Scouts Learn the Craft (and Art) of Paddlemaking

Posted in Michael's Woodshop

June 28, 2021 by Dave Schneeman

From public health drives to caring for the environment, this summer we're stepping up again and we need you!


This spring, the Aquatics Committee hosted its first paddlemaking class in Michael’s Woodshop at Camp Snyder. Two Scouts and two adults from Troop 191F and a shop volunteer all crafted their own paddles in this initial class. The process began with each student receiving a milled Ash “blank” approximately 1 1/8” thick, 6” wide and 6’ long and ended with everyone having created their own individually sized, properly balanced and beautifully shaped flatwater canoe paddle which they will treasure for a lifetime!

The class was taught by Steve Park, a highly experienced paddlemaker who specializes in flatwater canoe paddles. He generously shared his knowledge, educating students about the key components of a paddle and instructing them about the proper tools and their use. With his guidance and assistance, students were able to properly size, shape and balance their paddles. The class was not about making a single canoe paddle, but was rather an investment in learning a valuable skill. The students gave the course high marks and are looking forward to taking an advanced class where they can further refine their skills. Definitely a couple of days very well spent!

Going forward, the paddlemaking class will be formally organized into an Introductory Class and an Advanced Class. The Introductory Class will teach a number of valuable skills and will use several custom jigs and processes to enable completion of the paddle during the class. The Advanced Class will introduce additional skills students will need to start their own journey of becoming a paddlemaker!

Michael’s Woodshop at Camp William B. Snyder is a great place for Scouts to create and learn. Paddlemaking is just one of many activities available in the wood shop. For more information about upcoming Paddlemaking Classes and other shop programs or for information about reserving the shop, please visit the Michael’s Woodshop webpage or email any questions and requests to the volunteer team at