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Putting the Bend In "Bending Branches" Paddles

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I was meandering with the family through the Kittery Trading Post in Kittery, Maine today (for those not familiar, the Kittery Trading Post is basically a big, independently owned sporting goods store).

I wasn't looking for paddling gear, but I was bored and I came across some Bending Branches canoe paddles.

There were two models of straight shaft paddles and several bent shaft paddles as well. I picked up one of the straight shaft models and immediately noticed the blade was twisted. Picked up another. Also twisted. Went through a half-dozen, two different models of straight shaft paddles, and every one of the straight shaft paddles had a blade with twist in it. Caveat emptor!
 

Glenn MacGrady

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By twisted blade, do you mean the blade was not parallel with the grip, or that the blade itself had some kind of a twist in it from top to bottom?
 
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Apologize for the imprecise language, Glenn. Imagine holding the shaft horizontal with the grip end closest to your face and sighting down the shaft's length (like a rifle) toward the blade end. The portion of the blade above the shaft was cupped slightly in one direction and the part of the blade below the shaft was cupped in the opposite direction.

As a woodworker, if this was a solid board, I'd call it twist. In fact, the blade was made of many pieces of contrasting wood species, oriented diagonally. Very pretty. Needless to say, I wouldn't want to paddle with it in that condition!
 
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That’s disappointing to hear. I’ve been looking at the “Java” in part because it looks like an arrow. But I don’t want to risk buying and having to return it.
 
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If I am understanding that twist correctly, as in a warped blade, not a spoon or curve shape, I am surprised. We have several different Bending Branches paddles bought over the years and none are defective in any way.

Years ago Bending Branches paddles were sometimes denigrated as “Breaking Branches” for the propensity of the blades to split on impact with a rock. BB must have improved that; none of ours have split.

I have to wonder if perhaps the Trading Post didn’t buy up a bunch of factory seconds, and those that were left were the worst of the lot.
 
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If I am understanding that twist correctly, as in a warped blade, not a spoon or curve shape, I am surprised.
Well, one way to look at it is that half the blade is spooning in one direction while the other half of the blade is spooning in the other direction.
 
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The one on the right reminds me of the watches in Salvador Dali's Persistence of Memory.

the-persistence-of-memory-1931.jpg!Large.jpg
 
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I found that paddle in a strainer pile, missing chunks out of the blade and half the grip. It became part of an ongoing tradition of sneaking “paddles” into the paddle racks at Blue Mountain Outfitters, complete with model names and price tags.

That one sported radioactive stickers on the blade, with a model name “TMI Special”; Three Mile Island being on the Susquehanna not far away. BMO was delighted to discover that the holes perfectly fit Solo cups and used it as a beverage passer.

It was actually one of the best paddle refinishing jobs I’ve ever done, the sanding and edges were perfect, and the varnish work was without a blemish.

The previous “paddle” was the “Canadian Double Blade” model, two hockey sticks with an epoxied scarf joint. One of the BMO owners found it in the paddle racks the next morning and stormed around demanding to know “Who the hell ordered this thing?”
 
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Those BB paddles at Kittery have been scientifically designed and engineered for either right or left handed paddlers depending on the direction of the twist.
 
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Those BB paddles at Kittery have been scientifically designed and engineered for either right or left handed paddlers depending on the direction of the twist.
Actually, since the twist is in both directions, they are for ambidextrous paddlers.
 
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Kittery may have picked up "seconds" for resale ?

I have used BB paddles, since the git go, I still use my original, bought in the early 90s. It has been reglassed a few times. Like an Old Friend to me !

Jim
 
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