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 Post subject: Paddle Design
PostPosted: November 21st, 2007, 9:02 pm 
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Joined: July 17th, 2005, 11:55 am
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Location: Bolton, ON
Looking for a paddle template?

Anyone know where I can find one on the internet?

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PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 7:39 am 
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Ontariobackpacker

I presume you are planning on making your own paddles, so my suggestion
is to make your own template... it's easy enough to do... far easier than
making the paddle itself.

I normally cut a slice of 1/8 x 1 inch white pine... which is very flexible at that
dimension and becomes a "Flexible Curve" device... and create my own
designs, and the templates to match. Draw one Longitudinal Half Paddle,
then cut out your Template-Half and flip it over and draw the other half to attain
perfect symmetry.

Good Luck

Sundown


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 8:12 am 
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Location: Bolton, ON
whats the standard width for a beaver tail paddle

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PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 9:04 am 
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Ontariobackpacker

A Beaver Tail normally requires an 8 inch by 60 inch by 1 & 1/8 inch Blank...
but adapt to suit yourself.

Sundown


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 9:16 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
This book, IIRC, provides plans for several types...

http://www.amazon.ca/Canoe-Paddles-Comp ... 546&sr=1-1

Probably not necessary to buy it if you can get a favorite paddle and trace the blade and grip out on paper then use Sundown's method to create the midline to make sure it's symmetrical.

Ted Moores' Canoecraft 2nd edition, provides a chapter on paddlemaking but no plans... it might be available at a library.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 9:42 am 
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Ontariobackpacker

I agree with Frozentripper... copy one the first time, maybe.

For the templates, I prefer a rigid material...
I use 1/8 masonite (or 1/4 ply... even cardboard works OK),
as it's nice to hang onto your templates for the future to loan to your buddies
when they admire your handiwork.

Sundown


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 11:23 am 
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Location: toronto, Ontario canada
Public Library?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 11:52 am 
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ontariobackpacker wrote:
whats the standard width for a beaver tail paddle


Ontario

I'm going to break away from the pack here. I think 8" is way too wide for a beavertail. 6-6 1/2 " for a 28" long blade. It's all about surface area and stroke rate. A 6" wide by 28" long blade is about 140 square inches of surface area. Go up to 8" wide and your at 190 sq. in., too much for any paddle.

Plus, it would look ridiculous.

8-9" wide paddles must have very short blades (18-22") to be useful. They are most useful in control situations like whitewater or freestyle with its slow and powerful strokes.

As soon as you want to pick up the cadence to tripping stroke rates like 30 strokes per minute that 8" wide beavertail is going to tire you out in a hurry.

What are you looking for on a paddle? Mostly flatwater tripping? I'd suggest something more like an ottertail rather than a beavertail. Quieter, more control and able to achieve higher stroke rates = "you get there faster with less effort". I made a narrow ottertail that I can paddle at 60 strokes/minute for quite a ways. Seems counter intuitive, but the long narrow paddles with less resistance will make for greater average speed.

I don't recommend tracing an existing paddle. Why bother unless there is something extraordinary about it? There are lots of "tables of offsets" for paddles available on the net. These are sets of coordinates just like they made us use in high school math to graph functions. Just plot them out on a suitable piece of paper and push a pin or drive a small finishing nail through all the points (use a backing under the paper). Then get a long skinny strip (a "batten") of something flexible (1/8" plexi is fine), place it against all the pins and trace along the batten. Voila, perfect curve!

Then do just like the others have mentioned. Copy the pattern on one side of the centerline and flip the pattern over for its mirror image.

One last thing. You'll need to start with a plank that is 1 1/4" thick if you want to finish up with a paddle 1 1/8" at its thickest (throat area). Trust me, you will need a very stable piece of wood for it not to "move" (warp) once you start removing wood from it. Besides that, all your fairing and finishing will remove close about 1/16" of wood. Much better to start with a little extra thickness. I'd also add a few inches at the ends unless you are dead positive there are no end checks in the plank. :wink:

I can't recommend highly enough Graham Warren and David Gidmark's book "Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Building Your Own." It is the book, and is the one mentioned in the post above. Everything you will ever need to know about paddle making is in the book, along with offsets for many traditional paddles and lots of full sized templates for grips, throats etc. There are also sections on finishing, repair and a great chapter on building a spruce paddle in the traditional native manner with an axe and crooked knife (talk about a lot of work!)

Graham has a web site with tons of info as well.....but I can't provide a link at the moment (these canoeing bookmarks are getting way out of line).

Hey wait...just found it! :clap:

http://homepages.tesco.net/~moosehead/T ... /Home.html

Good luck and feel free to contact me (PM or e-mail) if you need extra advice.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 1:09 pm 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Quote:
I don't recommend tracing an existing paddle. Why bother unless there is something extraordinary about it?


Well, I recommend the exact opposite.

:wink:

A favorite paddle can be made even better by using different materials... I had an old paddle patterned after a Racine, made in cherry, very good-looking but cherry paddles can be somewhat soft - the blades need to be thicker and that can give them a chunky feel.

I made an exact copy in harder ash, with a thinner blade and more flex, and the improvement when slicing and applying power was noticeable.

A third version was made with the light cedar core encased in fiberglass I wrote about earlier... it's lighter than the other two and the fiberglass gives it spring and a resilient feel that plain wood doesn't have.

A fourth version will probably be made in yellow birch which is said to have been used in aircraft construction because of good strength to weight characteristics. Yellow birch isn't used much in paddlemaking, but has a good look if the right board is chosen... still haven't found the right piece.

I might make a carbon fiber version if I can find the right core material.... that one's less certain

So, three versions of the same paddle, with another one or two on the way... each one has been an improvement on the original fave so far, and IMO, well worth doing for finding out about how different materials affect paddling (and after a long day spent on the water, all that experimentation might actually seem worthwhile).

:D

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 2:21 pm 
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Battenkiller

Sundown wrote:
Ontariobackpacker

A Beaver Tail normally requires an 8 inch by 60 inch by 1 & 1/8 inch Blank...
but adapt to suit yourself.

Sundown


Hi BK...

Just wanted to reiterate I suggested an "8 inch by 60 inch Blank".
A Blank refers to a fully dressed and machined "Starting" dimension...
so the "Breakout" (to remove scarf and check) has already been done.
it is also a very good idea to let your wood season/dry fully, long before you
do the Breakout to reduce your stock to Preliminary Dimension.

For Ontariobackpacker, that means commence with at least 72"x 1 &1/4
Rough lumber, or "laid-up" (laminated) strips... with a low moisture content.

With respect to the 1 &1/8 thickness I referenced, BK is probably correct in
suggesting for your "first paddle", you start with 1 &1/4 thick. I am a Cabinet
Maker and Furniture Maker, so it is perhaps less likely that I might either
over-machine or oversand. (Lilydipper often tells folks that I have "Superior
Handskills" at the most inopportune moments :oops: )

Best Lesson you will learn in this project?

"Building a paddle is like Carving a Wooden Duck... start with a block of wood
and get rid of anything that doesnt look like a duck".

Good Luck

Sundown


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2007, 4:46 pm 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Paddle design for cruising and tripping with a bias towards solid wood with good flex... for old geezers like myself.

http://www.mainecampsite.com/paddle.htm

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 23rd, 2007, 4:20 pm 
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Location: Grand Bend Ontario
BK wrote,

Quote:
I can't recommend highly enough Graham Warren and David Gidmark's book "Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Building Your Own." It is the book, and is the one mentioned in the post above. Everything you will ever need to know about paddle making is in the book, along with offsets for many traditional paddles and lots of full sized templates for grips, throats etc. There are also sections on finishing, repair and a great chapter on building a spruce paddle in the traditional native manner with an axe and crooked knife (talk about a lot of work!)


I couldn't agree more, an excellant book on paddle making.

Another I like is "Building outdoor gear " by long time Maine Guide Gil Gilpatrick. I made a paddle using his plans from left over cedar strips for the blade from a canoe build and hardwood for the shaft. Makes for an interesting fairly light paddle.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: November 24th, 2007, 3:05 pm 
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Location: Grand Haven, Michigan U.S.A.
Personally, I think both FT and BK are giving you good advise, and probably the difference between what they are saying has more to do with your own experience with a variety of paddles than anything else. If you have extensive experience with many paddles you might benefit by following BK's idea. You know a little about what you want, and are able to reason through why paddles have certain features. But if you are just starting out and have only paddled with basic CT paddles, you are better off, locating a good paddle and copying it like FT says. Then you are starting with a known entitiy that you know already works. Make an exact copy so you can compare against something that works, and then start modifying. Don't mess around trying to make a beautiful paddle. Make the first few out of cheap scraps. These are paddles that you can use and abuse, and get them out on the water and enjoy them. Once you can build a reliable paddle then spend the big bucks on a nice piece of flawless cherry, or maple, or sitka spruce. But don't start with the $40 chunk of wood, because you will almost inevitably mess up a little, and it would suck to spend big bucks on wood, spend hours of work, and have a paddle that doesn't make you happy.

PK


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