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Forum topic by Bob Babcock posted 04-30-2007 07:17 PM 1527 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2742 days


04-30-2007 07:17 PM

Topic tags/keywords: canoe paddle

Anyone have any experience building canoe paddles? I’m looking for info (I have the rough dimensions) on construction of a semi-traditional Hawaiiin canoe paddle. I say semi-traditional because it will be much longer and I think I want to do a bent lamination of the paddle section itself. This will be used for stand up paddleboarding. I’m looking for a combination of strength and beauty.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org


14 replies so far

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MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2816 days


#1 posted 04-30-2007 08:20 PM

i’m pretty sure there was a plan in Canadian Woodworking Magazine but I couldn’t find it.

But, here’s a site from an online search.

http://www.wcha.org/paddles/northwoods/

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 2714 days


#2 posted 04-30-2007 08:29 PM

I’ve built a couple of paddles out of ash, laminating thin pieces on to the blank to add to the paddle and grip sections.

I was visiting a highshool woodshop watching the students make paddles out of ash. Not content to just observe I asked for and received two ash boards to which I added laminations to the grips and lower sections to get a thicker profile. The students had to spokeshave their profiles after bandsawing the rough outlines. I was allowed to bevel my blades on the bandsaw.

I would buy thicker material if I built paddles again, avoiding lamination. It works but I didnt like the contrast. One of those paddles is around here somewhere. I’ll try to dig it out and get a photo. I like painting native and wildlife scenes on them. I do scenes on new paddles for folks.

I spokeshaved for awhile but brought a body grinder in from my car with a soft backer pad and made short work of the smoothing process.

I also “painted” the blade on one of the paddles with fiberglass resin and smoothed it out so it looked like clearcoat and protected the edges very well.

Hope someone can help with the bent lamination process for you Bob.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

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Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2742 days


#3 posted 05-01-2007 12:28 AM

This is going to be a gift for my brother who has gotten interested in stand up paddleboarding. He’s coming across country this summer. He’s racing in a bunch of vintage car races across the country and Canada…how far is Bowmanville from you Phil? He’s racing there in late June.

He’s bringing a paddleboard with him. For those of you that might see a tall white haired guy on a huge surfboard paddling across some mid-west lake make sure you say Hi. I’m sure there can’t be too many like him out there.

Next question would be the wood to use…strong but light….I’d like some nice grain too. This will be interesting to make. The reason I was thinking of the laminated blade is because the bottom of SUP paddles are curved like a spoon. Look here for the shape….these are carbon fiber though. http://www.standuppaddles.com/paddles.shtml And of course I feel a need to customize the design some. I was thinking almost like a 3 prong fork with a blade (think duck foot). Not sure how I’m going to pull it off…definitely not something I would normally do.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

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Phil Brown

219 posts in 2714 days


#4 posted 05-01-2007 03:47 PM

Bob, I’m just a hop skip and a jump from Bowmanville. My sister lives a half hour north of the community. I’m about two hours away. My trucking run will take me closer when it changes depots in June.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

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Phil Brown

219 posts in 2714 days


#5 posted 05-01-2007 05:06 PM

I had to leave for a bit but looked at the carbon fiber paddles on that site. Wow, they’re neat. My first thought was too use thicker wood and scoop the blades like a chair seat to get the profile. I’m sure a blade could be steam bent and contoured to these profiles but it would take some doing to get them to be a mirror image on both halves.

I’ve seen paddles made from ash, cherry, poplar, cedar, basswood, and maple, and laminated combinations of these species for decoration. I think cherry or maple would have nice grain and the strength, but these standup paddles are considerably longer than normal and I see that the shafts are tapered up, to the blade.

I’ve dreamed of chucking a blank paddle in a long bed lathe and turning the handle that way, then shaping the grip and blade by hand.

This project would stretch me for sure but it is very interesting. I llive in an area full of lakes and rivers, fishing, boating, tourism. I’m sure I’ll see this new phenomenon of standup paddling around here and look forward to it, and to your paddle project Bob.

I edited this with another thought. I have plastic blade paddles with hardwood handles. It would be within my skills to trim the blades to the new, smaller profile and heat them to bend to the neccessary shape, then build and shape a new handle.

I’ve been given about a thousand board feet of cherry, cut and stored 16 years ago in the rafters of a barn. One of the rafters has broken and the stock is hanging down. Its not spaghetti yet and I’m going to try and pull it down and repile it. Maybe I’ll try this design thought. You’ve got me goin’ Bob.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

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Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2742 days


#6 posted 05-01-2007 07:47 PM

It is definitely a tricky project. Tough combination of lightness, strength, and shape. I thought about starting with a thick piece and shaping but it would need to be at least 4” thick and a board like that would cost hundreds around here. I was hoping to have this ready for a family get together in mid July.

I do have a log of cedar that has been drying for about a year. I think I may get it to the local mill and have some thick boards cut. I like the idea of cutting the blank on the bandsaw and using my grandfathers drawknife and spokeshave to shape it. I think it is just big enough to get me a couple of nice thick boards with the grain arranged to give me the optimum strength. I’m probably going to glass the whole thing as well.

I’m going to start trying the sport as well. It is a great workout that is fun, and I hate exercising just for the sake of exercising. My brother is 60 years old and has dropped 30 lbs and packed on muscle since starting doing it back in November. The combination of constantly balancing and paddling burns a lot of calories and really strengthens the shoulders and core muscles.

A thousand BF of cherry! Sweet!

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Jeffrey's profile

Jeffrey

15 posts in 2699 days


#7 posted 05-02-2007 06:33 AM

I think you might try Genuine Mahogany, Not Phillipene Mahogany. Real Mahogany is Very stable, laminates and steam bends very well and is moderately light versus its overall strength and does very well in water. Think rutters on sailboats. Good Luck. This sounds like a very complex project – Have fun.

-- Jeff - Bellevue,Ne.

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Jeffrey

15 posts in 2699 days


#8 posted 05-02-2007 06:42 AM

Hey Treefarmer- I just looked at your link for that picture and I really think the mahogany is a real possability. Do yo know your optimal over all length? Do you know the measurement of the overall thickness? By thickness I mean if the paddle were layed on its face, or back for that matter, what would be the total thickness ? If its 2.25” or less you should have absolutley no problem finding the material. And If it is not to wide overall you might be able to rough cut it out on a band saw like you mentioned. You might be able to cut it out like a 3-dimensional woodcarving blank. From there you could shape and sand Sam Maloof style! Sounds Like A Blast!!

-- Jeff - Bellevue,Ne.

View Phil Brown's profile

Phil Brown

219 posts in 2714 days


#9 posted 05-02-2007 07:56 AM

Got 1500 feet of mahogany too Bob, off overseas crates. Too bad its philipine mahhogany. Just got in at 1:30 am from my trucking run, been thinking design ideas for such a paddle. Carbon fiber blade with a large diamond section of wood showing proud of the carbon fiber, the top of the diamond meeting the bottom of the tapered handle. Carbon fiber is similar to fiberglass to work with, however to fit contoured areas it should be vacum bagged. An old vacum cleaner works for this process creating a vacum press while the resin sets up.

-- Phil Brown, Ontario

View Bob Babcock's profile

Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2742 days


#10 posted 05-02-2007 09:43 PM

The optimal length is 6”-10” longer than the users height. For my brother I need one about 7’. I’m going to go look at some mahogany tomorrow. Since I’m going to glass the whole thing I may try making the blade thicker by gluing it up. HHmmm….if I through drill and then dowel the pieces and then sand and shape, the dowels would add a nice visual element….OK..I think I know what I’m going to try. Thanks for the ideas…I’ll be sure to post it when its done…wish me luck.

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View Jeffrey's profile

Jeffrey

15 posts in 2699 days


#11 posted 05-03-2007 05:43 AM

I would look at useing epoxy as the adhesive for the lamination. 1) 100% waterproof 2) no issues with cross adhesion problems with the top coat finish. You said you were going to glass it. Have fun.

-- Jeff - Bellevue,Ne.

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slowbob

2 posts in 2704 days


#12 posted 05-03-2007 01:49 PM

Popular Woodworking August 2004 had an article by John Wilson on how to make canoe paddles. This very interesting man is best known for travling around and teaching how to make shaker oval boxes. He also sells box supplies. He does teach a class on paddles but I don’t know if he teachs this class on the road, and Charlotte is a long way form Mass. You can find his email or phone number at:

www.shakerovalbox.com
http://shakerovalbox.com/school/sked2003.pdf

A little off topic, but his stuff has been featured on the cover of Lee Valley and other magizines.

hope this helps an dGood luck,
Bob

-- --Bob-- South Lyon, MI

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Bob Babcock

1804 posts in 2742 days


#13 posted 05-05-2007 09:09 AM

Well I think I found a paddle to model mine after….look at these beauties.
http://www.whiskeyjackpaddles.com/paddles_tall_boy.asp

-- Bob, Carver Massachusetts, Sawdust Maker http://www.capecodbaychallenge.org

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2816 days


#14 posted 05-05-2007 01:49 PM

those are SWEEEEET paddles.
I can just see the water shimmering across it before dripping back into the lake.
Nice.

The one with the curved in the shaft looks interesting

Cant wait to see your creation

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

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