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Culture Days will return September 20 – October 13, 2024.

Indigenous: How to Carve a Wooden Paddle


Craft Design Fibre & textile arts History & heritage Indigenous
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This activity runs the duration of Culture Days.


City of Surrey, BC



Offered in English.


Pat Calihou is recognized by the Metis Nation of BC for his creative outreach and education in schools. communities and correctional institutions. A skilled artist and carver, Pat works with wood and art that connects him with his heritage. Preserve Indigenous knowledge and culture by learning how to work with wood and carve a small paddle below.


-coping saw, scroll saw or jig saw

-small clamp

-carving tool (hand planes work best for this type of project)

-sandpaper (60 grit and 120 grit)



Step 1-

Find a piece of wood

-If possible, use recycled fence board

-Purchase a piece from hardware store that is about 1 inch thick by 6 inches wide

Paddles can be many sizes, but it is helpful to work on a smaller paddle if it’s your first time.

Step 2-

Draw out the paddle shape you like with a pencil.

Step 3-

Proceed to cut the shape of your paddle out with your saw. Recycle the unused pieces that are left over.

Step 4-

Clamp the paddle handle to the table, being careful not to tighten too much. It is possible to split paddle in half if too much pressure is applied.

Step 5-

Begin carving paddle blank into desired profile, usually thinner on the paddle itself and thicker on the handle.

Step 6-

After you have the shape you like, begin to sand with 60 grit sandpaper followed by the 120 grit sandpaper. This will make the paddle smooth and ready to paint.

Step 7-

Once you have finished sanding, the paddle is done and ready to decorate. If painting, acrylic paint is preferred.

Step 8-

Once you have decorated the paddle, it is time to seal paddle from the elements. Polyurethane or coconut oil are both efficient sealants.

Step 9-

Congratulations! You have now carved your very own mini paddle.

Artist: Patrick Calihou, Métis Carver

Be sure to post your results on social media using the hashtag #SurreyFusion and tag @surreybcevents.



City of Surrey

The City of Surrey's Special Events team organizes four major special events annually: Party for the Planet, Surrey Canada Day, Surrey Fusion Festival and the Surrey Tree Lighting Festival. Surrey Fusion Festival brings together over 80,000 people annually to celebrate food, music, and culture.


This event is part of a hub:

Virtual Surrey Fusion Festival + Cultural Video Series

City of Surrey City of Surrey, BC

Join us for a virtual Surrey Fusion Festival celebration this year! Presented by Coast Capital Savings, Surrey Fusion Festival will host a virtual livestream followed by a four-week online cultural campaign. Surrey Fusion Festival is th...