Canoe Paddles

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Project by Phil Brown posted 05-29-2007 06:30 PM 2184 views 1 time favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A couple of years back I went with a young friend to his high school woodworking shop to observe as the students made canoe paddles just after the school year ended. The atmosphere was informal so I asked to participate as there seemed to be left over lumber that students hadn’t shown up to purchase and mill.

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I purchased two ash boards and bandsawed them to shape. Unfortunately they weren’t thick enough to get the profile I wanted so I epoxied strips on, the look I wasn’t crazy about.

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The students weren’t allowed to profile the plane of their blades on the bandsaw but the teacher allowed me to, which saved a lot of shaping time. I watched as they spokeshaved their paddles to shape and went out to my vehicle and produced a body grinder with a soft backing pad which made short work of the shaping process.

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I finished one of the paddles and coated the blade with fiberglass resin which I orbital sanded, then wet sanded to a gloss finish. The rest of the paddle received a polyurethane clear. I added the black lacquer ring for a small embellishment.

The first paddle served me well for a number of years, then I decided to hang it up and paint a scene on it. I got as far as adding the minwax polyshades mahogany mixed with clearcoat on one side before I thought of taking pictures of the process, and the other blank which was out at the farm in my shed full of wannabe projects.

So here they are, and I hope to get a nice scene painted on the used paddle which I can sell as artwork.

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-- Phil Brown, Ontario

6 comments so far

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 4030 days

#1 posted 05-29-2007 06:32 PM

That’s cool Phil. The ice took out the rudder on my dad’s sailboat this spring so I’m about to undertake a mahogany replacement for it. You have inspired me, and reminded me, to do so.


-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View Bill's profile


2579 posts in 4155 days

#2 posted 05-29-2007 06:33 PM

Very nice Phil. I can see people with lakeside cottages wanting to hang a paddle on their wall. And adding a picture would make it even better.

-- Bill, Turlock California,

View Don's profile


2603 posts in 4170 days

#3 posted 05-30-2007 12:42 AM

Man, Phil, one wouldn’t want to leave ant flat surfaced object around you, you’d just paint a scene on it. LOL

Come to think about it, perhaps that’s exactly what one would want to do, it would be a way of obtaining one of your artistic masterpieces.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!"

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 4052 days

#4 posted 05-30-2007 06:39 AM

Don, I painted a loon scene on a regulatory emergency paddle for a boating couple. They loved it so much and were worried someone would steal it that they screwed it to the back of the boat. I asked them how they would get at it in an emergency. They just shrugged their shoulders. I heard they later sold the boat and bought an rv. I wonder if the painted paddle is screwed to a wall in the rv somewhere.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View PanamaJack's profile


4483 posts in 4071 days

#5 posted 05-30-2007 06:47 AM

Cool paddles Don.

-- Carpe Lignum; Tornare Lignum (Seize the wood, to Turn the wood)

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4240 days

#6 posted 05-30-2007 05:09 PM

Very nice story Phil, and nice paddles. You are one artistic son of a gun. Thank the Lord that he has given you this unique talent, not everyone can do what you do. jockmike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

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