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Thread: My first home made paddle

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
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    Perthshire
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    Default My first home made paddle

    As my canoe nearing completion and the last coat of paint is drying I decided that now was the time to get a paddle sorted out. There are photos of the canoe to follow over the next few days but they'll take a wee while for me sort through so in the meantime:
    I laminated some scraps and offcuts together after running through the table saw, I used polyurethane glue as it dries in 10 minutes and sticks like S*!t.



    While giving it some time to set I dug the plane out to give it a tickle on the stone and then planed everything nice and smooth, including my thumb which has been bleeding since!!!



    I then drew and roughed out the shape I was after, the dimensions I used came from various blogs found on the tinterweb and through this very forum.
    My main tool of choice was a very rough rasp, followed by a smoother one and then onto a small plane.

    After lots and lots and lots of sanding from 40 up to 200 I now have something I'm pretty pleased with. I know the handle looks pretty wierd but I decided to go for something that fitted the shape of my hand rather than go for nice looking. I know from years of using hand tools it's important they fit right if you intend to use them for extended periods of time. I spent almost half the time it took to complete the paddle just on the handle alone, some of you may think it overkill but I really don't like blisters!!!



    And now the first coat of stain goes on. Not that there's much for the stain to highlight as this was made from rather uninteresting mahogany (two types) and pine. The hardest mahogany being used on the outside edges of the blade, it's nightmare stuff to work but should stand up rather well to some abuse.



    Once the first coat is dry it will allow me to easier see where I need some more sanding as it tends to highlight scratches very well. Once that's done I think I might finish with a coat of epoxy for protection.
    Not too bad for a first attempt at making my own paddle, even if I do say so myself!!! :-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    very soon to be norfolk
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    1,608

    Default

    looks great

    Sam

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Exmouth, Devon, England
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    Default

    Great job! You should be proud.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Derbyshire
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    126

    Default

    Nicely done Sir.

    A thing of beauty is pleasure for ever.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Perthshire
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    Default

    Thanks for the kind words guys

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2019
    Location
    South Lakeland
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    12

    Default

    Looks great.
    Soon to get underway on my own, having sourced a piece of alder as a practice piece and some cedar for the second one.
    I'll keep you posted, unless it becomes a pile of kindling due to my incompetence. Going to be a learning experience at any rate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Ash Vale, Surrey (by the Basingstoke Canal)
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    425

    Default

    Your paddle looks really good. My first paddle was a surprising success and is in weekly use, so I've just started my second. However, I lack the patience to use just hand tools and resorted to the power plane and belt sander to get the heavy work done.
    Mahogany can be a devil for tearout. Mine are iroko, which isn't much more forgiving.

  8. #8
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    Sep 2018
    Location
    Perthshire
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    Thanks JimHou.
    I admit to the heavy use of power tools too. Table saw for cutting the strips and jigsaw for rough shape. I did start the heavy sanding with a belt sander but it decided to go on fire after five minutes' shouldn't complain really as its 15 years old and served me well. The rest was rasps, files, sandpaper, and a small plane. I was about 16 hours from start to finish with a few breaks here and there.
    I dont know what type of mahogany it is, they're offcuts from window cills and facing, I get them for free from the window factory I used to work in and usually use them for kindling. There are two types though, the very thin strip on the outside is really hard and dense and was a nightmare with the plane, even the jigsaw complained when cutting it. But that's why I wanted to use it on the outside edge.
    I'm hoping mine will get wet this weekend, my canoe is now complete and I'm just waiting on a mate letting me know when he's available to come out with me as a safety boat.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2018
    Location
    Perthshire
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blind Busdriver View Post
    Looks great.
    Soon to get underway on my own, having sourced a piece of alder as a practice piece and some cedar for the second one.
    I'll keep you posted, unless it becomes a pile of kindling due to my incompetence. Going to be a learning experience at any rate.
    Go for it, just take your time and make sure your tools are really sharp. It was surprisingly easy and really satisfying to do although it helps that I already had all the tools and equipment to speed things up.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2018
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    Ash Vale, Surrey (by the Basingstoke Canal)
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    425

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mynameisjoe View Post
    Thanks JimHou.
    I admit to the heavy use of power tools too. Table saw for cutting the strips and jigsaw for rough shape. I did start the heavy sanding with a belt sander but it decided to go on fire after five minutes' shouldn't complain really as its 15 years old and served me well. The rest was rasps, files, sandpaper, and a small plane. I was about 16 hours from start to finish with a few breaks here and there.
    I dont know what type of mahogany it is, they're offcuts from window cills and facing, I get them for free from the window factory I used to work in and usually use them for kindling. There are two types though, the very thin strip on the outside is really hard and dense and was a nightmare with the plane, even the jigsaw complained when cutting it. But that's why I wanted to use it on the outside edge.
    I'm hoping mine will get wet this weekend, my canoe is now complete and I'm just waiting on a mate letting me know when he's available to come out with me as a safety boat.
    I don't blame you using the power tools. I love the romantic idea of hewing a paddle from a log with an old axe, but in reality, I'd end up cursing a lot and probably chopping off a limb! I reckon it makes good sense to use the tougher mahogany along the edges as the tight grain is less likely to split. It's a heavy timber, but you've offset some of the weight with the pine strips. My jigsaw refused to cut the iroko, so I borrowed a band saw.

    My first paddle, with laminated iroko strips is holding up to regular use really well, but it has 7 coats of yacht varnish (each taking a week to dry!). The next one is iroko and American walnut strips and I plan to Danish oil it. If the finish turns out not to be tough enough, I can then yacht varnish the blade.
    I haven't got a rock guard on mine as I know nothing about epoxy resin, but may do the research and add a tip in the future.

    Mine probably took 10-12 hours, but spaced out over a few months. The iroko and walnut staves were cheap offcuts at my local specialist timber mill (about 20 for 2 paddles' worth).

    I have to say, the pleasure in using a self made paddle is immense, especially the initial joy of finding that it performs exactly how I wanted. You will have the considerably greater joy of paddling your own canoe with your own paddle. I'm envious and look forward to seeing the boat.
    Jim

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2018
    Location
    Perthshire
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    Default

    I've posted a few pics already in the thread "another peasemarsh build"
    I'm looking forward to getting out and using both knowing that I made it all myself, I just hope the canoe doesn't sink or the paddle break into a dozen pieces

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