Monday, March 29, 2010

Western Cree Paddle by Mike Elliot

One of the blogs I follow keenly is that of Mike Elliot of Kettle River Canoes. Mike's artistry and skill with cedar canvas canoe restoration is just wonderful. His posts are filled with nuggets of wisdom and fantastic photos of restoration projects. A recent post about spring cleaning for the canoe included a picture of a custom made paddle in the Western Cree style with a bobble grip.

Adney has an illustration of the Western Cree paddles and noted that this tribe was the only one he was aware that had separate paddle designs for men and women. Graham Warren also has a reduced image of this paddle shape in his books as well.

Adney's Plans; Mike's Alder version

Mike generously emailed some extra details about the paddle. It is made from an 8/4 board of Alder (Alnus rubra) which was then worked down to shape the 2" bobble grip. That's a lot of extra carving! This prevented the need to laminate extra wood on the grip, as was the case with my bobble grip experiment. Never made a paddle out of Red Alder before but I just checked out the site and it is available - looks to be a gorgeous grain pattern as well. Many thanks for the paddle wood suggestion!

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