Author Topic: Help, making a wooden paddle  (Read 18756 times)

Aiyah

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Help, making a wooden paddle
« on: September 08, 2010, 07:52:07 PM »
Ok, my woodworking skills are...basic. I'm taking another semester of woodshop this year and I want to make a paddle. I have no idea how to do it or what to use for wood. Tips pleeeease?

Easy Rider

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2010, 05:04:29 AM »
Here is a good set of plans - that includes all instructions and templates.

http://surfpaddles.diysurfgear.com/

My kid is making a paddle in "shop class" next month.
Easy Rider is the name of my store in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
My name is Warren Currie . . . and we SUP Surf indoors . . . in a shopping mall!

Aiyah

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #2 on: September 09, 2010, 10:17:59 AM »
Aha! Ok thanks!

heydorn

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2010, 12:08:07 PM »
Aiyah-

I've only made one quick paddle from cheap materials (a closet rod and pine plank) found at Lowe's, so keep that in mind as you read on...

There are plenty of wood choices that can be used individually or in combination to produce a good paddle. You could go as simple as pine or poplar from your local Home Depot or Lowe's store, or you could hit up the nearest lumber yard or wood specialist for some alternatives such as red or white cedar, paulownia, balsa, koa, redwood etc. Consider weight (redwood is much heavier than balsa) and durability (balsa is much softer and more prone to dent than redwood) when selecting your wood. A mix of lightweight and durable is what you are aiming for.

I haven't seen the plans Easy Rider linked to, but there are some other great resources online about paddle building. Some of the best I've run across:
http://www.kenalu.com/2008/04/waterproof-artwork-malama-paddles/ (not a step-by-step, but a great overview)
http://www.ponohouse.com/ponoblog/2007/11/29/paddle-3/ (by Stoneaxe, a member of this forum)
http://www.grainsurf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=506&hilit=paddle (by AndyGere, a member of this forum)
http://www2.swaylocks.com/node/1028168 (a slightly different, and I think more complicated, method that nonetheless resulted in an awesome paddle)

These show what I think is the easiest method to build a paddle (just a stick and a board):
http://www.grainsurf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=2593&p=12287&hilit=sup+paddle#p12287
http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-Stand-Up-Paddeboard-Paddle/

Glue your wood together with waterproof glue (Titebond III) or epoxy. If you want it to be very durable - more important for surfing or whitewater paddling, not as important for flatwater cruising - you can coat the exterior of the finished paddle with just epoxy or, for even greater strength, fiberglass or carbon fiber. If you don't epoxy the exterior, you should seal it with polyurethane to keep the wood water-resistant. This is also a good idea for epoxied paddles, but instead of waterproofing the wood the polyurethane provides UV protection for the epoxy.

If your teacher will allow you to spend the whole semester making paddles, you might consider making a quick one following the easiest method to practice your shaping techniques and fine-tune your paddle shape, then go all out on the next one. You could end up with a small collection of very cool paddles after the semester. Maybe even sell some to cover the cost of materials.

Good luck. If you can, document and post the process to show us how it turns out.

Aiyah

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2010, 08:02:41 PM »
thanks!  i definitely will let everyone know how it goes!
as for wood, i took shop class last year and i know i can get like..maple, black walnut, pine, purple heart, uuhh red oak i think, poplar, probably regular walnut...that kinda stuff. what would you suggest using out of those? purple heart and black walnut are proably not good options because theyr'e reeaally heavy, so teh others?

heydorn

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2010, 09:56:13 PM »
From that list of woods, I think I would go for a combo of pine and walnut or poplar and walnut - nice mix of lightness and strength, not to mention the contrasting colors will look nice. Maple can be hard or soft - the hard stuff is pretty dense, the soft stuff much lighter - so soft maple could be a substitute for pine or poplar.

Of course, all walnut species are pretty dense so might not be desirable to use extensively. Not that you can't or shouldn't use walnut, just that you will want to use less of it than the other, lighter wood used in the laminations. A little heft isn't such a bad thing, but you don't want the paddle to be too heavy.

If you could substitute cedar or some other light-yet-strong wood in place of walnut it would make for a lighter paddle with no less strength.  And if you can't obtain cedar but want the paddle to be as light as possible, you could always make a paddle from a single wood. In that case I would probably choose all poplar.

For accent wood, I don't think weight matters, because the quantity of wood is small enough that the weight gain would not be noticeable. So if you are feeling ambitious, you could work some purpleheart or black walnut into the handle or onto the tip of the blade.

Sounds like the wood is supplied by or through the teacher. If so, probably the best thing to do would be to pick your teacher's brain to find out if he or she knows anything about wood properties. If you are lucky, you will learn that your teacher is an avid SUPer/canoeist/kayaker and knows exactly how to make a paddle and what materials to use. If your teacher is not helpful and you still can't decide, maybe you could post on this forum a full list of the available wood species for some of the more knowledgeable members (i.e. almost everyone other than me) to chime in on.

Aiyah

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2010, 11:59:08 PM »
ok, my woodshop teacher would at least know the properties of wood, i'm sure if i described to him what i'm looking for he could direct me

stoneaxe

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2010, 08:22:24 PM »
Here's a blog series on some of the 1st few paddles I made. Started building these before I had ever been on a SUP.

http://lumberjocks.com/Treefarmer/blog/series/227

First 3 were busts...first two ..pretty but WAY to heavy.....#3 a clunker....#4 was great but broke it in the surf.

The Malama post on Ke Nalu is what you want to follow. Andy's paddle is nice too...basically the same method. Also the way I just built my last one. Show the pics to your shop teacher and he should be able to show you how.

Here's a good table on wood strengths...
http://www.worldwideflood.com/ark/wood/timber_list.htm

You want the majority of the paddle...75% or so... to be woods that have a relatively high MOE and lower density, I use red cedar. Nice thing about red cedar is that it comes in a variety of colors. The shaft of the latest is all cedar but looks like different woods. It does have a fiberglass stringer for strength. The koa is just the tip, outside edge of the blade, and the top. A little lyptus thrown in too..one strip of the blade and in the handle. Lyptus is very dense and tough. You basically want the tougher denser woods in the impact and wear areas. One of the other reasons I like using cedar for the majority of it is that its a bit absorbent...soaks up a little epoxy...adds a little to the weight but its great for the durability and strength.

Have fun making it....I have a bunch of wood cut for a few more and I'm going to try reshaping #3
« Last Edit: September 10, 2010, 08:26:44 PM by stoneaxe »
Bob

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Aiyah

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2010, 09:27:47 PM »
Ok! cool, thanks!

andygere

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Re: Help, making a wooden paddle
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2010, 10:59:39 AM »
Here's a pretty good tutorial based on one that I built.  As Bob has said, wood selection is key.  I would not do an all basswood shaft again, as this ultimately snapped in a heavy wave.  For flatwater paddling it would be fine.  I think a laminated shaft with light wood in the core and hard wood on the outer surfaces (think flanges on an I beam) is the way to go.  I'm on #3 and using this technique.



http://www.grainsurf.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=506

Build #2 is shown here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=118709&id=560164686&l=e8eda38b18