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paddle material...gotta loose some weight

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by JPembleton, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. JPembleton

    JPembleton Chest Nut

    Hey Folks, I tried my hand at making a strip paddle. Not being a woodworker at all, it took me a bit of time to figure out how to effectively use a spoke shave. Now that I have most of the bugs worked out of my technique I've ended up with a half decent paddle. The grip is not shaped yet but for the most part it's done.

    My issue is the weight and how do I reduced it on the next paddle?

    I used tamarack with a strips of white ash for the shaft. Walnut,butternut,ash and tamarck for the strips to make the blade.

    What would be a good choice or combination of woods to make the shaft and blade while maintaining a strong narrow shaft and rugged blade?


    Attached Files:

  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    paddle material

    Looks pretty nice, I'd say...

    I'm not familiar with tamarack as a woodworking wood (sure burns nicely), but the others you listed aren't particularly dense woods, so I'm guessing you've just got it too thickly built.

    How thick is the blade? My first paddle was way heavy, but the blade was ~1/4" at the edges, and got thicker toward the middle. Shave it down to 1/8" at the edges, and maybe 3/8 to 5/16 in the center, and see how it feels.

    Also, how long is the blade, and how long is the overall paddle? In the pic, it looks like a pretty short blade on a really long shaft. This could be just way out of balance.

    Do you have the book, "Canoe Paddles, a complete guide to making your own" which is available at the WCHA store?
    It has a lot of great info about sizing & shaping paddles, as well as wood species suggestions.
  3. OP

    JPembleton Chest Nut

  4. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    paddle material

    For shallow rocky streams (like the ones I'm on all the time), you'll want something more than just wood around the edges. The first time you whack a submerged rock with your handmade pride & joy, you'll know how bad it feels...

    See previous threads that talk about 'glassing the blade, wrapping the edge with 1/8" line, or making an epoxy edgeband. All of these options provide greater protection for the blade edges, and are replaceable, so you lose a minimal mount of the wood when it's time to re-work them. ;)

    The blades I use strictly in deep water (no 'glass, etc) are just barely over 1/8" thick at the edge. Blades that get glassed are just under 1/8", and tend to be thinner in the center.

    Also, check the balance. It should balance somewhere right around the top end of the blade, maybe just a bit higher. If not, then it'll feel unwieldy while paddling.

    Once you get it in the water, it'll be perfect... until you decide to start on your next one...

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