Making a Paddle
Russell carefully selects each birch, poplar and ash log from wood lots in North Eastern Ontario. The Cherry logs are sourced from the Sundridge, Ontario district. The logs are brought home and sawn by Russell. The sawing process is the beginning and the most important step in ensuring the logs are properly cut so that the grains run straight and avoid stresses.
The boards are kiln dried in our own kiln for several weeks.
Russell keeps a daily watch on the wood as it dries until it is properly cured.
The wood is then brought into the shop where it is further sorted and only the best boards are used for paddles and yokes to ensure a quality product.
The Paddles and Yokes are hand crafted using several operations from drawing the pattern on the board, cutting it out with the band saw, putting it in the lathes to the final sanding - a total of 27 steps!
The final step in sanding paddles removes just the right amount of wood to acquire the proper "whip" action. Russell gives each paddle and yoke the "flex" test to ensure their strength.
Finally the Yokes and Paddles are brought to the finishing room where they are dipped in urethane, sanded and then dipped twice more. Audrey carefully inspects each paddle or yoke before packaging it.
We've put together this slideshow to give you an idea of the process!
Ash is very strong and is a golden brown colour. It has a beautiful grain and medium to coarse texture. Of all the woods we use Ash has the most whip action.
Birch has exceptional strength and a fine grain with even texture. It is our most popular wood for paddles.
Poplar has a straight grain and fine texture. It is a white wood and very light. We make our oars from poplar for its durability and weight.
Cherry has a beautiful grain, is lightweight and reddish brown in colour.
From the Tree to the Paddle our process brings out the best qualities in all the woods we use and we take great pleasure in providing you with strong, dependable and beautiful paddles, yokes and oars proudly carrying the Teal Duck Logo.
Share your stories and pictures by email at Tealpaddles@gmail.com!