Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Anonymous Algonquin Couple Paddle Replica

Another unique paddle design replicated for the upcoming WCHA assembly  is from an illustration by an anonymous artist. Dated to between 1750-1780, the painting in the collection of the City of Montreal archive illustrates an Algonquin couple in period clothing.  The male figure holds a paddle over his shoulder.

Algonquine, Algonquin . - [ca 1750]-[ca 1780]
Ville de Montréal. Section des archives
CA M001 BM007-2-D27-P004

The paddle has a fairly unique shape, a short blade design with recurved shoulders, a lengthy shaft and a distinct bobble shape grip. It seems very reminiscent of modern day SUP paddles hitting the market.

In any event, I had an idea to re-use an incomplete blank that was begun years ago and never finished. At the time, I used a narrow maple board and laminated some walnut edges to make a whitewater paddle with an experimental Battenkill Grip.

Laminating walnut edging

Original whitewater blank

In the end, I never really did much whitewater paddling and the finishing the blnk no longer became a priority. The short blade design seemed suitable to re-purpose into this display paddle but the overall shaft length was too short. So a simple shaft splice was done with some maple stock and the shaft extended. Here is a photo after the splice and with the blade roughly re-cut.

Ended up cutting the shaft down a bit more and used the bits to laminate a cube at the grip. The was eventually worked down to form a bobble grip similar to the original artwork. I had some blue and red Tremclad Rust paint on hand for the blade decoration, but ended up using a torch to burn the shaft and grip to a charred finish.  Here is the final result...

Circa 1750-1780 Algonquin Paddle Replica

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