Sunday, September 6, 2009

Paddle Making

So, the guy who bought my canoe bought "custom" wooden paddles from some dude on the internet. A guy who makes at least a good part of his living making canoe paddles. My buddy paid $160 ea. for two paddles. I was looking at one the other day and was somewhat less than impressed.

I told my friend that I really couldn't talk since I had not made a canoe paddle but the quality and craftsmanship were somewhat lacking. My buddy agreed that he wasn't happy with the craftsmanship considering what he paid. This was exactly the motivation I needed to get busy making a paddle though and the fruits of my labor are in the pics below. This is my first paddle, and I am quite pleased with how it turned out.

I used left over strips from the canoe for the blade and a strip of scrap white oak for the spine. Then I laminated some mahogany that I have for the remainder of the shaft. Finally, having decided on a "T" style grip instead of a palm grip, I used some more white oak to mortise and tenon (with a through tenon) to attach that. I also wedged the through tenon. The grip looks a little clunky for a "T" grip, but it feels like a palm grip.

I glassed the blade with some extra glass cloth that I had lying around. It is 6 oz. but I think if I started to make paddles, I would get my hands on some 4 oz instead.

I finished it today and I will be taking it on a canoe trip next weekend with the boyscouts. I will pass it around to all the adults to get their feedback on what they like and, more importantly, what they don't like, and I will incorporate the changes into #2.

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