Sounds of chatting, laughter and wood carving filled the air in the museum’s Preserving Skills Gallery last weekend.

March 3rd and 4th was the first Black Cherry Paddle Workshop of the year here at the museum.  With a full class of paddle-carvers our volunteer instructors Don and Russ set out to lead the participants in making a canoe paddle in just two eight-hour days.  This was a fabulous class and at the end of the day on Sunday ten beautiful paddles left the museum with their new owners wondering how long they have to wait for the snow and ice to disappear so they can put them to use!

Our next Black Cherry Paddle workshop is September 29th and 30th, but if you’re into kayaking we also have a Greenland Kayak Paddle workshop coming up in May!

Here are some photos, and a little more information about the workshop:

Leading up to the workshop students decide what size and style of paddle they would like to make.  They choose from a selection of blade shapes so their paddle size and shape is unique, and customized to their needs.

Participants learn to use traditional hand tools (the main tool that students use is called a spokeshave) with the help of our wonderful instructors.  I’m always so impressed with how well the students do – I’ve never seen an ugly paddle leave this workshop.

And in the end they create a custom carved and sanded paddle and go home with a kit of urethane, brushes and steel wool so they can put the finish on it at home.

What a great way to spend a weekend!

For more information on the other Artisan Workshops click here.