Sunday, May 9, 2010

Whitewater with Battenkill Grip: Part 1

Many thanks to Graham Warren for directing me to the April 1997 issue of Wooden Canoe Journal where an article by Barry Beals describes an interesting asymmetrical grip. Co-developed by Beals and Jim Walker of Battenkill Canoe Ltd, the unique grip is a fusion of two popular styles, the standard pear and T-grip. In theory, the flattened portion of the half pear cradles the palm more comfortably and the half-T portion allows the thumb to curl around into a more natural position while still providing a positive hold on the paddle. Below is a blurry shot (apologies) of this grip design sketched out in pencil on a piece of maple stock.

Battenkill Grip

Despite the fact that I don't do much extreme white water paddling, I've been wanting to make a functional whitewater paddle for when I encounter some basic rapids on river runs. I envisioned this grip really shining in whitewater conditions and so decided to make another whitewater paddle using Graham Warren's blade design.

I had another piece of birdseye maple stock from which the Sparrow Solo had been made carved back in '08 and this would make the bulk of paddle. Since the edges had been planed square at the mill, some waste pieces of black walnut were easily laminated for the edges.

Laminating walnut edging

A slip of the sawing at the throat of the paddle left a major flaw in symmetry but I'm hoping to correct this by reshaping this area when it has been thinned out more. Below is a shot of the blank so far...

Whitewater paddle awaiting work

If anyone has made a Battenkill grip or come across paddles with this grip design, feel free to post a comment or send me some pics for posting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am making some whitewater guide sticks using carbon fiber for blades and wooden shafts. I have been brain storming a handle design, this looks great, I am going to give it a try.

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