Posts Tagged ‘woodwork’

Making a Paddle – Twice Warmed

January 18, 2018
Bent shaft cedar SUP paddles

I grew up in a house heated with wood. Usually, in the summer, my brother and I spent beaucoup time out at the wood pile, sweating away, cutting long logs into short sticks and then splitting those sticks and THEN stacking those split pieces. I don’t recall too many late nights during my teenage summers, we were too tired from the advance planning for wood heat. Whenever we did this ‘wood working’, it was the ‘first-warmed’ episode. A crackling wood stove down in our basement during the cold Duluth winters of the 1970-80s was the pleasant ‘second-warmed’. We were truly twice warmed, with one of those times being sweaty and full of mosquitoes.

Making a paddle is like that, minus the Cro-magnon physical labor aspect that wood heat requires. There’s a good bit less mosquitoes involved, too. Spend time in your garage making the paddle. That’s the ‘first warmed’. Getting that piece of wood out on the water becomes the (hopefully) ongoing and repetitive ‘second-warmed’. Hopefully, there’s only a few mosquitoes around for your version of ‘second-warmed’.

I still have the first paddle I made and I still derive a good deal of pleasure whenever I opt to use it. It still works. It still feels good and I am still twice warmed.

My paddles have evolved over the years as I have improved in my craft and explored other materials and styles. The first one was not the only one, rather it was like dipping my toe in the lake and finding it to be a pleasant temperature. My shop is full of paddles now, and full of wood waiting to become kits and custom paddles.

I hope you’ll consider the double pleasures of making a paddle. It’s just like wood heat, but without the hard labor. You’ll be ‘twice-warmed’ in the best of ways !!

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Slow Wood is kind of like Slow Food

September 5, 2009
Hand Tools and Slow Wood make nice things together

Hand Tools and Slow Wood make nice things together

Each paddle is different, whether from the wood, the tools, or the mood.  Patience is part of this game too.  If you go too fast “tear out” or chatter marks happen and either one can be a show stopper.  A little bit at a time followed by a rub of the hand to check progress is the order of the day.  Reality TV is full of food shows now, many of which show and tell about the wonders of enjoying the journey rather than the destination.  In other words, enjoy making the meal as much as you enjoy eating it. Here in our shop, the order of the day is to enjoy the feel of the tools, enjoy the sound of the wood as it curls off the shaft under the spokeshave. There’s a balance between churning out one more paddle to meet the deadline and allowing the time to feel the paddle take its final shape under the drawknife or spokeshave.