Sunday, April 11, 2010

Poplar Diamond Passamaquoddy - Part 2

Back during a strange warm spell in January, I enthusiastically rushed out to the balcony to start another padde, a circa 1849 Diamond Bladed Passamaquoddy from Fig. 72 of Adney's book (middle diagram below).

Adney's sketch - Diamond Bladed Passamaquoddy in middle

The blank had been cut from Yellow Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), a very easy wood for carving and one of the lightest "hardwoods" out there. While the bulk of the paddle had been shaped using the usual block plane and spokeshave, I wanted to improve on my crooked knife techniques. I found that the kiln-dried yellow poplar was still soft enough to be carved easily with crooked knives, so the grip and shaft were further shaped with these tools.

Adney's plan for the grip is tiny and as a result I had approximated the shape when cutting out the blank and purposely left the grip large and bulky with the idea that it could be customized later. The angled edges of the grip were carved out using my mini-crooked knife while the large-bladed Olivewood handle crooked knife worked well on the long shaft region. After fixing the blade, it has become a fantastic tool. Delicate shavings were twirling off around me.

Carving the grip with the Mini Crooked Knife

Shaft carving with the large bladed knife

Adney's plan shows the grip tapering out at the top until it becomes quite thin...too thin for my liking. I find the palm and forearm muscles get quite tired if you have to squeeze too tightly in order to grasp the paddle, so I left this one thicker than the plan suggests. After working on the angular edges, this is what I was left with.

Grip shaped

The whole thing still needs to be sanded, but the grip area has come along nicely. It is very reminiscient of the flattened grips featured on the Iroquois paddles at the Royal Ontario Museum.

May 30/10 Update: Part 3 has been posted

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