Making Canoe Paddles at the Duluth Folk School
December 18, 2018

Canoe Paddle Making

  • Make Your Own Canoe Paddle - Day 1 of 3
    February 12, 2019
    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Make Your Own Canoe Paddle - Day 2 of 3
    February 19, 2019
    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Make Your Own Canoe Paddle - Day 3 of 3
    February 26, 2019
    6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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The warmth and beauty of a hand-made canoe paddle cannot be beat, and winter is a wonderful time to create one!

In this class, you’ll make your own straight-shaft canoe paddle, and you can select which type of wood you will be working with:

  • Basswood (with accents of western cedar; excellent for creating almost any paddle shape or style).
  • Cherry (a rich reddish-colored wood; excellent for making traditional beavertail or ottertail-shaped paddles)

Note: Basswood is significantly easier to work with than cherry.

On our first day, we’ll start building your paddle by gluing the blade and the grip onto a prepared shaft. We will discuss characteristics of various types of paddles, materials, and how to size a paddle to an individual person. The following sessions will be spent paring down the wood with hand and power tools.

Making Canoe Paddles at the Duluth Folk School

Registration Includes

Instruction and all materials. By the end of class, you’ll have a smooth and shaped paddle. You’ll need to varnish it before dipping it in the water.

Skill Level

No prior experience needed

Best for Ages…

18 and older.

You should bring…

We’ll have all the tools and materials you’ll need. However, some people prefer working with their own tools. If you’d like to bring your own tools, bring along:

  • For Day 1: 2 pipe clamps, 2 C-clamps
  • For Day 2 and 3: Block plane or smoothing plane, spoke shave, rasp, jig saw, belt sander and/or spindle sander, pipe clamps, etc.

Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Some folks like to bring an apron.


1917 W Superior St, Duluth, Minnesota, 55806, United States


Located on street level. Handicapped accessible.

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  • Ruurd Schoolderman says:

    I would like to take this with daughter Annelies (14). She has been taking an industrial tech class and has been working with various power tools. She has been talking about wanting to make her own paddle for a while. Would she be allowed to take the class?
    Thanks, Ruurd

  • Brooke says:

    When is the next class? I am so bummed I missed this!

  • David G. Beeman says:

    I am looking for a course in building a wooden canoe paddle, and I have a preference to learn to build a bent shaft, but would certainly start with a more traditional paddle. I note you have a couple of classes but they are sold out. Do you have specific plans yet for offering further courses. I would love to have my son and I take the class sometime over the summer.


    Dave Beeman
    (515) 490-3066

    • Bryan French says:

      Hi Dave. We’ll definitely offer canoe paddle making classes in the future – we just don’t currently have a date set for any upcoming classes. Keep your eye on our website – hopefully, we’ll be able to announce a class before too long.

Question or comment?


Duluth Folk School
1917 W Superior St
Duluth, MN 55806
(218) 481-7888


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