by Graham Warren
March 2014. Raven Rock Books.
200 pages. A5. Spiral bound.
ISBN 0 9530352 2 0
Using digitized methods, basic outline sketches of the paddles have been rendered along with their precise measurements for anyone wishing to replicate the designs. Given the high cost of print media these days, the book is all black & white, but it isn't meant to be a coffee-table conversation piece, anyway. It was created by a paddle maker for other paddler makers!
Graham has meticulously documented a cross-section of functional paddles from around the globe. In fact, half the book is devoted to paddles outside my obviously Canadian-biased concept of "canoe country". There are fascinating examples from the Caribbean, South America and the Pacific Islands. For the history buff, he has included ancient paddles unearthed in archaeological digs in China, Denmark, The Netherlands, and the U.K. And, for owners of heirloom cedar canvas canoes, he has included offsets for famous brands like Chestnut, Peterborough and Rushton replicated from historic catalogs.
A few of the paddles in the book have been featured here on the site, including the c1878 Maliseet at the York Sunbury Museum, the Iroquois paddles at the Royal Ontario Museum, the c. 1860-1875 voyageur paddle authenticated by Canadian Antique Roadshow, and the "Northeastern Woodland" paddles at the British Museum.
Graham humbly mentions that he is no professional archaeologist or ethnologist but he does a marvelous job of providing the relevant background on each of the designs along with additional reading sources.
Most interesting and also very unique is the "Consensus Paddle". Offset data from 50 paddles in the book were entered into CorelDraw and a composite sketch created. I'll keep the surprise open for readers, but the blade design that resulted from this global pool of paddles is something that looked very appealing for a future carving project.
Between this new book and his previously publications - Making Paddles in Wood (see this post here) and Canoe Paddles: A complete guide to making your own, there are now more than enough plans to keep the enthusiastic paddle maker content for years to come.
Hat's off to Graham for doing a wonderful job in creating this outstanding paddle making resource.