Carve Your Own Canoe Paddle Weekend Course

Carve your own custom canoe paddle using traditional handtools


  • Course Info
  • Dates: August 19-21st 2022
  •  Max. Size: 10
  • Tuition: $250

Making and using your own tools and gear is arguably the most rewarding thing you can do if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors. This weekend program will walk you through the basics of hand tool use and maintenance, and into the art of making a paddle that’s comfortable, and custom-designed for and by you. If you’ve ever used a generic plastic canoe paddle or even a mass-produced wooden model, you’ve experienced the same thing most paddlers have. Generalized outdoor gear tends to be “one size kind of fits nobody”, and with something like a canoe paddle, that can mean less efficient paddles strokes or an uncomfortable day on the water. This course will let you walk away with the first paddle that’s sized and shaped exactly for you, and an understanding of the tools and techniques necessary to make another one if the urge should strike.

Students can either camp out on the SOTF campus for the weekend or meet us each morning for the start of class. This course is designed for all ages, but anyone under 15 will need a parent or other adult with them.


Topics covered include:

  • Hand Tool Use
  • Tool Care
  • Low Infrastructure Woodworking
  • Wood Carving Project Set Up And Steps
  • Reading Wood Grain
  • Sizing And Design Of A Canoe Paddle

Gear List

Any Handtools you already have, but we’ll have plenty on hand for students to use.

If you’re interested in getting your own tools and learning how to use them here’s a list of what we’ll be using. You can find these at some hardware stores, but if you want to get outfitted with tools by someone who knows what to look for, get in touch with our friend Don Merchant at Pole And Paddle.

  • Drawknife
  • Spokeshave
  • Ferriers rasp
  • Cabinet scraper

Travel Information and Directions: Our campus is located just outside of Brattleboro Vermont in a little town called Guilford. After you register you will receive local driving directions to our site.

Arrival and Departure:  If You’re staying for the weekend, plan to arrive on Friday afternoon, between 4 and 6. We’ll have dinner, a group introduction and a tour of the grounds starting at 6. The course is over on sunday at 4 PM. If you’re commuting, please arrive at 9am each day of the course.

Accommodations:   Bring a tent, tarp, or another shelter. It will be your home for the week. For summer programs please consider bringing a bug net if you don’t have noseeum netting on your tent. We’re located just outside of Brattleboro, and there are plenty of hotels and air BnB style lodging available if needed.

Meals:   Information on food and meals at the field school is located at About The Field School: Food.

Cancellation and Refund Policies:   Please visit our School Policies page for information on all of our policies.

What is included with the tuition:   Included in the tuition are all camping fees, group food, instruction, and group gear.

What is not included with the tuition:   Not included with the tuition are personal gear, items from town and any food or meals other than the group bulk foods provided.

Course Insurance:   Adventure travel and wilderness education are not inexpensive, and anything can happen when we’re in the bush. We recommend that all participants have medical insurance. We also recommend you protect your investment with travel insurance for trips and tuition insurance for courses.

Vehicles and Parking:  We’re located on a private dirt down a gravel road. During the winter and spring the road can be impassable for 2-wheel drive vehicles.

Telephone: We don’t have a phone or electricity in our teaching area. If you need to be in constant phone contact please consider bringing a cell phone, and if you need to charge a phone (or other electronic devices), please look into getting a charger or bringing extra batteries.

Other: Please don’t bring any pets or illegal drugs.

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

We reserve the right to include or omit any of the course topics listed due to class interest, availability of materials, inclement weather, or other factors that make them impractical or unsafe.

If you have questions about the course, don’t hesitate to contact us.