Thursday, October 31, 2013

1934 - Reg Blomfield - Traditional Canoeing Skills Video

Many thanks to YellowCanoe over on the forums for posting a fantastic video find! It is dated to roughly 1934-1935 and features Reg. Blomfield, holder of International, Canadian and American Championships demonstrating some amazing paddling skills.

It was shot in Stoney Lake, Ontario just north of the historic canoe building centre of Peterborough. Reg. seems to be paddling a classic Peterborough / Lakefield style all wooden cedar strip canoe with its distinctive 1/2" oak ribs. These were the canoes in Ontario's cottage county and north before Chestnut cedar canvas canoes took over.

Unfortunately the audio is a little difficult but there are some great clips of traditional paddling techniques and demonstrations of his paddling and balanced virtuosity. Lots of crazy gimmicks too like launching and landing on a dock (a testament to the strength of the all wood canoes in those days) as well as some great footage of effortlessly surfing some waves.

At 4:35 he talks about the "Indian - Temagami Stroke" which features a particular short stroke with body bobbing to power the movement. I tend to favour this style in my own paddling technique instead of the modern, more rigid stroke advocated by experts today.

Check out the canoe over canoe stunt at the 10:00 mark. Hilarious - maybe something to try with "indestructable" royalex boats of today.

Water levels too low leaving your dock high and dry? Check out the dock exit and entry at 10:21!

Hope you enjoy the clip and it gets you excited for next year's paddling season.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Historic Paddle Art: C Krieghoff's Indians in the Employ of the Hudson's Bay...

Here's another historic painting featuring some basic paddle decoration. It is from Cornelius Krieghoff's 1858 work - Indians in the Employ of the Hudson's Bay Company at at Portage. Leaning on the rock is a paddle featuring some etched chevron markings

 Indians in the Employ of the Hudson's Bay Company at at Portage
Cornelius Krieghoff - 1858
Art Gallery of Ontario - Toronto (Canada)  
Dates: 1858

Paddle Closeup

Monday, October 21, 2013

Vintage Canoe Poling Photo (Florida)

A beautiful image of canoe poling in Florida from the American Museum of Natural History Image Collection...

"Harrison canoe poling, Cape Sable, Florida, 1906,"
Dimock, Julian A. (Julian Anthony), 1873-1945,
American Museum of Natural History Library
AMNH Image Collection, Image # 48388

Thursday, October 10, 2013

DMB Birchbark video

Came across a neat little video featuring some great shots of David Moses Bridges putting together a beautiful bark canoe. I'm getting the itch to build a better bark canoe myself, but right now that's just fantasy talking. In the meantime, hope you enjoy the clip as much as I did...

Monday, October 7, 2013

CCM Historical Canoe Print

A recent posting on the Canadian Canoe Museum blog asked readers to help identify a historical print featuring a trade canoe with a serpentine decoration and some accompanying paddles...

My French is quite rusty but the paddle on the left seems to have some measurements. I believe the  "5 pi 2 po" corresponds to 5 pieds 2 pouce which roughly refer to feet and inches (this page on french measurement terms mentions the pieds is equivalent to 1.066 ft and the pouce equal to 1.066 inches)

The other paddle oddly features a caption that reads "pagaye de la Martinique" and looks quite exotic...nothing like the paddles used in the birchbark canoe trade. Maybe just a bit of artistic license to add some flair to artwork?

The shape reminded me of the ceremonial Dayak Borneo paddles posted on back in 2009 that also have and exotic blade design...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chris Fisher's Passamaquoddy Paddle

Blog reader Chris Fisher sent in pics of his paddle creation...his very first! His 65", yellow birch  paddle is based on the diamond-shaped c1849 Passamaquoddy design described in Bark Canoes & Skin Boats of North America (Fig 72: Adney & Chappelle).

Fig 72 - Adney Paddles

Chris added his own interpretation by changing up the grip and adding a carved drip ring at the throat. The whole thing was then decorated and stained with oil and red ochre...nice!

 Chris' beautiful paddle creation

Carved drip ring and feathered blade edges

It also turns out that Chris is planning to build a birch bark canoe and like myself, is starting out with a 3 foot model. Good luck on the build and here's  hoping he'll send more pics of his creations for all of us to enjoy.

Newer Posts Older Posts Home Page