as it is durable, and adds a natural warmth and character to the eccentric river barges that ply the San Antonio River.

Dive deeper: Find out more about this project as well as how to book your next cruise down the River Walk using the links below!

Click the link below to read about the $100 million dollar contract and how they chose the manufacturer

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