Sometimes a clean slate, like a basswood paddle blade, is the perfect substrate for a non-traditional final finish. In my experience, printed cotton fabric provides the matrix of absorbent material that epoxy wants to saturate and bond with. All these paddles are years old now and are withstanding the test of time quite well. For many paddlers, tradition and performance are the motivation behind choosing … Continue reading Color on Wood
It may not rise to the level of peanut butter and chocolate, but pine and cotton work just fine as paddle blades. My so-called ‘creative side’ favors the machine made paisley in all its many colors and patterns. My eye also likes the wild patterns found in nature, in this case a pair of bookmatched knots and the surprising revelation of ‘birds eye’ upon slicing … Continue reading Birds Eye and Paisley Paddles
Piling on to the prior shaft strip entry, the image above illustrates another option for building a unique paddle shaft. This is a redwood paddle, except for the first strip which is some sort of cedar. That first strip in this stack, the one the blade pieces attach to is wider than the strips above it. Under my hand, at the top of the blade, … Continue reading Wide and Narrow Together
(or Wood is just plain gorgeous!) The longer I keep my hands in the game of wood working, the more I come to see wood in its limitless forms as my favorite palette. The picture above contains four simple examples and one of my favorite all time examples of beautiful surprises in the most unexpected (maybe common?) places. I like to eat dessert first, so … Continue reading Shaft Strip Design Ideas
Three things at once in the above image: 1.) I trimmed the plain weave, four ounce fiberglass cloth as closely as I could to the edge of the blade. This is important because if too much cloth is left overhanging the edge, the epoxy ‘flows’ out along this fiber and hardens. This adds enough weight and stiffness at just the right time and in exactly … Continue reading Paddle Blade – tape, trim, and level
It is the middle of the season that most people are out paddling. Which is what we did over the July 4th weekend. Summer is also a time for projects in the garage. So – back the car out, find your tools and build a paddle! It takes some wood, a few tools, and a bit of time, but building your own paddle is entirely … Continue reading Building a SUP paddle
I often wonder how many people (hopefully they are paddlers) wistfully look at a paddle kit and then go somewhere else – because while they are interested in paddling and in building a paddle, they lack a garage with a workbench and/or the tools needed to complete their desired paddle building project. If you are one of those people, then a possible solution just might … Continue reading A Solution for the Problem of Tools
I’ve been working on this book. It is simple in concept. Word pairs. That’s it. I like how word pairs can compare and contrast and help inform the reader/listener. Sometimes the difference between the two words is nuanced. Escape and enjoy is just such a pair. Ever since I found Wuda Wooch, the outdoor club at University Minnesota Duluth where I started my checkered collegiate … Continue reading Enjoy. Escape?
Laminating shaft strips and sandwiching the blade between layers of fiberglass and epoxy allows for considerable license in building paddles. In fact, just about any wood will work. Fiberglass and laminating provide a strong backup to everything they are used upon, including non-traditional woods that may not have any history in the boating or water world, like reclaimed barn board (mostly pine) or osage orange … Continue reading Discover. Create. Design. Build.
In the early days of winter, as the shortest day of the year approaches, I start hoping for an email from Rutabaga. This year it arrived, inviting me to do a seminar at this year’s Canoecopia. So….I will. I’ll be up in the Atrium on Saturday (March 9) afternoon from 1-3PM, talking and arm waving about the joys and delights of woodworking and paddle making. … Continue reading Canoecopia 2019