Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Building a Norsaq

A Norsaq, or rolling pin as they are now commonly referred too, is a hunting tool used by the Aleuts and Inuits.  The carved wooden tool was primarily used to aid the throwing of a harpoon to hunt.  If the kayak was to roll over, the norsaq was used as a paddle to right the kayak. The Norsaq has become a popular accessory for the Greenland enthusiast as a rolling pin.
Here is my finished piece.  I had a short piece of 1/4" red cedar lying around from my boat build so decided to have a go.  Granted it is a bit dull looking compared to the one's on the market with vinyl inlays and contrasting woods, but this is all I had.
 I started off drawing the outline.  My design is a varied mix of styles.  Most Norsaq would have a hollow channel up the middle and two holes to house the harpoon.  As I will not be hunting whales I left this out.
Next I roughly used a jig saw to get the desired shape.  Traditional Norsaqs are also quite narrow.  As mine would be used primarily as a rolling tool I shaped it more like the end of a Greenland paddle.  The V in the top is for the thumb and the W at the bottom for my first three fingers from the pinkie.  The size of the paddle is two outstretched palms and one index finger from second knuckle to tip.  The width at the handle is three fingers.
Next I marked out the angles.  Simply rounded at the handle and sloping off to a point at the tip, much like a Greenland paddle.
Lots of plaining and sanding!
Attention to detail.  I drilled a finger sized hole for my index finger, a design used in some Norsaqs.
Drying out with four coats of boiled linseed and a few coats of varnish and I have a nice shinny Norsaq.  I think I will have a go at making some more traditional styles with some better wood in the future.    Now to try it out....


Taran Tyla said...

Hey Stu, as your rolls been a bit sketchy lately I'm guessing you really made it for the misses ;D

Stuart said...

What spanking stick! ;0)