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Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Prairiepaddler, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. John B in ID

    John B in ID Canoeist and Dreamer

    epoxy edging

    I took an idea from Gil Gilpatrick's book, which has a chapter on paddle making. After finishings the shaping of the paddle and before I fiberglass the blade, I use straight pins or open safety pins to position an 8" or 9" length of 1/8" nylon rope around the tip of the blade. Then I use a bit of epoxy to glue this nylon rope to the tip of the blade where the wear is most likely. Next I remove the pins and apply fiber glass over one side of the blade and also over the nylon cord at the end, let it dry and then trim the ends and side. Next day do the same with the other side of the blade and cord. If the end of the blade needs more epoxy, I later give it one or more layers and trim and sand as needed. Sometimes this process stretches on for weeks as I use epoxy for various other (usually boat building) tasks and use some on the paddle-in-progress as I go along.

    Although this may not have the artistic quality that you are looking for, it is quite beautiful and servicable. I've been very happy with the results anyway.
     
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    edging

    That sounds pretty reasonable... I've tried something similar, basically using 'glass threads pulled from scraps of cloth for the beading, but hadn't come up with a way to hold it ontothe edge while the epoxy sets. Nylon line should do the trick. How does it sand out? Or do you just put so many coats of epoxy over it that you never sand that deep?

    Thanks!
     
  3. John B in ID

    John B in ID Canoeist and Dreamer

    Yes, Paul, I just try to keep enough epoxy over the cord to to keep it covered. Once in awhile, I have to put it aside until I'm mixing up a batch for some other job and then I give the paddle tip another fine coat as well as touch up another needy spot or two that I've found on the blade surface. It is a patient process. Naturally, after I'm satisfied with the epoxy surface, the blade gets three or more coats of marine varnish.

    To Susan I'd like to say: "Thanks for starting what has turned out to be a really great and inspiring thread!" Thanks everyone for sharing some really great information and incentive!

    --John B. up a creek with a paddle in Idaho
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Prairiepaddler

    Prairiepaddler Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Would anyone else like to post some pics of their paddles? I know that I've been inpsired by Douglas Ingram's paddles...not to mention the Peter Paddicombe!
     
  5. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Wildwood/Peter P,

    Unforcanately, Peter had/has some personal troubles and (appearently) no longer makes paddles.

    They used to be carried by several outfittters in Ely, including Piragis, but as of late this summer, I could only find a couple odd paddles still in town.

    FWIW, one time he told me he got the good finish by dipping the paddles.

    It looks like at least some of the void is being filled by this guy. I've never heard of him before but Piragis carried his paddles. They sure look similar to Peter's. http://www.whiskeyjackpaddles.com/index.asp

    Dan
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2006
  6. Ric Altfather

    Ric Altfather WCHA #4035

    Susan,

    Here is another site of some very nice paddles:

    http://www.woodsongcanoes.com
     
  7. OP
    OP
    Prairiepaddler

    Prairiepaddler Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    These are also giving me some good ideas. I also really like the Whisekyjack paddles. So many possibilities, so little time...I think I am going to try a cedar paddle for the Missouri, though, since I've never used that wood for a paddle before. Now I have some excellent ideas for how to make them stronger.
     
  8. Ric Altfather

    Ric Altfather WCHA #4035

    And one more paddle...

    Forgot I had this one, it's a Mitchell built, Mike Galt designed, "S" curve "Free Style" paddle. Both cedars with walnut trim and ash exterior with epoxy tips. Great paddle but you don't want to use it all day long or on long trips!

    Ric
     

    Attached Files:

  9. OP
    OP
    Prairiepaddler

    Prairiepaddler Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Beautiful. Why don't you want ot use it all day long? Is it the shape or the weight that is a problem?

    I'm about to finish up one I was working on when I started this thread. Thought I'd try fiberglassing it to see how that works. After that I may try some of these new ideas for layering the cedar and hardwoods.
     
  10. Ric Altfather

    Ric Altfather WCHA #4035

    No issue with weight, it's 20 oz, it is just better suited to it's intended purpose, goofing around in quiet water. The blade is 9" wide and if you stroke that for 8 hours on a trip, that's moving a lot of water and burning a lot of energy. I much prefer the traditional style, otter tail, beaver tail, etc. How about some pic's of your latest paddle?

    Ric
     
  11. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    paddle pics

    okay, here are my humble contributions... they're definitely a lot less work than the others posted here, but I like 'em!
     

    Attached Files:

  12. OP
    OP
    Prairiepaddler

    Prairiepaddler Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Very pretty, Paul. What are the woods?
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Prairiepaddler

    Prairiepaddler Enthusiastic about Wooden Canoes

    Okay, I'll post some pics when I get it fiinished up--hopefully soon, but I don't know how the glassing is going to go since I've never done it before...:)
     
  14. Ric Altfather

    Ric Altfather WCHA #4035

    Nothing humble about it...you made them, they move your canoe and they are very good looking, I like the pyrography. Tried that once, not very good at it. In the final analysis, paddles are to be used, not museum pieces unless they are artifacts from the ancient civilizations. I spent good $$$ on a couple of paddles until I discovered that I could make one similar to it, not the same spotless finish but very servicable and a couple that I have used for 10+ years...but a whole lot more that didn't make it past the flex test! Paddles are great winter projects and Christmas presents.

    All the best,

    Ric
     
  15. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    paddle pics

    Thank you for the kind words.

    The paddle with the light-colored shaft is my Freestyle paddle. It has a maple shaft, with walnut accent strips, and bookmatched curly cherry outer pieces. I can't seem to get a good pic that really shows the curl in the cherry, but it looks nice, especially when it's wet. But then, ALL paddles look better when they're wet... The grip's too small for my hands, the shaft is too inflexible, and the overall weight is a bit much, but it's the paddle I use most often. Lessons learned: don't use maple (dense, stiff) for shafts on my own paddles, and make the grip bigger.

    The other paddle has a walnut shaft, then maple, red cedar, white cedar, and finally walnut on the outer edges. The cedars and the last walnut pieces are leftover scraps from building my cedar strip canoe. I built this as an 80th birthday present for a friend of mine, with whom I got my ACA instructor certification a few years back. She "retired" from National Ski Patrol at age 75, only to take up canoe instruction... She's my hero! :) This paddle weighs in at ~18oz (dripping wet), and has just the right flex for her; she can paddle all day with it. I'm really happy with how well it's worked for her.

    Next up is a walnut shaft otter tail, the pieces for it are starting to get organized on my bench.

    I'll look forward to seeing more pics of others' efforts!
     
  16. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Oh geez...look what happens when you don't check in for a couple of days. Sorry, I've been busy paddle making. I'm just about finished those two FS paddles posted above. I'll post some photos when they're done.

    Peter's paddles were pretty nice. All cedar, and the blade is asymetrically shaped, ie. power face is flat, shaped only on the other side. Too bad that he had to stop making. Mostly, too bad about having problems that forced him to stop.

    Personally, I don't like the baroque look of having too much lamination going on in a paddle. I prefer a clean look that isn't fussy. I also believe that benshaft blades should have symetrical balde faces.

    I've made up a bunch of MDF moulds for casting the epoxy for my paddle tips. Packing tape acts as the release agent. I just clamp it in place and pur in the epoxy. I gave up on plasticene years ago. After having about a dozen paddle I figured that there had to be a better way.

    I've also tried wrapping glass fibers around the blade, but it takes SO many fibers to make up the width and thickness that I stick with thickened epoxy, and then lay 2 oz. glass over.

    To set the epoxy around the blade, get a piece if styrofoam and trace the outline of the paddle on it. Then carve out the inside area of your tracing so that it fits up tight to the face of your paddle. Cover it with packing tape. Clamp it to your paddle. (see me previous photos) Pigment, and thicken your epoxy with silica , ie. cab-o-sil, etc. This seems to allow less wicking of epoxy colour into the wood grain, at least compared to microfibers. Thicken close to the consistency of peanut butter, and then just apply a bead of it all around the blade.

    When cured, remove the backing foam and clean up the epoxy with abrasives so that its a nice even thickness and width. Some touchups may be needed, but thats easy. When I do this, I usually glass over with 2 oz.
     

    Attached Files:

  17. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Doug,

    Just curious, why do you think bent paddles should have symetrical blade faces? Seems like all the production pieces I've seen have a flat power side.

    Dan


    ".....the blade is asymetrically shaped, ie. power face is flat, shaped only on the other side........ I also believe that bentshaft blades should have symetrical blade faces."
     
  18. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Dan,

    If all you ever do with a paddle is make an initial plant and a power stroke, then a flat power face will do fine.

    However, if you ever do any underwater work with the blade, ie. slice the blade as in an underwater recovery, then the shaped face of the blade will cause lift on that face of the blade. I find that it gets annoying after a short while. Also, the shaping on the power face helps direct water flow off of the blade while under load, thus significantly reducing blade flutter. This is an increasing issue as the balde face gets wider.

    Also, having a small "hook" or "S" shape on the power face towards the tip helps reduce splashing upon entry.

    Production paddles as primarily shaped this way for production reasons. Its MUCH simpler and faster to shape only one side.
     
  19. Dan Lindberg

    Dan Lindberg Ex Wood Hoarder

    Thanks Doug,

    This may explain why a couple paddles I made "fluttered", I just figured they were too wide, >8.5", I cut them all narrower after trying them wide.

    Yes, I know there are benefits to curved surfaces, I was just surprised to see them used on a bent paddle, which I thought was generally just used for "plant and pull" paddling, ie, "hit and switch".

    Dan
     
  20. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    paddles

    Nice explanation, Doug! I'm sending a link to this to some folks I've tried to explain it to.

    Where do you get 2oz. glass cloth? I haven't been able to find anything lighter than 4oz... which makes the blade way heavier than I like.
     

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