Friday, January 29, 2021

Full-Sized Hudson Museum c1900 Penobscot Replica

 Many years ago, I came across a beautifully sculpted paddle being sold at auction. It was cited as a Penobscot design but was somewhat unique as it was carved from softwood rather than typical Wabanaki paddles. A long one at 77", the paddle showed signs of usage but also featured a delicately shaped grip complete with floral and geometric etchings.

Rather than ending up in an obscure private collection, the paddle was purchased by the Hudson Museum at the University of Maine. Additional photos taken by the museum of the opposite side revealed the grip etchings had remnants of red paint matching the blade.

The museum has now added the paddle to their Wabanaki  gallery as seen in this YouTube footage and it looks to be right at home in front of a 19 foot Penobscot bark canoe.

Back in 2012, I made a reduced-scaled, shorter version of this from a piece of Sassafras and burned the decoration. I've used it on occasion, but decided to make a full sized, 77" replica from a clear section of of a 2 by 10 spruce board. I started the initial shaping with an axe and have been steadily working on it on thinning out the blade with a crooked knife.

Given all the late season distraction work done on the Trapper Canoe restoration, work on this paddle was a little slow. Eventually it was shaped down and scraped smooth ready for the decoration just as the weather turned

The etching on the handle was replicated with a rotary tool and the cavities filled with opaque, red milk paint. The blade was also painted while the bright spruce was stained with a gel stain in order to mimic the weathered patina of the original. On Christmas Day, we were gifted with 15 cm of fresh snow that made taking photos even more picturesque. 

At 77" with a nearly 3 foot long blade this is the longest paddle I've attempted. Should be great for some stand-up paddling once paddling season begins again in the spring.


Unknown said... time I’m in Maine I’ll stop at the Hudson museum..and check it out..

Be Safe


Unknown said...

Thanks for the heads up of the Hudson museum it’s been awhile since I’ve stopped by...

Post a Comment

Newer Posts Older Posts Home Page