Monday, January 22, 2018

Arctic paddle making

It has been a long while since I was this far north last time. Actually, It must have been early August 2011 when I came by kayak on my way south:

Tromsø is for me a magical place. Located around the 69. degree of latitude. The city has the unofficial status of capitol of Northern Norway. Maybe even Northern Scandinavia... The surroundings are sure spectacular: Tall steep snow covered mountains, magnificent sea with whales and eagles, and of course the northern lights..

my first long stay was exactly 20 ears ago, January 1998. Back then I did one of my my very first kayak building classes away from home. I remember that stay as one week's party. With great, resourceful, goodhearted and very accommodating people.

This stay was no exception, even though we didn't have many days now. And the Northern lights and the whales were absent..

We had a really good time building paddles for two days. It must have been one of my biggest classes ever, due to massive interest. Through two long working days, 28 people made each their own Greenland style of Aleut paddle. I sure hope to come back soon and paddle with the great people of the "Storm" paddle society :)

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Kayaks and paddles come from wood

Right now, every bit of my body seems to be aching. L That comes from too hard use of my body for a couple of days.

Here’s a glimpse of where the kayaks and paddles I build come from:
This autumn was the time to thin out between the trees that grow around the old church in Fiskum. I was asked by the church community if I could use some wood…

There was quite a bit of everything there – mainly ash, elm, birch and alder. All great for parts of kayaks and paddles.

Trees were felled, giving space for new trees and better environment for the church that dates back to 1100.

Monday we moved 3 tons of snow by hand, giving space for storing the wood outdoors.
Tuesday my assistant and I went to the sawmill. The sawmill is part of a farm up in the hills. It is run by Ole Kolkind, a great guy who is in his seventies.

I was pretty scared of the volume of all the wood logs. I was seriously worried how my back would cope with lifting and mowing heavy logs around. The temperature was around 16 degrees below zero.

After two days of lifting, carrying and stacking wood, I’m very happy AND very sore in most of my muscles. Especially my back L

However, it can’t beat the overwhelming joy I feel when I look at all the great materials, nicely stacked and left to air dry. In manageable pieces ready to pick and use for all kind of woodworking projects…

I’m beginning to use some of the ash today already. Green wood is perfect for steam bending cockpits.