Finally getting around to it...


Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes
A new paddle--and this time I'm trying an epoxy tip and fiberglassing the blade. Though it is by no means perfect, it seems to be going pretty well for my first effort trying these two techniques. Here are some pictures:

We have one more day of good weather before another cold front moves through, so I'm hoping to glass the power face tomorrow after my afternoon tutorial. I'll have to wait for the next warm front for the two additional coats, though.
Here is a photo after glassing the front face. It didn't turn out too badly, though I can certainly improve on my technique in the future.

That cedar is awfully pretty, with some flame thrown in for magic.

I have a question for those of you who have glassed your paddles. Did you then coat the blade with varnish? It seems like the epoxy scratches fairly easily, and perhaps varnish would offer some protection? On the other hand, wouldn't the varnish just chip off the epoxy?
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You should always varnish over epoxy - the main reason being UV protection. Epoxy by itself has a fairly limited UV life and it should be periodically overcoated with a marine varnish with good UV filters. It's a good idea to wash the epoxied surface with plain water and give it a light sanding (or scotchbrite pad rub-down) before varnishing to make sure you're not trying to varnish over any amine blush or other gunk on the resin's surface. The actual hardening takes place over a week or more, so your resin will continue to harden a bit as time goes by. It's probably not a bad idea to give it a week or so to harden before varnishing over it.
Thanks, Todd. That answers my question completely. It does seem as though the epoxy needs something for protection, but my worry was whether the varnish would adhere. Sanding was the missing piece of the puzzle.
Finally finished

I finished the paddle and it is now curing. Here are some photos:

Thoughts: the epoxy tip was ridiculously easy--I don't know why I put off trying it for so long. However, it was hard to get a perfect finish on the glassed blade--I kept getting holidays and bubbles, and it is much shinier than I like my paddles to be. Also, it added a lot more weight than I'd expected and created a weird kind of balance to the blade. Even though I used WRC, I'm not sure that it is any lighter than my hardwood paddles at this point, which makes me wonder why I'd use the glassing again in the future...

I dunno, I'm not sold on glassing my paddles. Like that epoxy tip, though...

Anyone have any thoughts on the merits of the glassing versus simply making a lightweight hardwood paddle? Mine have held up pretty well without glassing, but I probably don't get as much chance to use/abuse paddles as some do, so maybe they would be a lot worse for wear if I actually lived near water...
I would argue that 'glass is only necessary for paddles that will get abused... that said, I'll admit that I abuse all of mine. If you paddle only deep water, or are better than I am at switching to a plastic paddle before you find the rocks, 'glass is pretty much overkill. But my paddles are used almost weekly, year 'round, and the rocks jump up & bite them...

I'll also put in a plug for paddle bags, not only to store them, but especially for any time they're riding in the back of the car. Some of the worst scratches happen during car shuttles. A friend of mine buys fleece at fabric stores, I leave the paddle at her house, and it comes back wrapped in its own sleeping bag, complete with a hang loop. As soon as she tells me what she wants for her next paddle, I'll start working on it.

Very nice piece of work, by the way! Looks like not as many pieces as you sometimes put into a paddle?
Yes, I think that if I used my paddles more often, I'd probably be singing a different tune. Would that it were so...

I did use fewer pieces. I needed to throw this one together for a paddlemaking demo and so kept it pretty simple. Plus, I think the WRC has a beautiful grain and this shows it off better...

BTW, I'd love to be able to canoe weekly. What a way to live...I'm sure you cherish it.
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Hello: I am getting into paddle making and I have been reading your posts and I want to thank you for them. I find them very informative and helpful as well as great reading. I do have a question if you can help I would be very greatful. I am looking for a source for clamping tools to hold the paddle while I sand it, etc. The ones I see in some pictures of other workshops, look like they are on a stand of some kind and they clamp around the shaft of the paddle. Thanks in advance for any information you can give me. Hammy