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...
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
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.
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.
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.
I'm an avid canoeist and general "outdoorsy type" guy with a bit of an artistic side. Recently started this hobby of making custom canoe paddles after my disappointing experience with most commercial brands. This site documents various styles of single blade canoe paddles I've made or researched as well as other canoe related info I've stumbled across on my internet wanderings. Hope you enjoy your visit.