Sunday, November 22, 2015

Historic Paddle Illustration: Stand up paddle guide

Found an illustration of guide using a stand up paddle technique. It was found on in an otherwise boring government publication - Annual reports of the Forest, Fish and Game Commissioner of the State of New York - 2nd Edition (1895/96).

Venison for the Camp

Closeup of stand up paddle

Friday, November 20, 2015

Ebay Dragon Fly Diamond Grip Paddle

Blog contributor Luc Poitras just notified me of a unique looking paddle up for sale on Ebay. The listing shows various angles of the paddle which feature a strong spine down the blade and a tiny burning of a dragonfly.

The grip features a very interesting design as well - a sort of oval top with diamond or arrowhead lower section commonly found in Adirondack style paddles. Here are a few more of the seller's photos...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Origami Reflector Oven Project

Back in 2013, a post by Operater6 on the BushcraftUSA forums (link here - member login required) showed his ingenious plans for making a mini reflector oven from a large oven foil tray. Called the "2 Dollar Reflector Oven", it involves making a few cuts and folds to a piece of aluminum resulting in a perfectly functional reflector for solo use.

Oven Liner Aluminum Tray - Cut to a basic hexagon pattern

Folded into shape

Rigged up with small tray

Cooking Biscuits on the trail

He very generously provided plans for others to try and replicate his smart little invention...

Folding Oven Plans

I had saved his link and pics with the hope of creating one as well. Instead of using the aluminum oven trays however, I ended up using something else that was found a few weeks back on garbage day. Someone in the neighbourhood was throwing away a shiny roll of aluminum. I thought is was some sort of flashing but it turns out it was a camping accessory - the BakGlo Campfire Chair Warmer. Here are some shots of the product from the company page...

This one was well used and kind of dirty with tree resin and other junk, but a quick cleanup and polish made it good to go. As soon as I saw it, it seemed perfect for this project. If it's meant to reflect heat from a campfire to warm your butt, figured it could be used to actually bake some real buns on the trail.

First some masking tape was laid out to form the pattern since pencil marks didn't show up well on the shiny surface. Given that there was more material to work with than a dollar store aluminum tray, I deviated from Operator6's original measurements. Top to bottom was 21" long (20" + 1/2" folded edge on each end)

Pattern taped out

Sheet cut out

At this point, I folded along the appropriate lines according to the plans (while keeping the tape on temporarily) and the reflector began to take shape

Folding up and down

The plans call for two tabs to be inserted into slots. These were marked and cut after folding. You can see the tabs partially inserted below

Tabs sliding into cuts

At this point I still felt the whole thing was a bit wobbily but found that by folding the tails on the bottom piece inward 90 degrees stiffened things up.

Folding in the bottom legs for stability

At this point, I used a leather punch to poke 2 holes on either side. A 24" piece of 1/8 steel rod was bent into a long U shape and stuck into the holes. This added a lot of rigidity as well. My plan is to use the 6" aluminum lid of my Mini Trangia cookset as the baking tray. Don't have that cookset with me in the city, but managed to find another 6" steel pot lid as a substitute for the photo. Here's a shot of the reflector stove all rigged up...

Being a single piece, the oven folds up pretty well, but the triangular wings have a tendency to pop up. 

Found that if I folded it up and placed these wings downward, it could be neatly formed into a 10"x10" package.

 10"x10" folded down

With some scrap cardboard to form an envelope of sorts, I've left with a 11x11 bundle that stays put.  I'll be slipping this into the wanigan and giving it a whirl next season. The cardboard might be a bit overkill, but it could always be used to start a roaring fire and made again when needed.

In its cardboard case

Monday, November 16, 2015

Cree Cultural Institute - Kawapit Canoe & Paddles

The Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute has a wonderful online exhibit featuring the many Cree artifacts on loan from various museums. Included in their collections in the well known canvas canoe made by John Kawapit. Some readers may recall that this canoe was the focus of Garth Taylor's book Canoe construction in a Cree cultural tradition (1980). It documents a commission build for the Canadian Museum of Civilization of a traditional Eastern Cree canoe made using canvas as a substitute for birch bark (see my original post about it here).

The new exhibit page for this canoe features a wonderful new photo showcasing the lines as well as 2 paddles commissioned with the build. Further details about the build as well as additional photos and a video commentary are available as well.

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

It turns out that one can also take a virtual tour of their museum too. The canoe is part of their "Community's Way of Life" gallery. Here is a screenshot...

Aanischaaukamikw Cree Cultural Institute

The paddles feature some simple thin red line markings (to match the canoe) similar to  paddle design A in Taylor's illustration...

Decorated Cree Paddles

For my own spruce Cree replica made back in 2011, I came up with a slightly different pattern than Paddle (D) on the far right, a museum model piece from Fort Chimo now at the McCord Museum in Montreal.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Crazy Portaging Pics

Check out these vintage pics of some crazy portaging pics. First off there's this guy who hasn't yet learned about a centre thwart or paddle lashing method...

Portaging a canoe, Northern Ontario.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior /  Library and Archives Canada / PA-048127

Here's another gentleman complete with suit and tie muscling his way through through deadfall while a companion looks on...
Portaging a canoe, District of Patricia, Ont.
Credit: Canada. Dept. of Interior / Library and Archives Canada / PA-043440

My favourite of the set is this one. A hardy tripper properly shouldering a canoe while giving a lift to his paddling buddy... 

Quebec - Lake Edward district - W.J.S. in canoe. 
Credit: Canadian National Railways/ Library and Archives Canada Link

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