Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Bending Branches - 2

The Series "A" paddle is sanded and ready for finishing.

Paddles hanging in preparation for a varnish dip.  In the middle
are wood blades for kayak paddles.

Another selection of wood paddles ready for finishing.

Greg holds a completed Sunburst paddle, one of four versions
of this design.

The beautifully finished Series "A" limited edition.  The only thing left
is to slide it into the embroidered sueded-cloth paddle bag it comes with.

Another line includes the laminated fiberglass kayak paddles.  This
is the start of the Angler Pro, which is done either in a sea green, shown
here, or a camo design.  The colors are created by including colored
silk into the laminate.  Once the laminate is hand-laid on half of a
polished metal mold, the two halfs of the mold, each part weighing 60 lbs.,
are pressed together until the laminate cures.
Linda is both inspector and shipper.  While she gets occasional help
from others, she is likely the last person at Bending Branches to handle your
paddle before it goes out the door.  She checks for quality of production
and finish, assembly, for balance, and since she handles between 500,000
and 600,000 paddles a year, she can pick a paddle up and tell within one
ounce if it meets its designed finish weight. 
Then, next to an overhead
door rests a selection of kayaks and canoes.  The staff not only design and
make paddles, but whenever they can, they run down to the St. Croix and
spend the day on the water using them.  Tough, no?  I guess that comes under
the heading of "on the job training."  The bottom line is that they are great
folks making great paddles that will add immensely to your pleasure on
the water.  At their site, you can view all the paddles, get information on paddle
maintenance and care, size and selection guide, a video library, and more.

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