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Old paddles.....restoration.

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Dabluz, Sep 10, 2012.

  1. Dabluz

    Dabluz Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Over the years, I have found quite a few paddles on the trails that I have portaged. I live too far north for porcupines who love to eat paddles. They were all grey with only traces of varnish on them. Anyway, I took home about 10 of them and restored them by sanding them down, bleaching them with javex folllowed by more sanding and then a couple of coats of spar varnish. They turn out beautiful and are very ight. Everyone of them has a different length and I like them all. However......some of them had cracked blades when I found them. I varnished the handles but I painted the blades with a good quality bright red paint. The cracks are still visible. I would like to add fiberglass tips to my paddles.....especially those that have cracks. Is there somewhere any info about how to put some fiberglass and epoxy resin to the ends of the blades?
  2. Dave Wermuth

    Dave Wermuth Who hid my paddle?

    Hi, last week I fixed an old paddle. It was split in the blade. I clamped the paddle vertical to a tenon jig and ran it thru the table saw making a kerf along the tip. I then glued a piece of hardwood in the kerf and clamped it all together. I did not use 'glass cloth. Seemed to make for a serviceable paddle.
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    It depends a lot on how wide the crack is... if it's thin for its entire length, I'll make a paste of laminating epoxy & wood flour, and force it into the crack. If it's more than 1/8" wide, it needs to be filled with wood, otherwise it gets heavy in the blade.

    Laminating 'glass onto paddles isn't difficult. Get this book: for a good explanation of laminating with glass (there are others with good explanations as well; I'm just familiar with this one), and this one: for discussions on paddle making and repairs.

    You can also search the paddlemaking forum here for a detailed description of putting a reinforced edge on a paddle. I think Doug Ingram posted it...
  4. OP

    Dabluz Curious about Wooden Canoes

    I've been using my old cracked paddles for quite a few years now. Not one has broken or even cracked more. There are no gaps in the cracks. I'm restoring a canoe (fiberglassing) and I will certainly have some resin and cloth left over for adding a reinforced tip to my cracked canoes. I saw some real nice looking paddles on the internet and they gave me some ideas on decorating them.
  5. Greg Nolan

    Greg Nolan enthusiast

    Here are a couple of forum threads dealing with paddle tips:

    This tread is more on paddle building, and deals, in part, with fiberglass covering:

    Here’s one on copper tips on paddles:

    As to dealing with cracks -- I have had some luck dealing with very tight cracks in wood by using thin CYA (Hot Stuff or something similar) applied along the length of the crack, letting it be drawn in by capillary action. Sometimes I have followed immediately with medium weight CYA. Immediately after the CYA is applied, squeeze the crack tight together till the CYA kicks -- I have usually used an accelerator, so it's just a matter of seconds. I have not done this on a paddle, but I see no reason why it should not be effective -- bu only on a crack that can be rapidly squeezed tightly closed. The squeezed-out glue is readily sanded off, making a nearly invisible repair. Just be sure not to glue yourself to the paddle with this stuff.
  6. OP

    Dabluz Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Thanks for the info. I will use a combination of glue and clamps and fiberglass depending on the condition of my paddles.
  7. Todd Bradshaw

    Todd Bradshaw Sailmaker

    In addition to splines, veneer, cast resin tips, etc. it is also possible to wrap the tip of a paddle with fiberglass. When the riveted metal tip protectors on our wooden whitewater kayak paddles used to wear out, we would replace them with several layers of fiberglass cloth. It surrounded the tip on all sides, wore at least as well on rocks as the original aluminum tip protectors did, eliminated the rivet holes and the pathway for water into the blade that they created and could be ground off and replaced as needed down the road (or river, as it were).

    For a whitewater paddle, we might use four or five layers of fiberglass cloth for durability and it didn't seem to make any noticable difference in the weight or balance when compared to the original metal tip. Most folks aren't grinding wooden canoes and their paddles down shallow rocky rivers these days, so a layer or two of glass cloth would do fine. By filling the weave texture with resin filler coats and a bit of feathering with sandpaper, followed by varnish, the glass tip-wrap would blend into the wood pretty well. On whitewater paddles, we didn't care much about that and just wanted to build some serious bulk and abrasion resistance into the tip, so the glass usually just got cut off cleanly while still green, leaving a raised edge and then the tip was painted.

    The trick to getting strips of fiberglass cloth to wrap around the end of the blade without bubbles or pulling away from the wood as they turn a corner is to cut the cloth strips on a bias (diagonal to the cloth weave). Then you brush a thin coat of resin on bare wood in the area, set the cloth into it and start gently "massaging" it into position with the brush. The weave will move on itself as needed and it will slowly take the shape of the tip. Once one layer is down tight to the surface, you can add another, sticking it into the wet resin, adding a little bit more and massaging it into shape. When all the layers are on, you wait until the resin has set up, but is still a little rubbery and can trim the inner edge as desired with a razor blade. Filler coats to hide the weave texture can then be added if you want a more invisible look. Let it cure a few days, sand it smooth if desired and paint or varnish it.

    Just another possible option that works and can pretty strong. Here is one of my old whitewater slalom paddles with a heavy-duty retro-fit glass tip. Multiple layers of bias-cut fiberglass cloth, wrapped around the tip with no seams or puckers, no filler coats or feathering (these things take a beating in use) and just a coat of paint to stop UV.

    Attached Files:

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