View topic - Who has carved/made their own paddle?

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 9:46 am 
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Thinking of trying this over the winter. Wondering if any of you have made your own paddle and what the learnings were from it?

I know there are lots of small cottage paddle makers out there so I don't "need" to do this but seems like it would be fun to try.

What wood did you use?
Mistakes you made?

What would you do differently or have you done differently?


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 10:19 am 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Might be a good read before beginning...

https://www.amazon.ca/Canoe-Paddles-Com ... 1552095258

Quote:
What would you do differently or have you done differently?



Would have experimented more, right from the start... later on found that shortening the shaft length by three inches on a favorite paddle was one of the modifications that helped with more relaxed going. Previously, purchased paddles were always the "correct" size, measured from throat to grip. Making my own was cheaper than buying so making a shorter one on the chance that it would turn out to be better wasn't taking on much risk on a bad result.

Also trying different grip shapes... some just didn't fit my hand.

The often recommended oval-throated shafts (oval in cross section) weren't for me. Round was better and a somewhat square throat (actually slightly square with rounded corners) recommended by someone at the WCHA website turned out to be a favorite for comfort. Unexpected, but it worked.

You can find good pieces of wood that have been thrown out and laminate them together for a board that costs almost nothing.

Great way to spend long winter nights, carve whatever you want. Better than beer and hockey, anyway, and looking forward to the first spring day to try it for hopefully, an improvement, there waiting in the new paddle.

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Last edited by frozentripper on September 28th, 2020, 10:28 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 10:20 am 
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I've been wanting to do this for a while. Trouble I have is trying to find a place that will sell me the proper sized lumber to begin with. Any ideas on this front would be helpful.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 4:56 pm 
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I made one out of a piece of spruce 2x4 thinking it would just be scrapped as a preliminary learning exercise, but it came out so well I finished it and called that mission accomplished without ever moving on to a real piece of hardwood. In fact, part of the satisfaction was how quickly it was possible to make a paddle.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 5:16 pm 
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Location: HFX, Nova Scotia canada
Ash, no laminating. Made a voyageur style with an oval shaft. Picked a nice chunk of ash with a really neat grain mid blade. Being ash planes wouldn't push through the neat grain section, rasp just tore it up. Thankfully had access to a commercial sander. Favorite flatwater paddle.


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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 6:50 pm 
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Location: Sunny Wasaga Beach
I made one under a lot of guidance(and access to spoke shaves etc) at a workshop. Still derived a lot of satisfaction from it

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PostPosted: September 28th, 2020, 8:05 pm 
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Basswood works nicely and is cheap, light weight, good for the main wood in a laminated paddle
Cherry makes the best one piece paddles strength/weight
If you are in the east, look for local mills in your area and go pay them a visit for the cheapest source for wood.


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PostPosted: September 29th, 2020, 8:24 am 
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scoops wrote:
Ash, no laminating. Made a voyageur style with an oval shaft. Picked a nice chunk of ash with a really neat grain mid blade. Being ash planes wouldn't push through the neat grain section, rasp just tore it up. Thankfully had access to a commercial sander. Favorite flatwater paddle.

Great to hear. I have access to some nice ash...

No commercial sander but pretty jointer/planer set up.


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PostPosted: September 29th, 2020, 9:02 am 
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Mine is made from cherry----I really like the look, the wood grain. Go for the 1 piece

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PostPosted: September 29th, 2020, 9:18 am 
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I made one from a maple blank a looong time ago for a college project. Blanks were sourced from a paddle maker but I cannot recall the name. I left too much wood so it will be a nice little project to get out of storage and shave it down some.

Using “scrap” wood to create a laminate paddle is also a future project.

A great blog by Murat has loads of really nice examples of many, many different paddles
http://paddlemaking.blogspot.com/p/padd ... hives.html


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PostPosted: September 29th, 2020, 12:12 pm 
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Location: Eganville, ON
I've made a large number over the years; from 1 piece to fancy laminates to carbon fiber. I think my favorite (besides the superlight carbon) are an ash shaft with cedar laminated onto the sides. It makes a super light and beautiful paddle. On all of mine I like to add some fiberglass and epoxy to the egdes to prevent the inevitable nicks that all wood paddles eventually get.


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PostPosted: October 1st, 2020, 3:09 pm 
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I've got the Cherry board, hand tools, planes, spokeshave, and this book;
Image

All I need is a free afternoon.. :doh:

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PostPosted: October 1st, 2020, 3:50 pm 
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Location: HFX, Nova Scotia canada
ameaney wrote:
scoops wrote:
Ash, no laminating. Made a voyageur style with an oval shaft. Picked a nice chunk of ash with a really neat grain mid blade. Being ash planes wouldn't push through the neat grain section, rasp just tore it up. Thankfully had access to a commercial sander. Favorite flatwater paddle.

Great to hear. I have access to some nice ash...

No commercial sander but pretty jointer/planer set up.


Planning and layout is so important. A mistake can mean an off center blade/shaft/grip combo that will not be enjoyable to paddle. The strength of ash allowed me to make a very thin blade and small diameter shaft with lots of spring in it. Lots of mileage on it and still looks great.


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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2020, 9:08 am 
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Sbaillie...

Quote:
...my favorite (besides the superlight carbon) are an ash shaft with cedar laminated onto the sides. It makes a super light and beautiful paddle.


Agree 100%, the paddle needs to be lightest at the end, at the blade. The end of the paddle is where most of the movement will be and weight there will result in too much inertia and momentum needing to be overcome with each stroke back and forth.

Another way to make a light paddle is to carve one from a clear cedar board and then cover the entire thing in fiberglass. The soft cedar core when carved down to the final dimensions will seem very light and ridiculously fragile, liable to break with one wrong move... fiberglassing will increase the strength where it counts most, on the outermost surfaces that need to take compression and tension forces. But the cedar core still bruises easily and it's not durable on rocks, at least not with only one layer of 6 oz cloth.

If you try this, glass both sides of the blade at the same time... otherwise the flimsy thin cedar may warp when one side only cures.

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PostPosted: October 2nd, 2020, 4:31 pm 
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I've made several over the years. Beaver tail, ottertail, laminated, cherry, ash, spruce, cedar, etc. However, my favourite wood to work with is sassafras! It carves nicely, has a good look, it's pretty strong and is rot resistant, but the smell it makes while working with it is intoxicating! I kept a chunk of it in my shop and will occasionally shave the end and breathe it in. Yeah, I'm a little weird like that. When I give the wood species lecture ro my students they all snicker and roll their eyes until I pass it around. It can be hard to find, but it's unique enough to stand out from a sea of cherry and ash paddles.


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