Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Another Sassafras Penobscot Replica - Part 1

ManX's recent paddle submission based on the c.1900 Antique Penobscot Paddle inspired me to finally get around and work on a similar paddle paddle blank that had been lying around.

Back when I did my own replica based on this elegant looking paddle design, the original lumber stock had been a thick piece of 8/4 Sassafras stock. At the time, I didn't think ahead and rip the original lumber down to 5/4 but rather cut the pattern out on the bandsaw directly. This of course left a comically thick paddle blank that would be extremely laborious to shave down with hand tools. It was then that I decided to rip the paddle blank roughly in half and basically end up with two twin blanks. In the whole process though the blanks ended up poorly cut, but salvageable. The better of the two blanks ended up being the replica while its twin languished around for a few a years.

Original Paddle; My Replica

Replica paddle out for a water test - See post here

As usual with sassafras, the wood is easy to carve with both a spokeshave and crooked knife. I ended up using both tools to thin the blade and shape the grip while trying to correct some of the errors from the initial sawing out of the blank.

Working on the shaving horse

As you might've noticed, this blank had one major flaw and that was a knothole that was on the upper part of the blade. Fortunately, it only projects onto one face. Here's a closeup shot of the area while the paddle was still in its rough carving phase.

Knothole on upper blade

Time will only tell if this will lead to a catastrophic break, but the grain pattern does reverse and get more challenging to carve with the spokeshave and crooked knife around this area. However, I remember a historic paddle photo of some Maliseet guides posing with their paddles. The man on the right has a paddle that clearly has a knothole in the upper section as well so this "defect" may not be in too critical a location.

Original Blog Post HERE 

I also wanted the grip area to be a bit different. Obviously there was a limitation of what could be done since it was cut to resemble the original antique Penobscot. But unlike the carved replica that featured a curvy ornamental top with sharp edges and a pronounced curvature of the grip along the sides, I was able to create a semi-rounded top and carved the sides with far less sweeping lines. Also, a subtle centre ridge has been carved down the middle, giving the flattened lower grip a diamond-like cross section. It's not finished yet, but here is the progress on the grip so far and an overall shot below...

Still working on the grip be continued

No comments:

Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts Home Page