I took a great paddle making class a few years ago, but haven’t had the time since to make another one.  My 4 year old keeps growing so she was due for another paddle.  She is in love with the colour purple so I grabbed a bit of purple heart along with some poplar and walnut and made her a little paddle for our adventures.


The second paddle was a present to my wife, after many years she was still using some junky old paddle lying around the garage.  Her’s is also in the picture above, it’s made from walnut and butternut and is very light.  Mainly used hand tools to plane down the blades and shape the shafts, worked out great. Both paddles were finished with spar varnish, wasn’t happy with the product and it smelt awful.  I’ve read many people say that poly is better as it is harder, and you don’t really need the uv protection for the limited amount of time it is outside, so on the next one I’ll use some poly instead.


Up next I’m making a paddle for a local kids charity to use for their silent auction.  Hopefully it brings in some big bucks for the organization, it will be auctioned off at a canoe fundraiser so hopefully it’s a good fit.

Tool of the Week – Hand Plane by Conrad Sauer

This week’s tool isn’t actually one that I used…. It is a hand plane owned by one of my fellow students at Rosewood.  It is a custom made hand plane by Conrad Sauer, and as Ron (my teacher) put it, “it’s worth more than your car”.  Now I don’t own a very expensive car, but to think any hand could be worth more than a roadworthy automobile seems a bit outrageous…

I have to admit that to look at it, it is a thing of beauty, and I’ve been led to believe that it performs admirably, but would it really be that much better than a Lee Valley or Lie Nielsen plane?  Considering they sell for $200-400, there is no way this plane is 10-20 times better.

But buying custom will cost you as you are paying for craftsmanship and attention to detail that simply isn’t available elsewhere.  At least the student uses it regularly and doesn’t just put it up on a shelf to be ogled.

Photo Friday


Been thinking a lot about woodworking lately, add that to my reading of Terrence Conran’s “sort of autobiography” and I couldn’t help myself but use the above picture for photo Friday. Taken a month ago at the Design Museum in London at the Terrence Conran exhibit celebrating his 80 years of inspiring design. This tool cabinet was a gift from the workers at his own Benchmark furniture business. I’m not sure if I am more jealous of him having his own in house furniture company (it resides in an old barn on his property) or this wonderful cabinet stocked with all the hand tool essentials…

DIY Macbook Pro Laptop Sleeve

After much debate I recently purchased a Macbook Pro and not an iPad.  For my last laptop, I had a case made out of orange/yellow velour by C.  It was wonderful, but unfortunately a totally different shape than my current Macbook Pro.  So while I was at the fabric store searching for felt to repair the light seals on my Yashica TLR, I picked up some very thick yellow felt.  I’d never seen felt like this before, it seemed just perfect for laptop sleeve as it had a bit of padding to it.  I grabbed some velcro and some thick yellow thread while I was there as well.

Once home I measured out my dimensions and used a rotary cutter and a self healing mat to make the cuts.  I decided to you a carpentry square as it was the right length, however it was hard to keep it from slipping on the felt.  If you’ve never used a rotary cutter before, let me tell you, this is a great invention. So much easier than cutting straight lines with a pair of scissors.

I decided to make the case open on the end instead of on the side like most laptop cases. I figured this way it would be easier to plug it in for charging without taking it out of the case.  All the seams were sewn by hand and then a couple of pieces of velcro were used to keep it shut.

Overall I’m quite happy with this project. The only issue is that the velcro sticks to the felt if you aren’t careful. Besides that, I highly recommend the felt, I may use it to make a camera case or two for some of my thrift store cameras