laminated paddles


Curious about Wooden Canoes
I have a problem finding boards large enough to make single piece paddles from. I have decided to try and make a few laminated paddles from but I can't find a way to make the edges of the boards perfectly strait. I don't have the money to buy a jointer/planer or router table. I am looking for any helpful ideas.
Use whatever you have...

Do you have a router? You don't need a table for it. If so, try a 1/4" spiral bit using a straight edge to guide the router, keep the router in good contact with the board and straight edge, work at a good speed and don't try to take off too much at a time...1/8" or less. Clamp everything down good. This also sounds like a good time to become savy with a jointer hand plane and no dust flying around, also nice and quiet! Well tuned table saws with a good blade work as will a circular saw using the above mentioned straight edge and a good blade. Check some of the wood working sites for thin kerf planer blades and some hints. Many moons ago and no resources, I built a kayak and laminated paddle with only a circular works.

Best of luck...

Ric Altfather
Though obviously not ideal if you do a lot of rock bashing, I've been hacking Greenland-style kayak paddles out of carefully selected Home Depot cedar 2x6's lately and absolutely love them. They're lighter than my big-buck carbon paddle and balance better. Some are going on their third season and still look and work just fine. These three cost me a total of about $20 to make and canoe paddles would be even cheaper because you can use shorter stock. A cedar paddle may or may not make a good all-purpose paddle for you, but at that price it's worth building one to try just for fun. I rough cut them on the bandsaw and then do all the tapering and thinning with a spokeshave. They're light and lively to use. The paddle on the left is 7' long and only weighs 22 oz.


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These are all made from single boards based on Calib Davis's design. The two outside cherry paddles came from a single 5/4" X 6" board for about $17 total. The middle paddle is from basswood...won't take a lot of punishment but really light weight, about $8. The more you laminate...the more weight you accumulate. Try Todd's advice by making one from a Home Depot's good practice, produces a good paddle and cheap! Then, you can move on to other woods or not.


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