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Thread: Todays Project * a new paddle

  1. #1
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    Todays Project * a new paddle

    I scrounged around my barn and found a 4x4 piece of WRC that I had saved when I remodeled a house I owned 10+ years go. Over the years I have broken my pack-rat tendencies except when it comes to wood. Any thing out of the ordinary, wood wise, I am tend to save and I was sure glad I did. I have had the itch to build me a new Greenland paddle for a few weeks and this turned out to be a near perfect piece of wood.

    First thing was to cut it down in smaller pieces. Since I have built a few paddles I had a good idea of what I wanted this time and I wanted something a bit different looks wise. So I scrounged around the wood rack and found something unusual. A piece of quarter sawn spalted sycamore.

    I ripped the board in half and glued up with a strip of the sycamore in the center. Once that set up I glued on some small walnut pieces on the end because the cedar is soft and will get damaged pushing off the bottom or fending of rocks and piers. You can see the blank along side a old paddle that is the shop to be repaired. I broke the tip of the other end.




    First step was laying out the rough shape of the paddle and the saw as much scrap of as I can.




    Then I start shaping the blank. I have learned that I can rough it down really quickly using a rasp on the soft cedar. It will remove a lot of wood quickly and safely. Then I shift to my block planes and start smoothing and shaping the blades.



    Now you can start to see some of the spalting in the sycamore.



    As the blades start to take shape I start working on the shoulders. You hold the paddle with your thumb and forefinger wrapped around the shaft and the other fingers actually rest on the blade. So the shape of the shoulders is important or the paddle is not going to be comfortable.




    It just a lot of hand work to get the shape right. I do a little carving with a chisel. Mostly shape with a round rasp and sand and file a little till it feels right in my hand. Then lots of sanding. Actually that pretty much describes the whole paddle making process.



    After I get it all look right I spend some time holding it, swapping ends, turn it upside down just to make sure it feels right and that all the shoulders are the same or at least feel the same in my hand. I find it very annoying to have a paddle that is not shaped the same top and bottom.

    Here is the finished blade with the first coat of oil. After applying the oil I see a couple of spots that need a little more work. But I will oil it a few times, take it to the water and paddle with it. If everything feels right it I work on it bit more an varnish then.









    Last edited by Jeff Horton; 05-02-2010 at 01:12 AM.
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  2. #2
    Looks awesome Jeff! Did you just but glue the walnut on or did you use a tenon or dowel to help hold it?

  3. #3
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    Be-A-Utiful....

    So, these paddles seem to be longer and thinner than the regular kind, right? Don't know much about paddling, but if looks count, this one should make you go very fast...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    Looks awesome Jeff! Did you just but glue the walnut on or did you use a tenon or dowel to help hold it?
    Alan beat me to the compliments and the question.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  5. #5
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    Lookin' great. Wats WRC?
    A retired doctor friend builds some canoe paddles with a completely different technique. He uses many laminated layers.
    Your rasps seem to do the job quite nicely. I'm thinking (always a dangerous undertaking ) a drawknife might work also.
    "Folks is funny critters."

    Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too. ~Voltaire

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Bienlein View Post
    Looks awesome Jeff! Did you just but glue the walnut on or did you use a tenon or dowel to help hold it?
    First one I used two dowels. When I shaped the blade I planed into the dowels. Next one I used a biscuit (the finished one in the photo) and not thinking I ran the grain the wrong way. I eventually broke the tip and the biscuit broke too. Glue joint was solid.

    So now I just glue them on with Titebond III. After all, the tests say the glue is stronger than the wood and so far so good. They don't see much force on them anyway and I now keep the tips shorter so there is less leverage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Dowell View Post
    Be-A-Utiful....

    So, these paddles seem to be longer and thinner than the regular kind, right?
    I should have mentioned this is what is referred to as a Greenland style paddle and what you see mostly is called a Euro(European) style paddle. This is the original style paddle... well at least very similar to what the Inuits used. It has an airfoil shape to blade and despite its looks works amazingly well. Largely due to is airfoil shape from what I understand.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Fusco View Post
    Lookin' great. Wats WRC?
    A retired doctor friend builds some canoe paddles with a completely different technique. He uses many laminated layers.
    Your rasps seem to do the job quite nicely. I'm thinking (always a dangerous undertaking ) a drawknife might work also.

    WRC is Western Red Cedar.

    I stay away from a draw knife. I just don't have good skills with one and you can ruin a paddle blank in a hurry if you don't know what your doing. And I don't!

    I am guessing your friend builds Euro paddles or Single blade 'canoe' paddles? I have seen and I am toying with building a couple of paddles made from laminating up layers. It makes some interesting patterns when you carve them. But there is so much wood in one of these that weight is critical. So that is why most people use WRC or something similar.

    I have a beautiful piece or cedar from the post I resawed that has a huge knot running through what would be the center of one blade. I am thinking of just cutting it out and gluing in a piece of contrasting wood. Maybe some basswood since it is nice and white. Even thought about gluing up strips to make a Chevron pattern on that one blade. That would make a unique paddle.

    I am a little concerned how it would hold up since it is end grain jointing. If I do this I will use epoxy on that joint. Chevrons might be pushing my luck but it would be one of kind!
    God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway,
    the good fortune to run into the ones I do,
    and the eyesight to tell the difference.


    Kudzu Craft Lightweight Skin on frame Kayaks.
    Custom built boats and Kits

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Schenectady, NY
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    912
    That's a beauty Jeff. Very nice work. Hope it serves you well. Thanks for the guided tour.
    Don Orr

    Woodturners make the World go ROUND

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