Friday, March 15, 2019

Penobscot style paddles and snowshoe frame canoe seat.

A recent listing on featured two vintage paddles and a snowshoe style folding canoe seat.

The shorter paddles has a classic Penobscot style stepped grip The longer paddle has some visible signs of warping in the shaft but otherwise seems sounds.

Closeup of the short painted paddle shows the blade has split, a very common feature with old maple paddles, but has undergone some sort of repair with large metal fastenings (bent nails?) holding the pieces together.

Unfortunately no dimensional info is given.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Historic Paddle Photo: Sportman's Exhibition, New York, 1897

An earlier post mentioned the gallery page of artworks by Edwin Tappan Adney currently being  featured on through an association with the Mariner's Museum. One of the images is  Adneys sketch of a decorated Penobscot paddle etched with a family of moose on the blade and floral designs at the throat and grip face. His scribbled notes mention that the paddle was found at the Sportman's Exhibition, Maine Exhibit, New York in 1897 and was possibly made by a St. John Indian living at Old Town, ME.

It turns out an image of this very Maine Exhibit  appears on the Maine Memory Network site. Artifact 17572 features a zoomable image of the outdoor display. Tucked to the right of the image amidst all the mounted deer & moose heads, trophy fish and a stuffed owl is a full size canoe paddle.

Title: New York Sportsman's Show booth, 1897
Creation Date: 1897
Subject Date: 1897
Town: New York
State: NY
Media: Photographic print
Object Type: Image

The photo resolution is insufficient to visualize any markings so Adney's sketch provides much needed details. The whereabouts of this paddle today is not known, but Adney did in fact make a 1/5 scale model sometime between 1935-1945 which now resides in the storage collection at the Mariners Museum ( Accession Number 2000.0038.000022A )

Saturday, February 23, 2019

19th C Passamaquoddy Paddle with unique carving features

Here's another remarkable example of an Eastern Woodlands paddle with some interesting features. A current inventory item posted on Adam Ethnographic Art, it is listed as a  19th century Passamaquoddy. It measures 195 cm (76 inches), consistent with other long paddles of the Woodland Tradition, typically used standing in ocean going canoes. Below is an image and description from the source site posted with permission from the owner. 

Passamaquoddy Paddle
An interesting paddle from the Passamaquoddy people of Maine and dating to the early 19th century. This paddle has been carved later in its life by a European, I am sure while still in the U.S. It has a plate attached to the grip with the name 'JOHN H TAYLOR ESQ' embossed upon it. This also would have been added later, either the name of the new owner or more likely the name of an earlier owner, the information having being passed down with the paddle. 195 cm. 

The carving decoration is quite unique, leafy designs with a few double curve motifs is a pseudo-native style believed to be added later. Etched within the design are two apparent faces drawn with distinct features, each inverted from the other.

Blade  closeup

One of the "faces" carved into the blade

The grip features a heavily indented carving which flows down the sides, not a very common feature with many paddle handles. Also shown below is a close up of the metallic name plate embossed with capital letters belonging to a former owner.

Grip closeup showing metallic name plate attached.

Price on request by contacting Adam Prout.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Birchbark canoe raffle UPDATE

Updating  a post back from in August of 2018...

Paddling friend and Artist, Mike Ormsby  has arranged for a fantastic fundraising raffle of remarkable birchbark canoe. The canoe is in great shape considering it is nearly 50 years old. It is constructed with a single piece of bark (extremely rare) and needs some superficial repair work to new lashings, a thwart and some re-pitching.

Jocko Carle & Basil Smith Raffle Canoe
Addition photos: Facebook Album

Only 100 tickets were being sold at the time, with the draw being held once all the tickets were sold. In order to get this project moving, Mike has now lowered the criteria to just 50 total tickets for the draw. With 42 already sold, only 8 more are needed to proceed. 1 in 50 chance to win a canoe like this are fantastic odds!

Tickets are $100 (Canadian Dollars) each. Payment can be made by e-transfer to or through PayPal.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Canoe Museum Volunteer: Rick Schuett Paddle

For an innovative canoe paddle design, check out the Dec 2018 blog post entitled, "A fitting paddle for Rachel" from the Canadian Canoe Museum. The piece outlines the story of Rachel Q, an accomplished young woman who uses a prosthetic on her left arm.

Paddle maker and museum volunteer, Rick Schuett, engineered a special paddle for Rachel which allows her to make make all the necessary correction strokes with her right while the prosthetic hooks securely on the grip.

I happened to meet Rick during the 2018 WCHA assembly in Peterborough where he demonstrated the design to onlookers. The rotating mechanism in the shaft was made from a modified gas supply line coupling.

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