Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Funny Poling Pics - Outdoor Sports & Games eBook

Came across an interesting free online book at entitled Outdoor Sports and Games (1911), by Claude H. Miller. Chapter 16 is entitled HOW TO SWIM AND TO CANOE and has a series of comical pics about how to pole a canoe...hey whatever works right?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Adney - Their First Moose Hunt Illustration

Another great bark canoe and paddle illustration by Tappan Adney, this one found in St. Nicholas Vol XXIII - March 1896 - NO. 5 in an article entitled, "Their First Moose Hunt"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Celebrity Canoe Paddles: Silent Film Star Pearl White

Found another vintage paddling photo - this one a postcard of silent film actress, Pearl White.

The canoe is a gorgeous looking closed-gunnel model with considerable tumblehome and slender, classic heart shaped decks. Her paddle has some decorative banding on the blade...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Historic Paddle Art - J Peachey Canoe

Here's an image by James Peachey (active 1773-1797) documenting a stylized canoe with inhabitats. Paddles look to be painted red  fitting the theme of earlier images...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Paddle Tumplines & Bark Canoes

Here's a vintage photo dated to 1906 showing some bark canoes at a trading camp close to Lake Temiskaming in central Ontario. Interesting construction details show that the gunnels are secured with nails instead of time consuming root lashings and the paddles are rigged with tumplines on the centre thwart for portaging.

Un campement sur les bords du lac Sharp près du lac Témiscamingue ligne du C. P. R.
L'album universel, Vol. 23, no. 1157, pp. 257 (30 juin 1906)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Celebrity Paddles: Vera Ellen (1945)

One of my new favourite vintage canoeing pics. This one of Hollywood actress Vera Ellen (1945) putting her weight behind a paddle stroke...

Actress Vera Ellen paddling a boat at Lake Arrowhead.Location: US
Date taken: May 1945
Photographer: Martha Holmes

Friday, March 8, 2013

"New" Canoe Tripping Forums -

Like many folks interested in canoeing, I'm an occasional poster on a variety of forums. One of my favourites before the site was hacked and destroyed by malicious folks last summer was It was a real treasure trove of quality info from like-minded canoe trippers. Unfortunately, after speaking with the site owner at the recent Outdoor Adventure Show here in Toronto, it looks like the site will be gone for good.

However, another lesser known forum -  - has recently come to my attention. It is going through a rebirth of sorts and is now being run by a fellow wooden canoe enthusiast, Robin, who has taken his fleet of Chestnut cedar canvas canoes on some impressive backcountry trips.

Lately there have been some really fun trip reports posted by some folks and I've posted some of my own experiences there as well. I've found the small but growing community there very welcoming. So if anyone wants to contribute and share their experiences feel free to head on over...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

New BM Museum Maliseet Paddle Image

Here are some additional black and white images of a Maliseet paddle in the collection of the British Museum (see earlier descriptive post here). The photos are a bit grainy but the first shot at least shows the full length of the paddle to give an idea of its proportions. A closeup of the blade shows some interesting etchings which deviate from typical abstract scroll patterns...

Maliseet Paddle - AM1980 35.2
Inscribed paddle made of wood (maple)
Full Citation Link
© Trustees of the British Museum
(as per their online usage policy for educational purposes)

The full description:
"Canoe paddle, hand-carved, with incised designs on blade and shaft. Blade decorated with an image of a man with a leister in a canoe, night-fishing, with his woman in a peaked cap to paddle for him, and a birchbark torch to see by. Both peaked cap and canoe are in Maliseet style. A second design shows a woman with braided hair, a hip-length jacket with ribbon applique borders, leggings with elaborated selvedge edges, moccasins; she is standing, with a fish in her right hand and a knife in her left. The paddle handle has a border of lines and cross-hatch, surrounding a Scotch thistle above a salmon leister's head."

Monday, March 4, 2013

In The Maine Woods (1917) Northwoods Photos

Another great vintage pic from In the Maine Woods (1917 Edition) featuring some folks showing off their catch. A nice Guide paddle shown in profile on the left...

In the same edition, on page 60 is a pic of Guide Tom Grinier. You can just make out his hand resting on the flat grip in the classic Northwoods stroke position.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Paddle Cooking Tripods/Bipods

Previously, I've written about the historical use of paddles lashed together to make cooking tripods as documented in the sketches and artwork by Paul Kane. Here is an example...

Indian Encampment at Georgian Bay
Library and Archives Canada, Acc. No. 1995-215-1
ca. 1850

Recently came across a modern image from the Keswick Canoe Company page which features a cooking rig with four lashed paddles set up on the rocky shoreline...

Not really an option for me as a solo paddler but might be useful to some groups out there.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Different Paddle Portage Pics...

Came across an interesting illustration of the portaging method in The Way of the Woods, by Edward Breck (1908). It showcases the method of lashing paddles to the center thwart to shoulder the canoe. What caught my eye was how the paddle shafts are pointed to the stern and the canoeist is gripping the thwart in front. This seems reversed to most methods I've seen where the shafts face forward and has been labeled "Micmac Style" by the author.

Reverse Paddle Carry
The Way of the Woods  p.94

This method is also demonstrated in a YouTube video of Tim Smith of Jack Mountain Bushcraft showcasing this method on a portage on his video,  Canoe Expedition Course (7 of 15) (go to the 1:30 mark to see). Seems to work well if you have a quarter thwart positioned in the perfect spot.

Contrast that to the more common carry method illustrated from Homer Halsted's later publication, How to Live in the Woods (1948). An image from page 124 shows the details for lashing and the paddle facing forward so the canoeist can hold the shafts for support...

How to Live in the Woods  p124

Still another method is to lash the paddles (shafts forward) but tied together by a single lashing so that the paddles are no longer parallel. I first came across this method described as the "Montagnais" method described in Paul Provencher's book, I Live In The Woods (more about that book in this post here)

Montagnais Tying Method

The last version of this is to reverse the paddle position and cross the blades on the forward thwart while lashing the grips to the center. Came across this in the online book, Building the Chippewa Canoe by Robert E.  Ritzenthaler.

"Chippewa Portage Method"

The last method is the method I tend to favour with my smaller 14' cedar canvas as it feels less claustrophobic to me. The combination of the tump and contoured yoke make for an easy carry. The blade forward position makes the bow a bit heavy, but this is offset with the fact that I lash my kneeling pad and some other stuff to the seat in the rear and that creates some balance...

My Paddles lashed in for portage  

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