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Archive for May, 2011

Though progress on my kayak has been slow, I did take another class at RiversWest two weeks ago, this time in paddle making. One of the options was to make a greenland style paddle, which I have almost finished. I made it with some tight grained fir I had laying around. It currently weights just under 37 ounces, so its not a particularly light weight paddle, but it does feel nice in the hands and if nothing else I’m sure it will be a very strong spare paddle. I carved it according to the instructions on the Qajaq USA website by Chuck Holst.

I cut the length and flat profile first. Next the flat tapers of the blade were cut. For me it was fastest to cut the tapers mostly with my slick, and to then clean them up with a hand held power planer. I left the shoulders of the blades well defined and also gave the ends of the blades a blunter profile than the instructions show. We will see how I like that. At the shoulders of the blades I cut a slight hollow between where the shaft begins tapering and the edges of the blade. I used a gutter plane I found at a garage sale to establish that hollow. The shapes were refined and the paddle was smoothed with a random orbit sander, and I used an interface pad for much of the sanding to help the sander conform to all of the curves better. I am finishing it with linseed oil. Please forgive the low quality of the photograph, I will replace it with a better one when I have time.

I used it over the weekend of the 7th and 8th while Emily and I did a single night canoe trip in the Willamette. I was in Gertie, the six hour canoe, and I’ve got to say I get the impression that Greenland style paddles do not seem well suited to boat with such high gunwales or such a wide beam. That aside, it still seemed to perform reasonably given the circumstances and I look forward to using it in my kayak when it is finished.

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