Sunday, July 9, 2017

Craig Johnson's Quetico Commemorated Paddle

Issue 200 of  Wooden Canoe features a lovely article by paddle maker Craig Johnson  discussing his many trips to Quetico Provincial Park. After seeing JClearwater's post on the WCHA forums regarding a paddle decorated with a mystery map, Craig decided to commemorate his most recent trip with similar route decoration on a repaired spruce paddle.

It turns out that after laying the paddle over the tripping map, the blade covered nearly their entire route without having to change the scale. After burning the outlines of the lakes and rivers, he proceeded to paint the lakes a dark blue which unfortunately obscured the lines he had just burned.

Outlines burned onto blade


Dark Blue Paint


The waterways were repainted with a light blue to match the color on the original map and with the dark blue layer slightly showing through, it added a wonderful sense of depth to the bodies of water.


Repainted with light blue map color

The shaft was similarly decorated with the park name and year for a lovely effect...



Congrats to Craig for making such a special piece. Perhaps his work will inspire more people to document their trips with paddle maps!



P.S. Many thanks to Craig for mentioning my blog site in the article as well.



Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Wooden Canoe Assembly

The Annual Assembly of the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association is coming up on July 11-16 at Paul Smith's College, New York. Rather than select a particular historic canoe manufacturer, this year's theme is "Paddles and Accessories".

Unfortunately, circumstances prevent me traveling to the U.S. to attend but I'll be watching out for pictures and videos of the displays with much interest. More details about the many programs and events can be found on the Assembly page here which includes a great video of the 2014 event captured with footage by an aerial drone.




Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Paddles Across Canada site

Recently received a link to a new organization - Paddles Across Canada -  a national national network of paddle making workshop celebrating the role of paddling in Canada’s past and present.

Image Source: Paddles Across Canada

With their growing number of partners (including the Canadian Canoe Museum and Lee Valley Tools), they have organized carving workshops through out the country.

I've been routinely asked about locations of paddle making workshops and Paddles Across Canada has the most current and detailed list of programs happening across this wonderful country. To see the full list, click here...




Thursday, June 29, 2017

North West Coast Paddle Workshop

Many thanks to blog reader, Joe, for sending in a link to an upcoming paddle making workshop where participants can carve a full-sized,  North West Coast style paddle over a 5 day session. This one is being run at the  Port Townsend School of Woodworking.


NW Canoe Paddles
August 28 - September 1, 2017
Carve a full sized canoe paddle in the Makah-Nuuchahnulth and Tlingit styles.
Register by July 13, 2017










Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Removable Plank Seat Experiment

Back in 2012, I made a leather sling style seat for the 15' cedar canvas canoe. This was because I felt the trim was way off when the symmetrical Langford Tripper was paddled solo in the usual manner (by turning around and using the bow seat).


Leather Sling Seat

It worked  perfectly fine as a kneeling seat but turned out to be quite cumbersome when attempting to pole. Basically the presence of the sling required extra delicate foot work to avoid tripping when getting into a traditional poling position. Unbuckling the leather straps to remove the seat and then trying to re-attach them while in the boat proved too challenging. So another solution was in order.

The inspiration for the solution came from a Finnish design company that makes wooden children's tree swings. A carved seat with strategically placed slots for the rope to weave through


Plank seats are nothing new in canoeing history  - they were often used on large trade canoes when the crew wasn't sitting on the cargo directly. Anyway, before attempting to make anything too labour intensive, I set out to make a basic plank seat with some scraps. In this case, discarded twin bed slats left behind by a neighbour on garbage day. These 1x4 pine slats were in great condition and I've since used them in plenty of non-canoe related projects around the house.

Discarded IKEA bed slats

Anyway, some holes were drilled and notches easily cut out in the plank. Then some remnant paracord was tied together in a double fisherman's knot and looped through the inwales. There's enough slack in the cordage to wrap around a third time in order to elevate the overall height, but this is how the plank seat is setup for now.



The seat does wiggle a bit from side to side and front to back because it wasn't perfectly shaped to fit the contours of the hull at this point in the experiment. It might get shaped better at a later date. What does work nicely  though is that it can be unhooked easily on one side and then positioned on the centre thwart out of the way for clearing some leg room.


Hoping to take the canoe out poling later in the season to see if the idea works. Right now, most of Southern Ontario is experiencing record high water levels due to heavy rainfall.






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