Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Recycled Tlingit Style Paddle - Part 1

As bit of a distraction from the bark canoe project, I decided to revisit the growing wood sraps pile in the locker room and see what could be salvaged into another paddle attempt. Early on in my paddle making hobby, I learned that one-piece paddles produced a lot of "waste cutoff" that could be re-used to make laminated paddles. Such was the case with the Ottertail Jay, Adirondack Guide, and this latest attempt. Back when cutting out the blank which eventually become a one-piece Maple Sparrow, I actively attempted to saw out the off-cuts with as little error as possible. I was left with 2 very usable pieces which are featured in the shot below when many of my paddles were still in the raw, blank stage.

Laminated Kayak, Solo Sparrow, Cut offs, Ottertail Jay

When the the maple cutoffs were aligned with each other, it reminded me of some of the West Coast native paddles from BC, but together the shaft area would be too narrow...a mistake I did not want to repeat as with my Nootka Raven. So I decided to laminate this with a narrow 1" square piece of walnut left over from the strips preparing the Greenland style kayak paddle. The first order of business was to square the edges of the cutoffs with my newly purchased power plane - an easy couple of runs set at 1/64" and the edges were smoothed evenly.

Planing the edges

The centre strip was cut to the length of the cutoffs (58") and aligned on a rigged laminating beam (wax paper on another planed board). By now, the glue-up and clamping are pretty old hat for me.

Aligning the strips & clamping the pieces

At this stage, dressing the blade was simple enough, but the grip area was now too wide for a proper circular shaft. On my last visit to the Canadian Canoe Museum back in February, I came across a new display of West Coast paddles (poor lighting for proper photo) referencing a book entitled Cedar : tree of life to the Northwest Coast Indians by Hilary Stewart. After my return to the city, I checked out the title at the Toronto Reference Library and made a photocopy of pg 58, which illustrates seven different styles of West Coast native paddles (not posted for copyright reasons). The style that most resembled the curves of my frankenstein paddle was the Tlinglit - although I wanted to add a cutout for the shaft reminiscient of the Kwakiutl illustration as well. So I measured out a 10" long shaft area and proceeded to cut it out with the hand saw. The resulting blank (with a has a very long blade (33") that will need to be shortened when I work with it along with an extended sloping upper shaft forming a triangular grip area.

Recycled Tlingit Style Blank

With sunshine and warm weather already in Toronto, I'm looking forward to carving this one out on the balcony soon.

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