Advice on building an Aleut paddle.

Any pointers will be appreciated. I have built several GP so I have a little experience.

From the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like a GP on one side and the other has the ridge on the blade.How does the loom compare to that of a GP? Is there more stock left on the ridge side?

Just start carving
I roughly followed

While also looking at and and

Wound up with

I’ll send you more detailed photos if you want.

I started with a 2x4. The back face (without the ridge) is where the “bottom” of the 2x4 was, that is the blade is not in the middle of the original stock, it’s at the bottom.

Thanks MJ! That photo is exactly what I
needed. I’m surprised that the ridge isn’t more prominent when seen from the side.

There are diagrams on the web.
The best is an “Aleutine Pagaia”, an Italian set of sketches in detail that Google will translate for you. But the diagram is self-explanatory.

It’s actually easier to laminate up two pieces of stock than to carve a 2’x4’, but either way works.

I made my first with Western Red Cedar, and believe me, that’s the wood of choice. It’s shockingly light, yet strong, easy to work, and both water and rot resistant naturally. I made my second with other woods and have found it a struggle by comparison with WRC.

The tool I used most, after using a bandsaw to cut the blank shape, was a Stanley Surform tool. It’s a combination of a plane and a rasp, and you can get both a flat and a very helpfully curved blade (the 10" model, BTW). There’s even a flat Microplane blade for it that works even better than the stock Stanley stuff.

Try these.;_ylt=A2KJkK7eoVxQFHYAPCmJzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBlMTQ4cGxyBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDaW1n?

Found this plan last nite

Thanks. I have it blanked. I used 2
1" X 4" clear pine boards. I cut half the loom and full blade from one and the other half of the loom and the ridge from the other and glued them together.

Time to start removing more wood.

making an Aleutian paddle

You have probably progressed beyond needing this advice, but if not, here it is:

Get your plans off the internet, from books or copy an existing paddle that you borrow.

There are a number of ways to create the ridge. You can cut the tapers into the blank, glue on a narrow strip for the ridge and then fair the “glued on ridge” into the blank.

Another good method for those skilled with a router is to make a paddle core the thickness of the loom, form the ridge on this paddle core with router and then glue on paddle sides for the blades. Finish the paddle with hand tools. I was taught to use sitka for the paddle core and have made sides from red cedar, yellow cedar and redwood. With the strong sitka core, the blades are replaceable if damaged badly.

I’ve mostly band sawed out the blank and formed the ridge with a scorp. Others have formed the ridge with radius bottom and/or curved bottom small block planes( sold by Varitas or Lie Nielsen). When teaching a friend to make a paddle while also making one for myself, we took turns with the radius plane and the scorp, both preferring the scorp. This scorp was made by North Bay Forge and has a tighter radius than the more common chair making scorps and one handle not two. It does have a wider radius then the small carving scorps now being sold in woodworking stores.

I’ve read of people forming the ridge with a gouge chisel and also with the Stanley Sure-form, a rasp like tool. I have not tried either of the above.

Once the ridge is formed by whatever method, the paddle is shaped by spokeshaves, block planes, rasp and sandpaper. ( I totally avoid power sanders as it’s very easy to become allergic to red cedar dust and I have). If you choose to disregard this advice, wear a good mask, throw clothing worn into the wash after each day, throw away the mask used that day, take a shower and last, swab out your nose with a wet q-tip to get the dust that got under the mask.

Have fun,


I use a spokeshave for the loom
and a variety of tools , mostly electric, for stock removal. This afternoon ,I was covered with sawdust but I use pine with a mask and glasses. An electric planer is my tool of choice.

String’s paddle

So, where are the pics of your new Aleutian paddle?


I have several and it is looking good
but no way to post them.