Aulet vs. Greenland

Same site I followed. nt

Renzo Beltrane Aleut paddle

– Last Updated: Feb-23-12 8:43 PM EST –

Yeah, made 2, really like them and now mostly use the Beltrane style Aleut paddle. With a smaller blade area and the narrower loom I chose for these paddles, they are less stressful on my rebuilt shoulder.

I even made one Beltrane Aleut into a two piece with a carbon ferrule. One half of the paddle becomes a temporary tool to facilitate pushing air bags into my kayaks before launching. By connecting the ferrule halves, it then becomes a full length paddle before I climb into the kayak.

However, don't be too impressed, I had help in this paddle making venture. A lady paddling friend gave me an English translated version of Beltrane's Aleut plans. My friend the cabinet maker scanned Beltrane's cross sections into his computer, sent them to his shop-bot, and made plywood templates of the paddle shape. I cut each template in half (horizontally) with a very fine jewelers saw. While carving the paddle I then had extremely accurate upper and lower templates for each cross section on the plans. It's good to have friends!


You cheated! LOL
I did my own Italian to English translation and did the rest by hand. I did have one cut done on a friend’s bandsaw, so I’ll admit to some assistance. But CNC machining, well, that’s way beyond my scope of work…


I’m a confessed "cheater"
Lovely Gina gave me a copy of the translated plans. Should I have refused them just to be a purest-not in this lifetime.

Mike, when viewing the plans said I can scan the station templates and cut them out for you on the Shop Bot-a done deal.

I did bandsaw out the rough paddle shape and carve the paddles to the the templates. Carved the sides of the ridge with a really nice scorp I bought from Cory at the Skinboat School-love using that tool.

Helped my neighbor make one Beltrane paddle and I made two. I supplied the wood, plans, tools and instruction and he supplied a heated shop last March. A good deal for both of us.


And where was I?
Would have liked to have been there. Was carving my own at the same time! What a coincidence.

In fact, I didn’t even have my kayak delivered, yet was eagerly researching and then building my paddle. I figured that the proverbial creek was not where I wanted to be without one.

Very very glad I settled on that design. It’s a source of amazement on the water to others and a source of good paddling and pride for me. Those Aleuts knew what they were doing for sure.

Off line

I live in Ct, so if you’re nearby we could do some paddle making together.

We have throughly skewed the Aleut vs. Greenland topic to being just about Aleuts, so we should probably continue off-line.

I’m pleased with all aspects of the Beltrane Aleut paddles except for my attempts at tip protection. I tried coating them using G-Flex with silica added. It dries to a nice ivory color. I like the product and think it will hold up better than the MAS I’ve been using for many years. My problems have been with the application process. I tried a waxed template to keep the epoxy in in place while curing. When I tried to remove the template in the “green Stage” the epoxy clung to the template, distorting the tip coating. I next tried removing the template earlier in the “green Stage” and the epoxy sagged. On the next paddle (there will be a next) I’m going to try the “tried and true” method of frequently rotation the paddle while the epoxy is curing to have gravity help keep it in place. If that doesn’t work to my satisfaction, I will try brushing on a number of very light coats. I try to always have a back up plan!

Email me off line and I’ll try to send you some pics of the Beltrane Aleut with a carbon ferrule as well as its sister.


Does anyone still have plans?
Does anyone still have a copy of the beltrane plans? I don’t know if what i am searching for is correct, but there seem to be alot of older websites that no longer exist that had info on aleut paddles, but i would still like to try one.

If someone still has a set kicking around and could email them to me i would really appreciate it.

Ditto on a set of plans
I would love a set of plans also. I am just finishing the rigging on a s&g kayak I made, and paddles are my next step. I have plans for a GP but not an Alute.

Here you go.

Thanks guys
Hopefully it will work out, any other helpful links before i start?


@jaybabina: No.
“The myth of a larger blade being faster at accelerating is by people who have no experience with a GP.”

It’s not a myth at all, not even a longshot. It’s physics. Once you reach hull speed it doesn’t matter so much, it’s largely preference. But when you look at arenas where euro type paddles really shine as compared to GP, it’s not touring. It’s arenas like surf and whitewater where reaching hull speed quickly and having max power per stroke in high frequency really shines.

As to the anecdote about racing GPs against euros, it doesn’t mean much. As aforementioned, you hit hull speed you hit a wall regardless of paddle type. Make the ‘races’ a few yards instead of dozens of yards and I’ll bet the difference is pronounced.

Carving Aleut paddle
The hardest part is forming the ridge on the power side of the blade. It can be made by an experienced woodworked using a router on a core section. Then the blade sections are laminated onto the core to achieve the full paddle width. I had a friend do that for me for 4 Skinboat School style Aleut paddles I made.

The ridge can be formed with a 2"-3" scorp, and I have used a scorp for 5 paddles.

The ridge can also be formed with a very small plane that has a curved (side to side) and rockered (front to back) bottom. Lie Nielsen and Veritas sells them and there are overpriced vintage Stanley versions sometime available. I like old tools but the Veritas version has a better blade for similar money. The Lie Nielsen, while costing a bit more, also comes with a better blade than old Stanley versions.

Gina, the lovely lady who gave me a translated set of the Beltrane plans, has used a Veritas plane to make a few paddles.

My neighbor, who is less experienced a woodworker than me, preferred the Lie Nielsen plane while I preferred the scorp when we made paddles together. Both our paddles came out fine.

Have fun and enjoy the process as well as the product,


Laborious but not hard with

– Last Updated: Feb-28-12 11:50 AM EST –

a Surform tool. This is a modern combo of a plane form and a rasp/plane blade. Think of a hand plane with a blade that comes in either flat or curved versions for the same handle tool. The curved one does the job very handily. The tool is made by Stanley (reliable brand) and is available at virtually any hardware store. Look at this site to see how many different forms it comes in:

My take
I made

Very roughly following the plan at the bottom of

Carved from a solid WRC 2 x 6 using various Western and Japanese block planes and spoke shaves.

I really love the feel of it in the water, but it is too heavy. My next attempt will probably follow the same basic plan, but focus on thinner blades and lighter weight.

Zimmerly plans
Hi mintjulep,

The “Skinboat School” paddles I’ve made (at Skinboat School and home) look very similar to the Zimmerly plan. They probably came from the same source. Thinner blades reduces the paddle weight and also gives a slight spring to the paddle, a feature that I like-less shock to my aging body and repaired shoulder.

I’m presently planning to attend Raystown this fall. I will be bringing some Aleut paddles. You can try them if you attend also.