Friday, February 19, 2010

Maple Northwoods with Rippled Grip -Part 1

Another blank that had been lying around for a while is a Northwoods style paddle made from soft maple stock. While I've never been a fan of beavertail-shaped blades for solo paddling, I wanted to try and make one from the famous plans by Garrett and Alexandra Conover. An online reprint of the Rick Water's article outlining the paddle's construction is found here and includes a reduced picture of their plans.

I was able to find a copy of Wooden Boat Magazine (Issue #67, 1985) at the Toronto Reference Library with an enlarged image image of the plans and used this for the general dimensions of the blade. In this case, as the paddle was meant for me as a solo blade, I ended up replicating the lower design, a smaller "Bow Paddle" with shorter length and smaller blade area.

Blank drawn out with extra chalkline piece

To squeeze every last usage from the maple stock, the paddle was drawn offset from the centre of the board and a chalkline run down the other side where a 1 1/4" piece could be salvaged for making a laminated shaft down the road (it has since been glued up to make another paddle blank).

As I had already tried the basic northwoods grip on a Walnut Passamaquoddy paddle back in '08 and wanted something different. In the end, I settled on the Scalloped Grip outline in Graham Warren's book and similar to the one outline in his recent YouTube video.

Instead of simply scooping out a flattened palm area, however, I envisioned horizontal "speedbumps" across the face of the grip delineating each gripping station. This was crudely sketched down the side of the grip and then I started shaping by feel using various rasps. These shots were taken late last fall (late October) after the area had cleared out of tourists.

Rough idea; Rough carving

Carving out by the lake late last fall

Still some more carving of the blade and grip area needed but all in all, this one is shaping up to be an interesting (to me anyway) grip design. Maple is of course, quite a heavy, dense wood so the blade will be thinned considerably to reduce the weight. This nearly completed paddle is yet another one back in the city waiting for some more free time to finalize.

March 16, 2010 Update: Part 2 has been posted HERE

1 comment:

Bryan Sarauer said...

Excellent use of a picnic table!

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