How to make a paddle (and survive a Canadian winter)

One of my winter bucket list items was to carve my own canoe paddle. A quick internet search seemed to indicate that with a marginal degree of patience the project was beginner friendly and likely to be a success. I sourced some rough cut spruce from the local classifieds and armed with a brand new jigsaw, some borrowed hand tools, and enough ambition to be dangerous I set out on a mission to carve my very own canoe paddle.

I’m fairly certain I printed my plans at the wrong scale and ended up just tracing a beaver tail paddle that I knew I liked. Cutting the shape with the jigsaw was a dream, and besides installing the blade backyards in the hand plane the project went off without a hitch. It was a delight to see the paddle emerge from the wood following a few simple directions.

I made a few mistakes here and there and and now with a bit of experience and a copy of Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own I’m excited to try my hand at paddle no. 2.

With the help of my wife Genoveve and my friend Matt we made a little film about the whole thing. The script is written by yours truly and narrated by Harvey Tulk.

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