Otter tail paddles???

I’ve been wanting to try an otter tail paddle lately. No one here stocks them. I’ve looked on the 'net at several brands, but info is lacking on some brands.

I see Sawyer has one that is laminated. It would be lighter than a one-piece, I assume, but I can’t tell what the shaft looks like or whether the blade edge has a fine taper or what. I have several Sawyer blades of similar construction (I think) that are alright for what they are, but I think a paddle that will be primarily recovered in the water should be quiet and smooth when doing so. Anyone have one they can tell me about?

Also - I have seen mention that Turtle Paddle Works is back in business, but their website doesn’t seem to be working completely. I did see there is a dealer in Ireland that appears to have many of their paddles in stock. I probably don’t want to pay the shipping from there though. There otter tail would be heavier (as any solid wood one would be) but I do appreciate the beauty of fine wood, so that would interest me. And I would like to try that Algonquin Guide Paddle (even if I just hang it on the wall in the end)…Anybody know the score on them?

We Use 'Em…

– Last Updated: Mar-17-10 10:28 PM EST –

...and love 'em. Unfortunately, ours are custom-made by a paddling acquaintance - traded him a badly deteriorated cedar and canvas canoe for one, paid him for the other - best paddling dollars we ever spent.

About a year later, the Tumblehome Canoe Club had a paddling-making workshop; a friend and I did the workshop, and made ourselves otter-tails. Good, for sure, but not quite in the same league as our originals.

Ours are solid ash - lovely wood to work, and it is TOUGH stuff.

Grey Owl
I have a Grey Owl Segamore and love it.

One piece as far as I know. Still love it.

I have a Sawyer Beaver-Tail
I didn’t know Sawyer made an otter-tail, but for what it’s worth, I have three Sawyer paddles, including a beaver-tail, and they all slice very nicely during underwater recoveries and sculling strokes. The blades of Sawyer all-wood paddles are thinner in cross section than those of other all-wood paddles in the same price range that I’ve seen so far. I’m rather partial to Sawyer. A friend of mine has one that’s definitely a “mistake” on the part of someone at the Sawyer factory, but overall, they seem to be a nice balance of quality and price, with the quality being “quite good” and the price “not all that high”, which means that on the available scale of price and quality, they do the job for me.

a little over a year ago …

– Last Updated: Mar-18-10 5:06 PM EST –

...... I bought a Turtle Works Otter Tail from Dan Brown ... a Cherry wood one from his collection paddles he was thinning out .

I knew up front that the shaft was going to be a bit too short for me but it was such as nice paddle !!

I basically bought it so one of our friends (a smaller stature young woman from Brazil) could have a paddle that she would feel confortable with when her and her husband barrowed one of our canoes ... all other paddles of mine she had tried were a bit too much for her .

She loved that Otter Tail sooo much , it became her's this Christmas (gifted) ... shaft length on it fit her perfectly and the narrow blade made the paddling easier for her .

I wouldn't mind owning another Turtle Works Otter Tail just for myself if ya know what I mean ... the shaft length is very important that it be long enough for it's user , something to remember when figuring overall lenght in an Otter Tail especially .

Best list
Best lightweight, laminated trad paddle - Sawyer Northwoods

Best one piece factory produced paddle - Redtail cherry.

Best looking paddles - Grey Owl?

…another maker I wasn’t aware of. Thanks!

Those black walnut and birdseye maple blades…gorgeous!

I just got a Cedar Sawyer Ottertail
at Canoecopia. I tried it yesterday. It’s weak point is that it vibrates during in-water recovery. This may just be my sample, because the edge has a very small - almost imperceptible wave or two.

Everything else about the paddle is very nice, from my first impression. The blade flexes nicely during the power stroke and power builds as the blade is buried deeper. The bare wood grip is very comfy - feels great in my hand. The swing weight is, indeed relatively light compared to my Gray Owl Tripper & Cheieftan. I haven’t compared the Sawyer and Gray Owls on the water, yet.

The blade is completely covered in glass and it is edged with dynel and should be very durable. Durability is a good trait in the small lakes that I paddle, because they often become shallow quickly, which is bad for my relatively delicate Gray Owls.

I’ll be contacting Sawyer to see if the vibrating during in-water recovery is a character trait of this design/construction, or if I should trade mine in, if I can find a reasonably close retailer with some stock. I don’t want to pay the cost of shipping to send it back for replacement.

It feels pretty good power stroking with it.

Ottertail paddles
I have a few ottertail paddles and they are my favorite. I bought one because I loved the look and feel of it, and it’s 50 dollar price tag had me sold. After trying it a few times, I went back and got a second one just to have if I ever broke my first. It’s a 1 piece solid ash paddle, with an oval shaft, bare wood straight grip (no poly on the grip) with several coats of tough poly over the rest of the paddle. The shop I bought them at get them from a paddle maker in Maine, he said they are made by the Penobscot tribe members. For me, It’s the first paddle I always grab, it’s the paddle that when I pick it up and hold I cant help but smile. It’s just a beautifully made, very functional paddle. Anyway, for such a narrow blade it’s surprisingly powerful, and it’s profile seems easier to turn in the water like you do while making a J-stroke. I can get you the contact info for the shop where I bought mine if you like…no pictures of them on their small website but I could try to photograph mine if you wanted to try to buy one from them.

Ray Kettlewell
I got a Ray’s Special from him when the exchange rate was in my favor. I’ve learned to LURVE it. Handmade beauty. Well worth the cash and the wait.

Redtail – ottertail paddle
Cherry, or whatever wood you like of what they have. Great balance and feel.

I looked for years and grabbed these as soon as I found them.