LumberJocks

Kayak / canoe paddle carving

  • Advertise with us

« back to Woodcarving forum

Forum topic by nakmuay posted 08-20-2017 12:45 AM 722 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nakmuay's profile

nakmuay

67 posts in 1164 days


08-20-2017 12:45 AM

Most of my summer has been spent fixing up an old cabin on a lake we bought. Now all of the carpentry’s done, its time for some fun woodworking. I was looking for resources, tricks, tip, plans, anything to do with paddle carving. My plan was to make two canoe paddles and if all goes well a double bladed kayak one. I have some 8/4 maple for the shaft, then I was going to laminate on a blade section, maybe use dowels to reinforce the joints. Finally I was going to Fiberglass and epoxie finish it.
If anybody had any experience it would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks


14 replies so far

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

16704 posts in 1667 days


#1 posted 08-20-2017 12:54 AM

I have no experience making paddles though I really want to. I have done a lot of canoeing though. Is your maple hard maple or soft? Hard would seem to be too heavy to me. I prefer a nice light paddle.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View nakmuay's profile

nakmuay

67 posts in 1164 days


#2 posted 08-20-2017 01:21 AM

I was going to go with hard maple as I thought I’d need a hard wood to stop the shaft from breaking. I could get some red cedar but I was worried it might be too soft?

View msinc's profile

msinc

90 posts in 315 days


#3 posted 08-20-2017 02:26 AM



I have no experience making paddles though I really want to. I have done a lot of canoeing though. Is your maple hard maple or soft? Hard would seem to be too heavy to me. I prefer a nice light paddle.

- firefighterontheside

Yes sir, I agree. I also do a lot of canoeing and store bought paddles are effective but they can get to be real heavy after a long day on the river or pond. I am currently in the process of making a couple canoe paddles. I chose royal paulownia because it is strong but very light weight. I am not done yet though…the wood just got dry enough to do something with it. For my pattern I took one of my store bought ones and made it a little longer on the handle. My reasoning was the longer paddle would be like more leverage and if I find it isn’t doing what I want I can always cut it down a little at a time until I get the feel I want.
No expert on carving here, but the paulownia wood does carve fairly easy and I have a few ideas to make the handle part more ergonomic. The wood itself seems strong enough and I always believed that they make paddles out of several glued together pieces to save wood. I mean a paddle really isn’t that wide to be too worried about it warping? So what if it does? I have always noticed that without exception every single store bought wooden paddle I have owned for some reason had the blade laminations come apart {unglued? maybe never were sealed right?} within a few years use. And I haven’t seen any yet that had a laminated handle…that don’t mean I wont have to with this wood I have chosen. Going to try it solid though for starters. If it proves to need it I will drop back and do it that way. It does seem to be strong enough though once I finish getting the blade tapered down.
Royal paulownia is a beautiful wood and expensive stuff to buy. I was lucky enough to have the tree so it only cost me time and rough milling fees. Seems like I should be doing something better with wood that goes for right around $11.00 per board ft., but then again a really nice lightweight paddle sealed up and finished properly should be worth every penny.
Always interested to hear anyone’s thoughts and ideas about this topic.

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

16704 posts in 1667 days


#4 posted 08-20-2017 02:27 AM

I believe my bending branches paddle has a basswood shaft and a blade made from basswood, alder and maple.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

16704 posts in 1667 days


#5 posted 08-20-2017 02:30 AM

My paddle is all laminated, with the shaft being made from laminations of basswood about 1/8” each.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View msinc's profile

msinc

90 posts in 315 days


#6 posted 08-20-2017 02:27 PM


My paddle is all laminated, with the shaft being made from laminations of basswood about 1/8” each.

- firefighterontheside

Can you tell by looking at it whether or not the laminations are “grain perpendicular” to the load {when being used} or are they parallel? Seems like the reason to laminate the handle or stem would be to add strength, I was wondering which way they oriented the grain? Thanks. I have never seen one that had the handle or stem part laminated…then again, it’s probably because I have never seen a decent quality paddle either!!

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

16704 posts in 1667 days


#7 posted 08-20-2017 02:30 PM

This is not my paddle, but same model. You can see where the laminations end in the blade as it begins to taper. They are parallel.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View msinc's profile

msinc

90 posts in 315 days


#8 posted 08-20-2017 03:02 PM

Okay, yeah, I do see that….makes me wonder now why they did it that way? Was it the old save wood, save money thing? If so, it seems like they didn’t really save too much…was it to give the paddle more spring under load? It seems like to me if the laminates were perpendicular that would make the handle stiffer and have more resistance to bending while pushing with the paddle. I guess a stiffer paddle handle might allow more speed or power, but some springiness might help with less fatigue. Kind of like swim fins?
I just hate to expend valuable wood on a paddle that is less than ideal. Maybe the thing to do is drop back and make a few out of just pine and try them out before using the other stuff. A spare paddle or two is never a bad idea when you’re “up the creek”. Thanks again!!

Edit: another idea just occurred to me as to “why” the laminates…it might be easier to do all the shaping that way. The paddle blades are tapered, maybe they shape them first {even if it’s just rough} and then glue everything up?

View ClaudeF's profile

ClaudeF

498 posts in 1518 days


#9 posted 08-20-2017 06:19 PM

It looks to me like the paddle firefighter shows was laminated for looks using different woods. I don’t think paulownia is a good choice as it is soft and has low strength. Look through this: http://www.wood-database.com/wood-identification/ For a paddle, you want something with a relatively lower dried weight, and high modulus of rupture and high elastic modulus. Birch, such as silver birch, would be better than hard maple. Birch was used by the native Americans for strong lightweight canoes and paddles, among other things. As an example Howard Hughes’ big airplane the Spruce Goose was made entirely of birch…

If you really want light weight and strength, you might consider laminating some bamboo flooring pieces, especially for the paddle handle/shaft.

Claude

-- https://www.etsy.com/shop/ClaudesWoodcarving

View firefighterontheside's profile (online now)

firefighterontheside

16704 posts in 1667 days


#10 posted 08-20-2017 08:24 PM

I see your point about turning the laminations 90° and how that might be stronger, but I believe the laminate stock to be stronger. With a solid shaft it could break along the grain. With laminations the grain is not continuous and therefore is less likely to have a defect that will fail. Think of a baseball bat and how often they break.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View bladedust's profile

bladedust

197 posts in 2077 days


#11 posted 08-20-2017 08:35 PM

I’ve mad a few paddles (37 at one time for a Boy Scout High Adventure) and maple, I think, would be way too heavy. I’ve made mine out of laminated cedar and any light wood I can get. If your worry is the paddles being brittle, the fiberglass and epoxy create a very sturdy and strong paddle and I’ve never had a problem, especially with 36 Scouts beating on them for 12 days. I hope this helps.

-- ok, is it cut once measure twice, cut twice measure once???? I know....I'll just keep cutting until it's long enough.

View wood2woodknot's profile

wood2woodknot

80 posts in 1784 days


#12 posted 08-24-2017 03:32 AM

Granted it was for decorative purposes for my daughter, I carved a 6 ft oar this fall from a 2×10 piece of western red cedar. Very light and easy to work – very positive and fulfilling experience. I took measurements from oars at Bass Pro Shop and a local boat sales store and transferred them to the stock. Cost of WRC was under $30 for a 6-1/2’ x 2” x 10” stock.

My one caution is that WRC is relatively easy to “ding” or dent. Fiberglas, at least for the blade, might be a remedy. I think traditionally some oars were made of cedar. Other than blocking out the oar’s shape with a band saw, all the carving was done with a small box plane, a 3/4” chisel, a rasp, and knife (be sure your tools are sharp to prevent lifting or splitting the grain.) I ended up with three kitchen bags of cedar shavings.

-- ajh

View nakmuay's profile

nakmuay

67 posts in 1164 days


#13 posted 08-24-2017 11:04 PM

Thanks guys, I think I’m going to change from maple to cedar for the spine, maybe use maple to laminate the paddle end like firefighters. Maybe try Paulowina when I know I’m not going to screw it up. I’m pretty surprised that a high end paddle would be basswood, I guess the load must be less than I thought. I appreciate the information

View wood2woodknot's profile

wood2woodknot

80 posts in 1784 days


#14 posted 08-25-2017 12:27 AM

Keep us posted.

-- ajh

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com