canoe paddle designs

I saw some unuusal paddles in a gallery this weekend, and it got me excited about building some accurate replicas of old native american and poynesian paddles. I would particualry like to make some used by the local Caloosa Indiana. So far, have been unseuccesful in finiding any historical documentation or pictures. Any ideas greatly appreciated.

Two books…
Making Canoe Paddles in Wood by Graham Warren

Canoe Paddles/A Complete Guide to Making Your Own

by Graham Warren & David Gidmark


I suggest…
One source to get started would be a book titled, “The Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America” by Adney and Chapelle, Smithsonian Institute Press. There are discriptions in the text and a few drawings showing front elevations but no sectional drawings, of Native American paddles. It’s not like having a complete set of plans but probably the best info you might find. Tribes include the Micmac, Malecite, Beothuk, Cree, Tetes de Boules, Algonkin, Ojibway, and also kayak-form, umiak, and kayak.

There have been traditional paddle makers attending the Wooden Canoe and Heritage Assn. events I’ve attended in upstate N.Y. Go to their website to see. Luck


– Last Updated: Nov-17-08 10:48 AM EST –

Not sure if you want to spend the $$$$ but, this mans video MAY help ya out.

Ciboney Indian, historian and wood carver Felix Rodriguez had a captive audience when he spoke to about 60 members and friends of the Marco Island Historical Society at the latest summer program presentation.

Rodriguez, a Cape Coral resident, traced the history of his tribe as having intermingled with the legendary Calusa before migrating to Cuba.

Like other coastal tribes they were largely dependent on seafood (“they loved oysters,” Rodriguez observed,) which obviously necessitated dugout canoes and the means with which to propel them.

It was that part of history that fascinated Rodriguez, hence his interest in replicating the types of paddles these ancient fisherfolk tribes fashioned for themselves.

For her part, Betsy Perdichizzi was more than fascinated.

“This was new information,” she said, “telling us about the close ties with the Calusa and other tribes that were here.”

Perdichizzi, who is Capital Campaign co-chair for the new museum to be build next to the Marco Island Library, said she particularly liked Rodriguez’s attention to detail on parts of his paddles.

“He carves out animals, palm leaf symbols and the weaving patterns of the various tribes,” she said.

Through a concerted effort since the idea of Marco’s own museum took shape, Perdichizzi said, just $3.3 million of the necessary $4.4 million has been raised.

This is enough to build the hall and administration building shell.

“We’re just waiting for the county to give us a start date,” Perdichizzi said. “We’ve hired a contractor (CORE Construction), accepted the bid and are now negotiating the contract.”

Anybody interested in a DVD of Rodriguez’s presentation should call the society at 394-6917.Thats all I could find

Here is a website
that has many traditional paddle designs. Clock on “Paddles” to see them.


Thats such a neat website
that I got lost wandering around. There are very few visuals for the Northwoods stroke and this one is quite good.

Plus I bet Doug Ingram knows more about paddles than just the ones he replicates.

I have made several traditional beavertail and ottertail and one voyageur style paddle, but am looking for authentic traditional designs that are diffent than the classic wooden paddles that are available today. I have seen pictures of arrow or palm shapes which looked pretty cool, and the info that Otis posted may well be paddles I saw this weekend (in Matlacha).

Thanks for the suggestions so far.