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William English Paddles

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Adam White, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Adam White

    Adam White New Member

    I'm new to the forum. I inherited a pair of Wm English Canoe Co paddles from my grandfather. He raced canoes in the Muskoka area around 1912-1913. I have some old trophies from his racing days.

    Please let me know what you think of the paddles. They are light weight and in good condition. It looks like they may have been reconditioned as there is some lacquer on one of the labels.

    Would you use these paddles or should they be stored away safely?

    We had his Sunnyside Cruiser, but unfortunately it was stolen in the early 80's...

    Any input would be appreciated.


    Attached Files:

  2. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    WOW. Beautiful pieces, and to have a family history is a bonus. Hang carefully on the wall and enjoy, buy some new ones to use if necessary. WOW.
  3. Giiwedin

    Giiwedin Gouvernail

    Definitely put them on the wall. They look in beautiful shape for nearly 100-year old blades. It would be a crime to beat them up on rocks, sand, etc.

    That said, if you should ever want to part with them, please let me know. I have a 1895 English 20, which was one of the company's premier racing canoes at the turn of the century, and would certainly welcome a set of contemporary paddles.
  4. Steve Ambrose

    Steve Ambrose Nut in a Canoe

  5. Nutkin

    Nutkin Canoodler

    Beautiful paddles. Would you be willing to make and post some measurements and maybe a profile photo of the grip and blade?

    Winter is coming soon and some of us with small shops need small shop projects...:D
  6. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    The decals add much to the history, beauty, and value of these wonderful paddles.

    I vote for the Shaw and Tenney "users" too! Or make some paddles using the old ones as a template. Do you know what wood species they are?

  7. OP
    Adam White

    Adam White New Member

    Thank you for your replies.
    These paddles will find a place on my living room wall.

    I will post post some pictures of profiles and dimensions later.

    Thank you,

  8. woodenkayakguy

    woodenkayakguy LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Definitely get replica's to use,I had a nice little 50 yr old chestnut paddle with stickers still on it and it broke on me on a river and I wasn't able to recover the blade section to try and reproduce it.

    If someone has pics and measurements of this type of paddle they cold post that would be great
  9. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Do you mean paddles like these?
    I figure these are about that old.
    I could measure them when I get back to the US in a few weeks.
    I actually prefer my little Peterborough paddle to these. The Peterborough paddle is a similar shape but it is more nicely made and has a "rib" that runs down the center of the blade, eventually blending out about 1/3 of the way down.
    Sorry, no pictures of that paddle here on my laptop and not great pictures of these.

    Attached Files:

  10. woodenkayakguy

    woodenkayakguy LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Actually i was wrong it was a peterborough,similar shape to the william english on the left but had the rib down the blade,sweet little paddle,but it snaped just below my lower hand.Was using it on a slow section of river and tried to get to a side channel,and just pulled too hard
  11. Mark Adams

    Mark Adams all wood nut

    I'd definitely put those paddles on a wall. They are far too nice to risk using. Shaw and Tenney can make replicas for you, should you be of a mind to do so.
  12. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    The nut paddles are really not anything too special but the Pborough paddle is sweet. It's one of my favorites.
    My wife graciously allows it to live in the house. I do not use it for fear of breaking it.
    Imagine using one of the William English paddles!

    I will send you photo's and measurements when I return to the US.

    This site is not BBerry friendly. This font is about 30 thousandth's of an inch tall.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2010
  13. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Peterborough Paddle Dims and Pics

    This is an attempt to provide you what you need to profile the blade.
    If it's not adequate I could try tracing it on a sheet of paper and mailing the trace to you.
    The paddle is 57 inches long.
    The blade is 26 ish overall. The rib is not quite the same on opposite sides of the paddle.

    Attached Files:

  14. Nutkin

    Nutkin Canoodler

    That's excellent! Thank you so much. It appears the rib on the blade is about 3/4" high at its proudest. I should be able to replicate the shape with the info you've posted. Is this carved or laminated? Looks carved.
  15. MGC

    MGC Scrapmaker

    Single piece of wood, carved..good luck.
  16. Robert P. Ross

    Robert P. Ross Ross Bros

    I just wanted to say, that’s a nice pair of paddles. They would be a must have item for anyone showing a William English canoe. Original paddles are key for winning a trophy at a boat show. They count for a large part of the points. Retail value on these paddles would be in the neighborhood of $500. with most of the value in the decals. I know a pair of Chestnut paddles that sold for $350.


    Robert P. Ross
    Ross Bros.
    PO Box 60277
    Florence, MA 01062
  17. Roger Young

    Roger Young display sample collector

    Speaking of older paddles, and how much they do to help show off older wooden canoes in contests, just thought I'd mention an auction I attended recently where a pair of early Canadian Canoe Co. paddles were offered. There was plenty of spirited bidding for these older beauties in very good condition and said to be made of black ash. 59" and 57-1/2", one with decal, the other having two very minor checks in grain. Great old crackled varnish. Pics attached.

    And, yes, I came home with them.

    Attached Files:

  18. Nutkin

    Nutkin Canoodler

    HA HA! Thread resurrection!

    I have been out of commission for a bit over a year and a half with double torn rotator cuffs (Do Not Try This At Home) I made a pair of these paddles as a trade for a 1956 OT that needs some TLC.

    The family that traded the canoe was immensely patient with me since I had surgery in between the two paddles and was over year before I could finish the second one.

    Here are some pictures of the second one, I forgot to take photos of the first one.

    I made them from a WRC 2x6. When I do these again I should probably do a build-a-long.

    Attached Files:

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