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Thread: Canoe paddles

  1. #1
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Default Canoe paddles

    I used to use white ash beavertail paddles that were hand crafted from the mill I worked at back home, but over time......gravitated towards bending branches paddles. I started out with the recreational "Traveler" model which lasted up until this summer. The Bending Branches has that tough as nails composite strip around the tip, while still maintaining a beautiful wood that bending branches are known for. Today, I went and checked out some expresso premiums that are made of black willow. While checking out the geometry and design.......I held it up to the light. Low and behold.....I could see a completely tranparent and barley visible cloth pattern when held up to the light just right. The darned paddles are wrapped in fiberglass! It's quite a step up from the recreational model, and has a rock gaurd that goes beyond the tip too.....it goes up both sides of the blade. This is the toughest paddle I've seen in a long time, with a unique dark wood color too. The blade is very wide, and would be perfect for maneuvering a wide canoe like a 19 ft Grumm, 17 ft. Osagian, 17.5 ft. Discovery, or any of the Esquif Sport Canoes. I highly recommend everyone to handle one of these and get a feel for it's quality.....something to admire and that's American made by some passionate canoeing enthusiasts.

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    Mainer,

    I'm sure you know Shaw and Tenney back in Maine. They make some great paddles as well. My favorite is the Maine Guide. The Racine is good, and they make the Grand Lake Stream for those of us who like to stand up in a canoe when negotiating down a class 1, or just for a change of scenery.
    These paddles have a flat handle in order for it to be held along the side, and is better suited for the North Woods or Indian Stroke, which allows the paddler to push with their back muscles instead of pulling with their arms.

    http://www.shawandtenney.com/classic-wooden-paddles.htm

  3. #3
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Yes, those are very nice paddles indeed. One thing about their paddles that most folks don't realize is that it's very difficult to find a guy who can create the swell and shape of the handle. It takes a lot of hand-eye work and a special touch on a big drum sander to get the preferred swell and shape of the grip. Every paddle has to be "eyed" and worked on the big drum sander and it could take 20 minutes to half an hour per paddle to get it just right. No paddle will match the comfort of their palm swell and grip shape. We had only one guy in the whole mill who could do it perfectly every time. He knew it too.......he would tell the owner off at will, and show up as late as he pleased............and get away with it. He'd usually be up on Mt. Katahdin just hiking away when he knew a big order had to be ready for shipment...........hilarious!

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  5. #5
    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy View Post
    Nice paddles, nice price:

    http://dri-kiwoodworking.com/index.html
    Wow, small world. I used to live on the same road those paddles are made. Yes, Porter's woodworking burnt down and they moved shop so this guy started making them on his own. I'm going to give this guy a call. I probably know him. Judging by the handles, he may have been one of the only guys who knew how to make the handles perfect. If he's at mile 2.8, he may even be the dude I was referring to that did as he "pleased" because he was so skilled at what he did and didn't take crap from no one.

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