Canoe Paddles

Heritage canoe paddles reproduced from the paintings of the 19th century artists William Armstrong and Frances Anne Hopkins, as well as from Adney and Chapelle's "Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America." Contact us for authentic paddles made from traditional woods using traditional hand tools for your museum exhibit, historical expedition or voyageur canoe tours.

Here's the tools  for making traditional paddles with a central spine running down the blade.   At the top is the half-pattern, it gets flipped over and traced on both sides of the centreline marked on the blank.  Below that is a straightedge for marking a good centreline on the blank - and then remarking it after the faces of the blade have been planed thin. Next is an oilstone box for keeping blades razor-sharp. From left to right below the paddle are sharp pencils, a combination square, a block plane, a spokeshave, a round-bottomed plane with a big radius for hollowing the blade on either side of the centre spine, another round-bottomed plane with a small radius for planing right up to the centre spine, a smoothing plane, a sanding block shaped to fit against the centre spine of the blade, and a few different grits of sandpaper.  Mounted to the bench is a woodworking vise to hold the paddle while you are shaping it. Missing from the photo is the all-essential spar gauge for marking the lines on the squared shaft for planing it into an octagonal shaft as the first step toward rounding.

Steps from sawn-out blank to finished paddle