How to Build a Kayak Paddle

How to Build a Kayak Paddle
You know you're a full-blooded kayaker the first time you hit the water with a beautiful, polished and handcrafted kayak paddle that you have made with your own hands. You may stick with your composite and titanium paddle for day-to-day hard work in rocky streams and chutes, but your handmade beauty will be the one you pick up when you glide into camp in front of your fellow kayakers. There's nothing quite as satisfying as that. Here's how to make one.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • One 10-foot 2x2 ash, hickory or other suitable hardwood Two or three hardwood planks of different woods Sabre saw Power sander and/or planer Bungee cords or furniture clamps Gorilla Glue or other strong waterproof or epoxy wood glue Rasp
  • One 10-foot 2x2 ash, hickory or other suitable hardwood
  • Two or three hardwood planks of different woods
  • Sabre saw
  • Power sander and/or planer
  • Bungee cords or furniture clamps
  • Gorilla Glue or other strong waterproof or epoxy wood glue
  • Rasp
Step 1
Cut 2x2 to the total length you want your paddle to be.
Step 2
Cut hardwood planks to lengths you want your blade to be.
Step 3
Arrange planks as shown, glue the seams and press together. To add strength and beauty, alternate some narrow strips with the wood grain running perpendicular to the grain of the wider pieces (not shown).
Step 4
Clamp or bungee the pieces together. Let sit overnight and cure as recommended by glue manufacturer.
Step 5
Repeat step 3 on the opposite end of the shaft. Turn the blade so it is perpendicular if you want to feather the blade, otherwise clamp them both flat.
Step 6
Cut the blades to the final shape you want for them using a saber saw or band saw
Step 7
Shape and smooth the paddle and shaft to its final shape using a rasp, planer and sander.
Step 8
Sand paddle smooth in stages using gradually finer grades of sandpaper and steel wool.
Step 9
Stain the paddle and allow to dry.
Step 10
Apply thin coats of marine varnish or clear coat, rubbing with fine-grade steel wool between coats.
Step 11
Polish kayak paddle to high sheen and go show it off to your friends.

Tips & Warnings

 
Take your time shaping the blade. You can make a quick template for trimming the blade to a shape you want with butcher paper and a magic marker and a paddle blade you like. Use thin coats of clear finish over stain.
 
Take your time shaping the blade.
 
You can make a quick template for trimming the blade to a shape you want with butcher paper and a magic marker and a paddle blade you like.
 
Use thin coats of clear finish over stain.
 
Because paddles spend a lot of time in the water, apply at least three layers of finish coat. Avoid varnish stains or furniture stains; use marine-specific finishes applied separately from any stain you may use.
 
Because paddles spend a lot of time in the water, apply at least three layers of finish coat.
 
Avoid varnish stains or furniture stains; use marine-specific finishes applied separately from any stain you may use.

Article Written By Tom King

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.

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