Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Great Lakes Maple Paddle" Offsets

Just realized that the  "Great Lakes Maple Paddle" featured in this earlier post is also discussed in  Graham Warren's book 100 Canoe Paddle Designs.

Great Lakes Maple Paddle 
length = 66.5 inches
Source Link: Cowan Auctions

by Graham Warren
March 2014. Raven Rock Books.
200 pages. A5. Spiral bound.
ISBN 0 9530352 2 0

Pages 22-23 featured two diagrams complete with offset data for the full paddle as well as closeups of the grip and additional detail for the blade tip. Very useful for anyone interested in carving this unique design.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Royal Collection Trust: Mi'kmaq Canoe Model with Paddles

Came across a Mi'kmaq sourvenir bark canoe that came with two dolls, two pair of paddles, a fishing spear and miniature basket. Now in the Royal Collection of Trust of Queen Elizabeth II, the set was presented  then Prince Albert Edward (the future King Edward VII) during his visit to Canada in 1860.

Mi'kmaq Model canoe and dolls 1860
RCIN 84332
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016
Source Link

Another photo showcases the paddles, which look like two larger stern paddles and two smaller spear-like paddles with pole grips used by the bow paddler.

Mi'kmaq model paddles 1860
RCIN 84332
Royal Collection Trust
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Find it pretty interesting that while the canoe is obviously not a true replica, being decorated with dyed porcupine quills and lacking an accurate number of ribs, the paddles do match some existing artworks from the era.

Paddle Detail from Wigwams at Pointe de Levy, Lower Canada
ca. 1836
Artist: Whitmore, George St. Vincent, 1798-1851.
Credit: W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana

Friday, September 23, 2016

Historic Paddle Photo: Dan Sarazin Paddles

in 1970, Denis Alford recorded the construction of a birch bark canoe for the National Museums of Canada. The builder was Dan Sarazin of Golden Lake (now known as Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation). Alford's detailed records of the build appear in David Gidmark's book Building a Birchbark Canoe - The Algonquin Wabanaki Tciman but the original photo slides are now preserved in the Archives of the Canadian Museum of History.

Part of the set features a group of 4 paddles of varying lengths from this traditional Algonquin builder...

Summary Four paddles in different woods made by Dan Sarazin 
Author Alsford, Denis B., 1929-2004.
Description 1 slide col. 35 mm.
Control no. S72-3088
CD File no. CD94-68

A few more photos reveal Sarazin's method of lashing the paddles to form a yoke for a portage demonstration.


 You can contrast that to an alternate lashing method of another builder from this photo in  Building the Chippewa Canoe by Robert E. Ritzenthaler.

"Chippewa Portage Method"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cherry Gallery: Unique Scroll Grip Paddle

Another fascinating paddle find has been listed by the folks over at Their September 2016 page of current items has a listing of a paddle with a very interesting, assymetrical scroll grip.

Scroll Grip Canoe Paddle
Circa 1900
7" w, 66" h

Here's their writeup on this unique piece which has already sold...

We have handled hundreds of quality antique canoe paddles, but never one quite like this example which turned up in a downeast Maine estate. It is a birch paddle with a rolled grip finished on the ends with concentric ring buttons. The grip eases into a gracefully chamfered flat handle. The tapered blade has flared shoulders and a pronounced center ridge which is characteristics of northeastern Native designs. The old, slightly crazed finish is superb.

Scroll grip closeup

Scroll grip closeup

Monday, September 19, 2016

Mi'kmaw Artist Edwin Benham Paddle Closeup

A quick followup to an earlier post on the paddle art of Mi'kmaw Artist, Edwin Benham.

The White Point Lodge has an additional post with a closeup of the decorative carvings. Turns out the paddles were commissioned to serve as elaborate door handle for their main entry.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Historic Paddle Photo: With Rod and Gun in New England

Here's another grainy photo from With Rod and Gun in New England and the Maritime Provinces, published in 1897. It features a profile shot of bark canoe with the guide on the far left holding up a paddle.

Samuels, Edward A. (Edward Augustus), 1897
page 295

Here's a closeup. It seems that the paddle has what looks like a knot or other blemish on the mid portion of the blade.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Woodworkers Journal "Northwoods" Paddle template

Missed this last year, but the June 2015 issue of Woodworkers Journal featured a tutorial by Dan Cary entitled, "How to Make a Canoe Paddle - Summer Fun Project".

For the time being, the article still also appears online on their website, albeit under a different title. It showcases a paddle making tutorial at the North House Folk School by instructor, Mike Schelmeske. Along with a detailed photo sequence and a quick YouTube video, the article includes paddle plans for a basic beavertail blade and standard pear shape grip. This might be useful for any readers wanting to embark on their first paddle creation.

The paddle plans are available in *.pdf format and can be downloaded by clicking here

Friday, September 9, 2016

Historic Paddle Photo: Island Home of the Penobscots Postcard

Here's an image of a circa 1905 postcard featuring a Penobscot guide confidently standing in his canoe...

paddle closeup

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Historic Paddle Illustration: Wigwams at Pointe de Levy, Lower Canada

Here are two images of mid-19th century paintings showcasing a Mi'kmaq camp. Looks like the original watercolour painting of  Wigwams at Pointe de Levy, Lower Canada dates to 1836

Wigwams at Pointe de Levy, Lower Canada
ca. 1836
Artist: Whitmore, George St. Vincent, 1798-1851.
Credit: W.H. Coverdale Collection of Canadiana
Copyright: Expired.

Another version with darker colours is attributed to a different artist and dates to a few years later...

Encampment of Micmac Indians at Point Levi
ca. 1838-1842
Artist: Chaplin, Millicent Mary, 1790-1858.
Credit: Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1956-62-50
Copyright: Expired

Here's a closeup of one of the paddles...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Sassafras Tripping Paddle

Multiple canoe related projects have been a distraction from actual paddle making over the last year. A few summers back I obtained a batch of Sassafras stock from fellow paddle maker Craig Johnson. From one of these premium boards, a blank was cut out...

A new paddle in the works

After converting my cherry guide paddle into an heirloom gift from my 2nd son, I've had plans to replicate the original design to serve as a user.  This paddle shape with its elongated blade and long tapering grip is one of my favourites for tripping. It is similar in shape to the working paddlings used by the two Maliseet Guides in  W.C. Gaynor 's "Diary of a Canoe Trip" (see this previous post).

Photo Source: "Diary of a Canoe Trip" by W.C. Gaynor
 Rod and Gun in Canada, Sept 1910 Vol. 12 No.4 p491 

Over a few days during a wicked heat wave in the city, the paddle was worked down to have a slight spine on the handle and upper portion of the blade. I leave the shaft area until the end so the shaving horse has a square surface for better clamping.

Here's another shot with the paddle shaft worked down and wetted for a bit of colour contrast and to raise the grain.

Ready for a quick sand

One deviation from the original cherry paddle is that the shaft diameter has been reduced down to a 1" circular diameter. Most readings and tutorials for hardwood paddles mention 1 -1/8" diameter as being ideal although a 1" shaft diameter is not unusual, especially for strong flexible woods. The classic plans appearing in the Rick Waters' article "The North Woods Paddle" (Wooden Boat Magazine - Issue #67, November/December 1985) mentions having a 1" thick shaft with these ash paddles.

As for decoration, the preliminary plan is to fully burn the grip using the shou-sugi-ban technique learned from Luke McNair and David Gendron (post here). The blade will be decorated based on the second side on the painted c1849 Penobscot recently on display at the Peabody Museum.

October 2016 Update: Paddle has been decorated and is now complete. Read part 2 of the post here.

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