Looking for some paddle insights

Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Northern Vermont
With a new solo (Trillium), I'm realizing that it's time to try a lightweight, wood, straight shaft for my touring and fledgling freestyle paddle. Have been using a sweet old "Sea-1" from Curtis Canoes in the '80's; It's pretty light (guesstimating 21 oz?) , nicely contoured palm grip, with a 5 or 7 degree bend, 8 x 21 blade (a bit much blade). If it were a straight blade I wouldn't be looking for another.

I'm considering a Java ST Sawyer Voyager, or Grey Owl Fleetwood, primarily. The Sanborn Gillis or Gunflint look very sweet, but I'm rather impetuous and not sure I could deal with the wait time if I went for a Gillis. One thing in particular I can't determine from the websites is what the blades look like in profile; one thing I don't want is a blocky, squared edge, as I find pleasure with the smooth, quiet characteristics of a thinner edge, and all my choices seem to have a guard of some sort as an edge.

Your thoughts on any of this are much appreciated!
 
Joined
Nov 29, 2012
Messages
453
Location
southwest Indiana
You might consider contacting Marc Ornstein at Dogpaddle Canoe and Woodworks on Facebook. Marc hand makes very high quality wood paddles geared primarily toward freestyle and can quite possibly make one to your specifications. Although I have not owned one of his paddles, I have seen them at the Western PA solo canoe Rendezvous. His paddles have a very smooth and low profile dihedral that slices very cleanly through the water.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,473
Location
Raymond, ME
Grey Owl used to make a FreeStyle paddle in wood.. Dihedral and thin edge. The Fleetwood seems to be the closest Grey Owl now though I have not seen one

Fox Worx Saranac,, Charlie Wilson FreeStyle ITE had his hand in its design. I have another Fox Worx and the edge is fine.

https://www.foxworxpaddle.com/zen20...oducts_id=34&zenid=m6nnl5jggptl4kshauo133s4r5

I also have two of Marc's paddles but the price point is higher.
 
Joined
Jun 22, 2017
Messages
807
Congrats on your Trillium. I think that's a special solo.

Based on your thoughts I'd recommend the Fleetwood. The Java ST looks nice, I haven't paddled one but I have a couple of older Sunburst straight shafts. The Fleetwood is lighter with finer edges than the Bending Branches paddles but won't be as durable if you hit rocks hard and often since the Fleetwood doesn't have the fiberglass covering. I think you'd also prefer the 110 square inch size of the Fleetwood to the larger 118 Java.

That said, in my experience wood paddles have quite a bit more variability in weight and "buzz" than composite paddles so I'd suggest that the fiberglass Werner Journey (also 110 sq in blade) may also be a good choice for you.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Northern Vermont
Some good recommendations; I've looked at 'em all. I just ordered a Gillis from Rutabaga this afternoon, and it's already on it's way. Pretty excited to dip it in the water.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
946
Location
Pickwick, MN
Some good recommendations; I've looked at 'em all. I just ordered a Gillis from Rutabaga this afternoon, and it's already on it's way. Pretty excited to dip it in the water.

I think you will like that paddle, the folks at Sanborn (my nephew) make some great stuff.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2021
Messages
21
Location
Northern Vermont
So, I received the paddle last week. Rutabaga excellent to deal with. I talked with Darren, the owner, who happened to have designed the paddle; as you might imagine, I could not have wished for friendly insight about the paddle. Shipped the same day I ordered it. the paddle itself is jaw dropping beautiful, beyond what the photos show. And, as the saying goes, it paddles as good as it looks. Only had it out for an hour or two so far, but I am one happy camper. As a side note, it turns out that my older paddle, though 4" longer, and with a wider blade, is just as light as the Gillis! Win win.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
54
Location
Upstate NY, south of Rochester
I just completed an ultra light river/touring blade for a friend/client. The blade is mostly pawlonia with redwood and walnut reinforcements and accents. The blade is edged with Dynel. The shaft has fiberglass reinforcement between the paulonia core and the walnut faces.
 

Attachments

  • DSC_0734 full paddle cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0734 full paddle cr en sml.jpg
    102.4 KB · Views: 18
  • DSC_0739 name label cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0739 name label cr en sml.jpg
    181.9 KB · Views: 18
  • DSC_0743 blade tip cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0743 blade tip cr en sml.jpg
    182.8 KB · Views: 18
  • DSC_0745 front view throat cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0745 front view throat cr en sml.jpg
    115.6 KB · Views: 16
  • DSC_0747 grip face cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0747 grip face cr en sml.jpg
    73.2 KB · Views: 15
  • DSC_0749 grip side view cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0749 grip side view cr en sml.jpg
    58.4 KB · Views: 17
  • DSC_0751 throat side view cr en sml .jpg
    DSC_0751 throat side view cr en sml .jpg
    107.6 KB · Views: 17
  • DSC_0753 grip top view cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0753 grip top view cr en sml.jpg
    84.7 KB · Views: 17
  • DSC_0754 shaft side view cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0754 shaft side view cr en sml.jpg
    66.4 KB · Views: 17
  • DSC_0755 shaft edge view cr en sml.jpg
    DSC_0755 shaft edge view cr en sml.jpg
    67.8 KB · Views: 17
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
55
Location
Michigan
That paddle is artistically and functionally gorgeous. I wouldn't feel right paddling it till It had a few scratches. Nice work Marc. You are a man of many talents.
 
Joined
Aug 11, 2014
Messages
54
Location
Upstate NY, south of Rochester
You'll notice that I leave the fiberglass weave exposed, on the blade. Scratches don't show too much with the exposed weave. Filling the weave with additional epoxy only adds weight, no significant strength. Unless I'm doing a very fast in-water slice, the exposed weave doesn't appear to inhibit performance in any way.
On my FreeStyle blades, I do fill the weave.
 
Top