Up the Creek with an Oar

In the September issue of Down East, which calls itself ‘The Magazine of Maine’, there is a nice little article about the old oar and paddle making company Shaw & Tenney in Orono, Maine. The company was founded in 1858 and today has seven workers who hand-make all the products: oars, paddles, masts, spars, flag poles, and parts for canoes, kayaks and Adirondack guide boats, etc.

I had, of course, heard about the company before, but it was first when I began looking around for a pair of sculls that I spent some time on Shaw & Tenney’s website – lovely stuff. I did not buy a set of sculls from the company this time as, in a round about way, I came across some used sculls.

While the company sells mainly oars and paddles to be used on an outing, so to say, they have also started to sell ‘engraved paddles’. One of the latest ones of this kind was actually sold to Paul McCartney’s children who wanted to order an engraved paddle for their father for his birthday. Shaw & Tenney has also sold props to different films, Virginia M. Wright writes in her article in Down East.

One of the problems for a small company as Shaw & Tenney, the article tells us, is that the company does not have a large inventory, as it hand-crafts oars and paddles more or less ‘on demand’. One big order for the company was when another Maine based company, L.L. Bean, ordered 500 paddles because of the company’s 100-year anniversary this year.

If you are looking for a first-class, handcrafted pair of sculls for your boat, Shaw & Tenney is probably the company for you! Here is a video from the company:

The photograph on top is from Shaw & Tenney’s website.

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