In the apocalyptic rubble that masquerades as my garage, I recently found a 54" Old Town beavertail paddle that I haven't used in 30 years. It's a one piece construction of unknown wood, though I dimly recall it could be spruce.
I took it out for a paddle the other day and, though it initially was a favorite of mine in my pre-Galtian era, I now recall why I haven't used it in 30 years.
WHAT A PONDEROUS AND NEANDERTHAL CLUB!!!
It is soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo HEAVY. Especially the swing weight of the thick blade, which accounts for almost half the paddle's length and probably 2/3 of it's weight.
Aerial recoveries were unrelenting agony, and the only stroke I could tolerate was a palm rolled Indian stroke with a completely in-water return. The blade shape actually lends itself nicely to palm rolls and manueverability and to vertical forward slices, even with it's blunt thickness. The pull phase of the stroke also felt pretty good, both functionally and aesthetically.
But the weight and imbalance were simply intolerable after 10 minutes, and I reached in desperation for my ZRE carbon bent.
I'm not sure a one-piece beavertail of that length could be made thin enough to have both tolerable weight, balance and sufficient strength. No wonder the voyageurs and native paddlers often made their long bladed paddles much narrower than a beavertail (such as quills) -- swing weight reduction, in my opinion.
Now, a carbon beavertail with a razor thin blade might be a very nice paddle, but I don't know that such a thing exists. There is such a paucity of lightweight, non-racing, carbon paddle blade shapes for flatwater canoeing.
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Funny how things|
Posted by: mcimes on May-06-13 3:32 PM (EST)
what you meant to say was...|
Posted by: slushpaddler on May-06-13 3:56 PM (EST)
",,,but I don't know that such a thing exists- YET!"
I'd need a much longer beavertail |
Posted by: ezwater on May-06-13 5:13 PM (EST)
for it to feel "normal".
You can improve it greatly|
Posted by: Canuka on May-07-13 9:56 AM (EST)
by slimming down that blade. Take a belt sander to it to remove the bulk of the blade thickness and then switch to a sanding block and gradually take it down. I did it to a heavy (28 oz.) walnut ottertail, slimmed it down to 22 oz. and it is a completely different animal. I used to hate it, now I love it.
Ah' find dem paddles....|
Posted by: fatelmo on May-07-13 10:19 AM (EST)
make fer good pizza flippers.
Shaw and Tenney Guide Paddle|
Posted by: davbart on May-07-13 10:23 AM (EST)
I have a Shaw and Tenney Guide Paddle that is a big, beavertail paddle that I love.
Plus 1 for the Shaw & Tenney|
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on May-07-13 4:53 PM (EST)
I also have a Shaw & Tenney beavertail that I love. Mine is much longer than 54" though and made of white ash if I am not mistaken. But it is a graceful thing and just right for a leisurely paddle on still water. Quiet for fishing too.
I have 3 of the beavertails|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on May-08-13 9:51 AM (EST)
I actually got a 57" Old Town beavertail first. It was the second paddle I ever bought, the first being a rectangular Mitchell t-grip.
Sawyer cedar is light|
Posted by: mr_canoehead on May-08-13 10:11 AM (EST)
The Sawyer cedar northwoods is quite light. Personally, I don't find the weight of a paddle to be that big an issue, within reason, but poor balance is unacceptable.
Out of production, unfortunately|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on May-08-13 10:34 AM (EST)
I like Sawyer paddles. The cedar Manta's are superb.
FWIW, I have several long conversations|
Posted by: onnopaddle on May-08-13 9:17 PM (EST)
I have a Grey Owl Guide|
Posted by: castoff on May-09-13 12:43 AM (EST)
Which has a 24" semi-oval beaver tail shape with a total length of 60". It is cherry with a laminated blade that has about a 1/8" thick blade edge and reinforced tip. I purchased it from CLC Boatworks for about $65 before shipping. I don't know the weight but think it runs about 25 oz. The balance point is about 3-4" above the blade.
Beavertails aren't narrow|
Posted by: kayamedic on May-09-13 8:49 AM (EST)
so I am confused at the above post. BT are pretty wide down low before the curve of the tail.
They may be calling it a guide because|
Posted by: castoff on May-09-13 12:52 PM (EST)
It is a symmetrical oval shape 5 3/4" wide in the middle. I considered it more of a beaver tail than an otter tail, but perhaps it is somewhere in the middle between the two shapes. What ever it should be called it seems well made and functional. The finish had some runs but when the time comes to refinish it they will be removed. I may indeed have used the wrong term in describing it.
Posted by: old_user on May-09-13 1:34 PM (EST)
Geesh, where to start? All my paddles are either beaver tail or otter tail, and are one piece made from either ash, and a few are sassafras. I cant imagine anyone thinking they're too heavy. I don't mean to offend at all, and I assume your post was written with some light comedy in mind but...I consider my wood paddles very light, but sturdy enough to use for poling, or for whacking an occasional grumpy Canada goose or beaver. Maybe workout a bit with weights and try again?
Tenney makes a dense paddle for OT &|
Posted by: bigspencer on May-11-13 3:32 PM (EST)
carbon(ie a very light paddle) will not be much different. Carbon is good for racing and lillydipping, but somewhere in the middle is what you most likely gravitated to....ie it's why you can still paddle.
My big ,heavy paddle made of cherry |
Posted by: string on May-12-13 10:07 AM (EST)
is on the wall of the den. Looks great.