Kettlewell Paddles?

I received an e-mail with information relative to Kettlewell paddles. Just figured I would ask if anyone has comments relative to these or other traditonal paddles. I have never paddled anythng but modern straight paddle and am currious about your comments.


Ah’ got de Kettlewell Quill

– Last Updated: Sep-24-07 1:39 PM EST –

an' like it ok. Good fer messin' around Canadian Freestyle. Very long blade - cut ta be able ta git under de canoo fer doin' stuff like Gimbals. It be a bit heavy an' stiff fer touring though - much prefer me Nashwaak fer dat. Good paddle maker - Kettlewell be...


More Questions than Answers
You ask for comments about Ray Kettlewell’s paddles. When you are talking about high-end paddles, that is a very generic request. They are beautiful; they are well made; and with reasonable care, they will last a long long time. Since I have the Ray Special, I can add that it is also a well designed paddle. I use my Ray on deep lakes and when I am pretending that I know how to paddle Canadian style.

The paddles are excellent; but the best thing about buying a Ray Kettlewell paddle, is talking to Ray on the telephone. He will take the time to make sure you get the right paddle … and his passion for paddles and paddling really comes through.

There are a lot of people out there making quality paddles, a number of them post here regularly. For your purposes it would probably be more useful to ask about paddle styles that would meet your paddling objectives - and then, go look for the guy that makes that paddle really well.

Nice paddle
I have a cherry Kettelwell ottertail that is a delight for solo paddling. It does have a very long blade which limits it to deeper water.

If you have never paddled a long, narrow bladed traditional paddle you are in for a treat!

Ray Kettlewell is an old school paddle maker very highly regarding in Ontario paddling circles. His shafts are round as opposed to oval - they have a solid heft. IMHO his blades are a bit thick and weigh in on the heavy side compared to some. I generally prefer thinner/more flexible blades myself, but that’s just me. All Kettlewell paddles are solid cherry with spar varnish finishes brushed on. These are top shelf sticks, but are still working paddles – not frail non-functional display paddles, they are made for everyday hard use. They’re priced a bit higher than mass produced factory sticks like Grey Owl (for instance) and worth every penny, a true bargain in my humble opinion. I have a “Quill” and find it a hoot to play with, as Elmo mentioned it’s not for touring. I also have one of his Ottertails - the grip is a bit small for my big mitts. The quality of workmanship on the Quill is flawless, that Ottertail was not his best effort (the blade is a bit lumpy). Based solely on the two Kettlewell paddles in my little collection I’d have to say Kettlewell’s hand-carved paddles display the hand of the craftsman - quality can be a bit up or down – as is the case with any hand work. That being said IMHO a typical Kettlewell trumps the vast majority of mass produced paddles any ol’ day - even with an occasional lumpy spot or small varnish run. Paddles made by a real human… makes me smile.