Monday, October 30, 2017

Circa 1850 Eastern Woodland Paddle Replica

I've started a batch of replicas based on some historic paddles in various museums and artworks. One intriguing paddle is  Artifact Number III-X-320  in the collection of the Canadian Museum of History (formerly the Candian Museum of Civilization). Described loosely as affiliated with the "Eastern Woodlands" culture, it features a two-toned painted decoration on the blade.  This dual tone motif has caught my attention recently and appears in some historic artworks by James Peachey.

Artifact Number: III-X-320
Inscription: incised on one side of blade "A. HATT"
Begin Date 1845/01/01
End Date 1855/12/31
Measurements Length 125.0 cm, Width 9.0 cm, Depth 2.7 cm

Cultural Affiliation: Eastern Woodlands

Closeup of Dual tone paddle
 "A View of the Ruins of the Fort at Cataraqui taken in June 1783 by James Peachey" 
 Credits:  Library and Archives Canada C-2031
Full post here

Normally, I like to adjust the paddle dimensions if the paddle is not my preferred functional length of 58", but this time, a decision was made to replicate the design in its original size. This one would be a relatively short 49" long.

My version was made out of basswood, a light-coloured and easy carving wood.  Unfortunately, after taking multiple photos of this paddle (and others) during the carving stages earlier this summer, the memory card was damaged and is now unreadable. All those images can't seemed to be recovered. Dah!

At any rate, after the paddle had been carved, some MinWax Gel Stain  was used to darken the paddle shaft and give it an aged look, something that might be done on future paddles as well. For the paint, I ended up using Tremclad oil-based rust paint which offers nice opaque coverage on the wood as well as being waterproof. The whole thing was finished with multiple coats of protective oil.

Ca 1850 "Eastern Woodlands" replica

The small bulb of a grip is just barely wider than the shaft and is most comfortable when holding the paddle laterally rather than a typical grip across the top. The weather has turned chilly and windy so testing this one out will likely need to wait until spring.

Side by Side comparison

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