Bird’s Eye and Paisley Paddles

It may not rise to the level of peanut butter and chocolate, but pine and cotton work just fine as paddle blades. My so-called ‘creative side’ favors the machine made paisley in all its many colors and patterns. My eye also likes the wild patterns found in nature, in this case a pair of book matched knots and the revelation of ‘birds eye’ upon slicing open the chunk of pine.

Both paddles perform just fine, in spite of the burden of being ‘non-standard’. Pine offers widespread availability, affordability, a light color, a variety of complementary colors, and an array of amazing textures and inclusions. Pine paddles are great!

Fiberglass and epoxy are the original (WWII era) lightweight composites that have greatly changed just about every industry that has ever used them. If you appreciate industrial history and the little known underpinnings that greatly advanced our culture, then you might appreciate the global story of how epoxy and fiberglass were ‘invented’. Laboratory ‘accidents’ figure heavily into that narrative. Clearly, planes (the original and urgent application in the WWI era), skis, cars, boats, and a long list of other items benefit from strength and light weight. In the paisley fabric canoe paddle case, I used just cotton fabric and the epoxy. No fiberglass. So far so good. If the cloth had not done what I hoped then I (still) have some light weight two ounce fiberglass cloth to overlay the cotton cloth. It looks to my eye though, that cotton fabric both saturates and provides a substrate in much the same way that fiberglass does. The MAJOR difference of course, being that cloth is not transparent like fiberglass is when it is saturated.

So build your own! Let your creative loose a bit and try something non-standard in your next project. Then….go paddle it!

Canoecopia 2019

Canoecopia-SeminarWhile Rutabaga Nancy has retired, that does not mean that Canoecopia has gone by the wayside. Nancy’s replacement, Amelia, seems like a great replacement, although she remains in the ‘mysterious’ category, as I have not met her yet. Her trial by fire grows daily, I’m sure, as Canoecopia 2019 approaches.

Rutabaga is the host/owner of Canoecopia. Rutabaga is one of the few full time paddlesports shops in the country that remains open year round, tempting paddlers every day to come in and look at the various gizmos as well as boats that fill the store. A great place. Owned and capably run by the ‘one of a kind’ Darren Bush.

And from that springs Canoecopia, an annual event that kicks off the start of the paddling season each year. Darren and his staff have carefully cultivated and nurtured this show, and the result has been a stellar production, a well run show offering a perfect oasis for paddlers tired of frozen water and ready for something warmer and easier to paddle than snow.

I’ll be up in the Atrium on Saturday from 1-3 (I think) talking about wood paddles and how to make them. Stop by and visit!