Shaw & Tenney of Orono, Maine - Hand Crafted Wooden Oars and Paddles since 1858Skipnav
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Classic Wooden Paddles

 Classic Wooden PaddlesAll of our traditional canoe and kayak paddles are handcrafted from the finest available clear woods by our craftsman. In addition to single paddles you will find our unique Double Bladed Canoe paddle patterned after L. Francis Hereshoff’s design, our Limited Edition Custom Wood Burned Paddles, Greenland Kayak Paddles and traditional canoe setting poles.

The major factor in determining the proper paddle length is the length of the shaft. As blade lengths in beavertail paddles are essentially the same, paddle length is easily determined by measuring from the floor to the cleft of the chin for a bow paddle, or to the bridge of the nose for a stern paddle. As we are all anthropometrically similar, this length works well for most people.

For the Racine paddle, paddlers taller than 66” will be more comfortable with a longer paddle. Paddlers less than 66” should use the shorter paddle. These recommendations are not carved in stone, if you feel that a longer or shorter paddle would be more comfortable, go with your personal preference.

For each of our paddles we offer standard woods which are listed in the specific paddle description. We also offer a variety of specialty woods for which there is an extra charge.

Spruce Spruce
An extremely light and strong softwood, spruce is an excellent choice for an all- around paddle which will not be subject to a lot of impact with rocks or obstacles. We generally do not recommended Spruce paddles for whitewater.
Ash Ash
A very durable and strong open grain hardwood, ash is heavier than spruce and well suited for any application including whitewater. Grain patterns and heartwood in ash can be strikingly attractive.
Soft Maple Soft Maple
A strong but fairly heavy closed grain hardwood, soft maple makes a durable paddle and often will have a very nice grain pattern.

Cherry Cherry
A beautiful wood for paddles, cherry is a deep red closed-grained hardwood. It is strong and durable enough for any paddling application. Because of its rich color we recommend our oil finish.
Walnut Walnut
A dark, rich colored hardwood, when oiled (recommended) walnut paddles are stunning in appearance. It can be slightly heavy depending on the particular grain and density, but generally has a very nice flex and is suitable for all paddling uses.
Birdseye  Maple Birdseye and Curly Maple
Because of its unique qualities and beauty, Birdseye (left) or tiger (right) maple paddles are prized. The heaviest of hardwood paddle stock, hard maple paddles are extremely strong and durable.
Curly Maple
Sassafras Sassafras
One of our favorite paddle woods, Sassafras is a light, flexible hardwood that has the marvelous quality of darkening over time. Because it grows in a small area of the United States and is generally not commercially harvested, it can be difficult and costly to obtain.
The finish on each of our paddle styles is noted in the paddle description. There are two basic finishes, though you may request the finish of your choice on any hardwood paddle except Birdseye and Curly Maple..

Our specially-formulated marine urethane varnish is extremely durable and UV resistant. It is applied to a thickness the equivalent of five and one-half brush coats and is a gloss finish. One question we are often asked is “why don’t you varnish the grip?” It prevents blisters on the grip hand.


Our unique oil finish enriches the beauty of our specialty woods and is very easy to maintain. When the paddle feels dry or stops beading water simply wipe on an additional coat of oil.  We recommend any good quality exterior oil and our favorites are Watco Oil, Danish Oil, Teak Oil, and Tung Oil.

The Penobscot

The Penobscot Go to Online Store
With its traditional pear grip and 6-1/2" beavertail blade, this is our bestselling model. It is at home in any kind of water. The standard woods are varnished Spruce or Ash and it is supplied in lengths from 36” to 78”.

Model 1897 Paddle

The Model 1897 Go to Online Store
The best available native Maine ash is worked down to the lightest possible blade, barely 1/4 ” thick in the center of the 6 1/2 ” beavertail blade. The unique grip provides for both a top and side grip for paddling comfort. The 1897 is stained to enhance the natural beauty of the wood and oiled to give it a patina which improves with age. It is available in lengths from 54” to 66”.
Model 1897Grip

 Racine Paddle The Racine Go to Online Store
This special paddle is a replication of a paddle originally sold by the Racine Boat Company of Wisconsin. This paddle was offered with the sale of each of their wood/canvas canoes until the company went out of business in the twenties. Fast becoming our best selling paddle, many repeat orders attest that it’s as great to use as it is beautiful. It is a very quiet paddle,and, because the blade is only 5” wide, it lends itself very well to the North Woods stroke as well as to solo paddling. The unique rounded grip is extremely comfortable. Stained and varnished ash or varnished soft maple are our standard offerings, but specialty woods are the most common in this paddle (walnut blade shown). The Racine is available in the two original lengths, 58-1/2" and 63-1/2", which seem to work perfectly for everyone.

Maine Guide Paddle The Maine Guide Go to Online Store
An 8” blade and a wide grip allow this paddle to move the maximum amount of water. It is especially useful in those situations where a great deal of maneuverability is necessary. Because of its size, we do not recommend this for ordinary paddling. It is available in varnished ash and spruce but, because of its width, other species may not be available.
Maine Guide Grip
Grand Lake Stream Paddle The Grand Lake Stream Paddle Go to Online Store
The Grand Lake Stream was designed by a Maine Guide for taking sports down the stream of the same name. The finest ash is worked down to an oval shaft smaller than our standard paddles, providing a very flexible paddle. The unique blade shape is well balanced and a delight to paddle with. Offered either unfinished or varnished its length is 70” which is suited for regular paddling and standing.

Grand Lake Stream Paddle Grip
Algonquin Paddle The Algonquin Go to Online Store
This narrow bladed paddle is patterned after the Cree and Ojibwa hunting paddle. It is both quiet and easy to use for the leisure-minded traditionalist. Standard in varnished ash in lengths of 54”, 60”, 66” and 72”.
  Nylon Paddle Bags Paddle Bags Go to Online Store
Protect your paddles with our Nylon Paddle Bags. Each bag holds two paddles or one Double Blade separating them with a vellex divider to prevent them from chaffing. Available in 60”, 66”, and 72” lengths, the Forest Green bag is machine washable.

Go to Online StoreCanoe Setting Poles

CANOE SETTING POLES and pole shoes
Our traditional canoe setting poles are 12’ in length and available in straight or tapered shapes. An optional two-piece pole is available by special request. They are supplied in unfinished spruce.

We also offer a canoe setting pole shoe in mananese bronze.  It is available in our online store in Canoe Parts and Accessories.


P.O. Box 213, 20 Water Street, Orono, Maine 04473 - Toll-Free: 800-240-4867 or 207-866-4867
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Shaw & Tenney of Orono, Maine - Hand Crafted Wooden Oars and Paddles since 1858