Voyageur paddles

They're all cut out (roughed out, I assume)? You'll be done with a whole flock of them before I finish up these two!

But that's what I get for being a corporate rat day-jobber. Can't wait for retirement...
Don't feel too bad Paul, I've also been milling canoe planking and ribs. I spent the earlier part of the week milling about 160, 8' slices of planking, and yesterday I got all the rib stock planed to width and starte ripping ribs off. Its enjoyable enough for awhile, but then it just gets boring, which is a danger when you are using power tools.

I spent Wednesday picking through a lift of Birch looking for pieces that weren't too wobbly! Thursday I laid out the paddle patterns on the wood and rough cut the paddles out. Yesterday they were resting while I continued on the canoe stock.

Using paddle patterns allows me to lay out on the rough lumber to get the best use of the wood. They are nothing fancy, just plywood cutouts.

On stock like this, I rough cut with a wide margin. Wood will oftne move quite abit once it is released from the large dimension stock, so you want some wiggle room. Nice thing about Birch is that it does not move much, its pretty stable so you can usually trust your line.

After the wood sits a little, allowing any movement that is going to happen to actually happen, then strike a stright line down the center and lay out the final pattern, then cut it accurately.

I have 20 paddles to make in this batch, plus on for me and one for a friend.

I'll be continuing on them next week with the final patterns and cutting. I have to get this canoe stock done, too, so I'll be back and forth on the work.


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Finally getting finish on these. The red (blades only) is Benjamin Moore Impervo, an alkyd-based exterior paint. He wanted more of a solid color, but still be able to see some grain through the paint, she wanted to be able to see grain, and was okay with a little reddish color. thin coat wiped off, vs thick coat not wiped, and dry for a week, then oil topcoat. Grips & shafts get oil only. See pics, including the scarf joint. Should we take bets on how long it holds up?


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Nice job, Paul. (Though I think that you could have taken the grips in a bit more, they are still a little square and chunky). I'm sure that you're glad to have them finished.

I've been making progress on my batch of paddles. I just got some of the photos off of the camera today, but I don;t have time to post and caption them. I'll get around to it later. I have more photos to do today, too, to catch up on what I missed in yesterday's work.

I have the 22 paddles ready for sanding, which I'll be doing today. Oh joy. I am so looking forward to it...

As for the trip that these paddles will do, I just found out yesterday that the group will be following Mackenzie's trip west, from Fort Chipewyan in the Athabasca region, to the Pacific. They are scheduled to be leaving there on May 25th.

OK, I can't resist getting in just one photo.


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What machine do you use to rip with, ie brand/size?

I'm currently considering a "new" machine and am having trouble justifiying it.

Yeah, the grips are just a bit blocky, but we spent a lot of time shaving them down to where Bill & Sharon liked them. I always start with oversized grips & work down, since it's easier than the other way. But this is where they decided they liked them. It'd be easy to shave them down a bit more, if we need to, and they'll be dipping these paddles before they leave for the trip, so there's time for final adjustments.

The Mackenzie Expedition sounds excellent as well. I want to retire so badly... where's my lottery ticket?

Just about all of my sawing is done on the General 15" bandsaw. Its a real workhorse. I'd be dead in the water without it. Other bandsaws are good, too. I stopped looking, I hate looking at tools I can't buy!

Thanks, I thought that guard looked familiar. There is a tool/machine store here that carries General, nice saws but very expensive (down here).

I have an old Delta 14 that I'm rebuilding for metal work and an old Yates American 16 for light wood, but am considering a larger piece just cause, kind-of like getting another old canoe to fix up. :)

Dan, the General is expensive here, too. It amuses me that my saw is more valuable now, even as a 14 year old used machine, than when I bought it.

At that time, it was only a few hundred dollars more than the Delta 14, which was pretty much the standard small shop bandsaw. There is so much more choice available now. the General 15 is pretty much the same as the Powermatic, if you can find one.

Most of the new bandsaws are made in the same plants, the difference for each brand comes in the features and quality that is set for each product. It really is a case of you get what you pay for. They may look exactly the same, but the details can be quite different.
Ya, there are a lot that look the same.

The one I'm considering, and made a counter offer on, was made sometime in the late 40's early 50's. It's a larger re-saw BS.

Okay, to un-hijack this thread..... :p

At long last, my friends returned from the Thompson Expedition a couple weeks ago. I still haven't seen the paddles I made for them, but they have reportedly held up well, showing just some minor scratches, which is to be expected. Even the scarf joint is still holding.

Actually, they only used these paddles for demonstration/show purposes: paddling into the various towns along the way, historical presentations, etc. For most of the paddling hours, they used carbon/fiber bent shafts. Given that the youngest paddler in the boat was probably past 50 yrs, that was unquestionably a good idea. The real Voyageurs used real voyageur paddles, but were quite a bit younger than these tardier explorers.

So all is well...