Sunday, February 3, 2008

Arctic Whitewater Paddle

Even though I haven't really paddle any significant white water (easy Class II at most), I wanted to try the White Water paddle design in Graham Warren's book. The write-up mentioned that it should be made from a stronger hardwood and left a bit thicker in order to prevent a breakage when in use. I decided that this would be a great time to try out some Soft Maple (actually quite hard) for this attempt. I ended up with a great 5/4 piece (10 ft long x 8.5 inches wide) that I had Century Mill plane down to 1 1/8th and cut into two 60inch long boards. One of these would be the whitewater and the other is still in locker room waiting for a paddle selection.

Unfortunately, I ended up not taking any photos of the process, including the technique for carving out the angled T-grip...something I regret. But I do have pics of the final work. The artwork was inspired by my 2007 Summer trip to the High Arctic (800+ km north of the Arctic Circle). A soft eco-adventure stay at Arctic Watch Lodge included some amazing vistas, 30 polar bear sightings, a local muskox herd, and amazing birdwatching. While on a daytrip rafting down the Cunningham River back to camp, our 13yr old inuit guide spotted a lone bull muskox. We pulled ashore and stared at it for quite a while before it snorted and slowly hunkered back over the tundra. These become my inspirations for the artwork

With the completed paddle back in August

The Muskox side of the blade

The other side

The Polar Bear side of the blade

Overall, I found the maple a bit of challenge to work with, but I later found out it was because I had dulled the spokeshave blade after making 4 hardwood paddles with a sharpening stone and honing guide were necessary purchases at this point to keep this hobby going. Maple is also a very dense wood, resulting in a heavier than normal paddle I would want for a whitewater run. I'm already considering making another in the future from lighter woods and laminating hardwood edging.

1 comment:

jyothisethu said...

your blog, like your paddles are good

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