Thursday, October 30, 2008

You Tube Paddle Making

A fellow paddling enthusiast and blogger, Bryan, informed me a of YouTube posting documenting the manufacturing process of canoe paddles by the Grey Owl Paddle company. Apparently it was part of a TV show called How It's Made. I've been living for 10 years without cable TV so tend to miss out on these things.

The video is actually divided into 2 separate posts. Part 1 starts at 3:45 in this video and finishes with Part 2 at the start of this clip

Part 1 & 2 of the Videos

Pretty interesting to watch the industrialized side of paddlemaking. Using all those power tools sure makes the process quick but there's still something to be said of paddles handcrafted with time, patience, and sweat. I was nevertheless surprised at the amount of basic human involvment, from the tracing of the pattern with a pencil, to cutting out the blank with a bandsaw, and sealing the paddle with varnish. The whole endeavour looked like a highly efficient, but pretty standard woodworking shop

I especially liked the documentation of cutting a slot on the blank edge and filling it with thickened epoxy to form a more rugged tip. Until now, I never really knew how the expoxy tip was so well formed on the blade.

Thanks to Bryan again for keeping me in the loop! And if any readers out there have more info on paddle related stuff, feel free to email me


Bryan Sarauer said...

I don't have cable either and would never have seen these videos if it were not for a post on the forums at so real credit should go to Tonycc.

I too was surprised at the basic human involvement in the process. For all intents and purposes, they closely follow the procedure described in Warren & Gidmark's paddle building book, including tracing the plywood template. That varnish dip is a tad different though, it would be nice to have! I wonder if they have a special formulation of varnish to help avoid drips?


Murat said...

The original post on myccr sure got a lot of replies. Seems like the videos got a lot of people intrigued about the process thanks to Tonycc.

I was also curious about the dipping process of the varnish and whether it has been thinned to allow for less dripping. The spar varnish I use is really viscous and would definitely leave droplets if I didn't first start off with a diluted version.

You see this with the cheap paddles at Canadian Tire and such...they've got globs of dried varnish all over the place...

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