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some old paddles and oars

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by brishen870, May 14, 2015.

  1. brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I came across a few old paddles and oars and was wondering if anyone might know anything about them? Age, style and maybe who made them where? The matching set of oars are about 6 and a half feet long and have draw shave markings but are painted? Seems strange to paint them before they were finished. Thanks
     

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  2. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    More photos

    Second round of photos.
     

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  3. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    3rd set of photos

    Third set of photos.
     

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  4. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    The paddle on the right with some remaining varnish could be from the Old Town Canoe Company in Old Town, Maine. These didn't change much during most of the 1900s. The long painted oars look home made.

    Benson
     
  5. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Yes, the one on the far right looks like a spruce Old Town (see third and fourth from the right below). The other paddle, not so much, but it's hard to say for sure. The pair of oars seem too crude to have been factory made (those handles would destroy your hands). The shorter one might have been professionally built and has more typical tapers to it.
     

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  6. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Mine in the far right kind of resembles the one you have in that photo 3rd from the left Todd. Mine has a somewhat thick shaft and a more rounded or blunt blade tip such as yours does. The 3th from the right in your photo appear to have thin handles and a more pointy tip. Your middle one does seem to have the same blade shape. Upon further inspection of the other paddle that I have without the varnish I found a small hole in the center of the palm grip. It looks like a mark from a lathe. Right beside the hole is a stamped B. Would B have been the initial of a manufacturer maybe?
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  7. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

  8. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I believe that Todd intended to say the third and fourth from the left in his image. The pictures below shows several Old Town paddles from over the years (excluding the three with a red "X" on the blade) and a few of them making paddles in the factory. The paddles made in Old Town, Maine were sanded on a drum by hand and not turned on a lathe.
     

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    Last edited: May 14, 2015
  9. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    3rd and 4th from the left makes sense. Those are great old photos. Really neat to see a old working shop. Mine is definitely lacking any of the tell tale signs of a lathe.
     
  10. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    Yep....I got my dyslexia mixed up.........

    The third from the right is a very old maple paddle that I have never been able to identify, but whoever made it was really good and seems to have had training as a spar maker, judging by the rolling eight-siding up top and through the grip area. Here it is on the right, next to a spruce Old Town from the early 1970s. You can see how much more hardwood paddles can be thinned out because the wood is tougher. This allows the weight and balance to be kept within reason, despite using denser woods like ash and maple. Unfortunately, an awful lot of the current makers of even high-end traditional paddles don't seem to have a very good grasp of these principles. There are plenty of fancy paddles out there that are gorgeous examples of woodworking, but which have terrible balance as canoe paddles.
     

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  11. OP
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    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    I agree. My Old Town paddle feels thick and clumsy compared to two other very old maple paddles that I also own. Not only do the thinner maple ones look better they work very nicely. Great balance. Move well through the water. In my humble option the more square heads for white water or short races look awful and are useless for a long day on a flat body of water. The laminate ones with several types of wood look the worst. Way too modern looking or whatever. Some of the prices are ridiculous for the laminate one also. I guess I am a traditionalist at heart. A old guy trapped in a middle aged body if you will.
     
  12. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    IMG_2413.jpg IMG_2413.jpg IMG_2414.jpg A few more paddles that I found. Plus an oar that I am wondering about. Might it belong with my Rushton Iowa? IMG_2411.jpg
     
  13. OP
    OP
    brishen870

    brishen870 Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Rushton Oar?

    Does this look like it may belong to a Rushton Iowa? Its about 8 foot long. IMG_2403.jpg IMG_2404.jpg IMG_2407.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015

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