You can buy perfectly serviceable aluminium and plastic paddles from most Outdoor Shops, but you may feel that your wooden canoe deserves a proper wooden paddle. We sell a nice ABS and aluminium paddle here for £40.
We used to offer several paddle options, but now only offer our glorious laminated paddle, which you can make here, or buy one ready made by my son Tom. These are £120 ( the same price, whether you opt for a complete paddle, or decide to make one here)
If you opt to make your own paddle during a canoe building holiday, these are the prices which apply. You will be measured for your paddle and a paddle blank will be cut out for you. You will then be shown how to shape the paddle using a range of traditional and modern tools. After sanding your finished paddle to your heart's content, you will finish the paddle in oil or varnish, ready for use with your new canoe. The whole process should take about 4 hours for a simple hardwood or softwood paddle. If you opt to build a laminated paddle you will need an hour extra on the previous day to lay out the lamination, plus 4 hours completing the paddle the next day.
Lots of people have been asking us about Greenland Stick paddles. Eventually I got round to it, and am very pleased with the result. This one is made from a spruce stem onto which I laminated redwood wings to form the paddle blades.
The whole paddle is 2200 mm long ( 7'2") and weighs around 1000 grams ( 2.2lb).
Currently it is pretty chunky and will remain that way until people familiar with paddling with a Greenland stick give us some feedback after trying it. It is finished in several layers of our SeaCoat varnish, and looks a treat. I experimented with some cast resin on the rounded tips, and might decide to replace the resin with a piece of hardwood like Mekore, which I think will look better than the resin.The cost of the Greenland Stick at Birchcanoes will be the same as our Laminated canoe paddles, ie £120, whether you buy a completed paddle, or build your own.
So this can be an afternoon shaping down a paddle blank prepared in advance by us, or indeed a 2 day course where you laminate the paddle blank on the first day, and shape it down on the second day.
Do let me know if you would like me to prepare a Greenland Paddle blank, and any special requests with regard to length, timbers to use, tip options etc
We sometimes run stand alone paddle making courses, for example during the Alpkit Big Shakeout each year, as well as here at Birchcanoes. The cost per paddle, whether a laminated Canadian canoe paddle or a laminated Greenland Stick paddle, is £120. This price is the same whether you opt for a paddle made by us, or if you build your paddle with us. We can offer a one day course, for which we prepare laminate paddle blanks ready for you to work down, or a 2 day course where you can select, prepare and glue up your paddle blank on day 1 ( this actually takes a couple of hours or so) followed by shaping down on the second day. A variety of techniques are available, and there are numerous tools available here, from Drawknives and Shave Horses, to Belt Sanders and Orbital Sanders ( and a whole lot of other tools besides). The paddles can finished with the application of oil ( a range of oil treatments are available) or varnish (again a range of varnishes are available including SeaCoat which is a remarkable varnish.If you decide to bring a group of you to build paddles, ask us about the various options for accommodation, and for discounted rates if between you your group will be making 5 or more paddlesTiming: If you simply want to come for a day and shape down a ready-laminated paddle blank, you need to be able to devote around 4 hours to completing your paddle.
If you would prefer to be involved in every stage from selection of timbers, preparation, gluing and laminating this will require a further 2 hours which would take place on the previous day.
Most people seize the opportunity to take one of our canoes up the river here while they are with us. Here a group are trying out the paddles they made with us. The river is rather swollen on this photo; normally we can see the bottom of the river, and watch the fish.
Spring and Summer 2023 Canoe building
We are very flexible regarding dates for canoe building, paddle making and other events, but the following dates are currently available ( as of 2 May 2023)-- please check with me to ensure your chosen date is still available before making arrangements.
8-13 May ( Vine Cabin)
7-12 June 2023 ( Vine Cabin)
26 June -1 July 2023 ( River Cabin and Vine Cabin)
10 July-14 July 2023 ( Vine Cabin)
17-20 July 2023 ( River Cabin and Vine Cabin)
Please note, you can opt for a 3 day or a 6 day option within these dates, to start on a date of your choice. In some case, arrival earlier than the first date shown might be possible, do let us know what you would preferText me on 07922 164061 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org