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Paddle making for $$??

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Norm Hein, Aug 29, 2019.

  1. Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    My plan is to "retire" to my shop in a couple of years. I figure I will build and or repair a couple of canoes a year and do some other projects for a bit of extra cash. Paddles keep coming to mind. They are not to involved, you don't have to invest a lot of money in materials and they would be enjoyable to make. So the question is: can any money be made making and selling paddles? I personally enjoy the traditional solid wood paddle but it looks like most of the wood paddles on the market are laminated. Does one seem to sell better than the other?
    I have made and sold furniture on the side for over 30 years so I understand it not a big money maker but it has supported my hobbies over the years and that's what I hope to do with more canoe/outdoors related items. Any input would be most appreciated.
  2. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    If your plan is to make paddles that people will use with canoes then it will probably be difficult to make much money. Paddles that get hung on the wall as art might be more profitable. However, these will need to be have interesting designs: laminated, painted, incised, carved, or burned on them to be distinguished from ordinary paddles. See and for some examples. I am looking for a nice Penobscot, Maliseet, or Passamaquoddy style one. Good luck,

    Last edited: Aug 29, 2019
  3. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    I've been thinking a lot about this too. The problem (as I see it) is that if you want to compete with and expensive maker like Shaw & Tenny you'll need to mechanize the process a fair amount. Like incorporating CNC routers big dip tanks, massive drum sander, etc..

    All this for a client base of DIY folks that take pleasure/pride in making their own stuff. I think the key to this would be to diversify into a hot paddling segment of non-DIY folks. That would be the SUP and possibly kayak, rafters, and even kevlar canoe folks.

    The other approach would be what Benson suggests and become an artisan. Building such a reputation would be the key.
  4. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Benson, Monki,
    Good information. I really like the one man operation, low production, high quality products. I am fortunate to know some sporting goods stores owners and Canoe/kayak rental/sales businesses that would be glad to display my wares. Diversity is going to be key I agree. Diversity in product and users.
  5. monkitoucher

    monkitoucher Canoe Curious

    These guys are making a go of it. The video gives you a good idea of what's involved in their operation. They are going after a hipster outdoorsman type client. Which is a thing that WCHA might start looking at? I really don't know if there is a there, there. But it's an interesting burgeoning market.
    Rob Stevens likes this.
  6. OP
    Norm Hein

    Norm Hein Canoe Codger

    Yeah I have been watching these guys for a number of years. My family got me two of their paddles for my birthday. Top notch work. Promoting themselves properly is what made them successful.
    monkitoucher likes this.

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