Our Story



The Graves Canoe Company grew out of my passion for woodworking, graphic design, and spending countless hours immersed in nature. At age 13 when most kids were making cheese boards in wood shop, I opted instead to turn an African mahogany floor lamp on a lathe, and at that moment my kinship with woodworking was born. I love sculpting wood into beautiful canoe paddles blurring the line between form and function.

I also love exploring places that few people venture to see, like North Manitou Island; Algonquin Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada; and the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York. There are all kinds of outdoor adventures to be had, but to me there’s nothing better than camping and canoeing with friends and family. I’ve been thrown from a raft into the frigid whitewater of the Youghiogheny’s Lower Yough, and I’ve run the rapids of North Carolina’s Nantahala. Equally rewarding is a peaceful row across grandma Marvin’s pond; it’s a great place to slip back in time. With over 11,000 inland lakes and 51,438 miles of river, I count myself lucky to have canoed down local rivers like the Pine River, Rifle River and watching a mayfly hatch on the blue ribbon, Ausable River.

My design education from the College for Creative Studies along with my passion for sculpting wood has led to a simple goal of building the best canoe paddle. So when you’re exploring, a beast of a river, or a slow paddle on the lake, it’s my hope that a paddle from the Graves Canoe Company will be a part of your life’s adventures.

– Phil Graves
  Wood Sculptor