How to Make a Wooden Kayak Paddle

How to Make a Wooden Kayak Paddle
Making a wooden paddle for your kayak is one of the easier ways to mark yourself as a serious kayaker. The design may be simple, but the hardest part is shaping the blade and thinning it. Patience and planning will help you make a pretty piece of kayak equipment that you'll want to show off to your kayaking buddies.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two or three 1-inch or less thick hardwood planks of different woods One 10-foot long 2 by 2-inches piece of ash, hickory or other suitable hardwood Sabre saw Power sander and/or planer Rasp Bungee cords or furniture clamps Strong epoxy wood glue Oil wood stain Marine varnish or clear coat.
  • Two or three 1-inch or less thick hardwood planks of different woods
  • One 10-foot long 2 by 2-inches piece of ash, hickory or other suitable hardwood
  • Sabre saw
  • Power sander and/or planer
  • Rasp
  • Bungee cords or furniture clamps
  • Strong epoxy wood glue
  • Oil wood stain
  • Marine varnish or clear coat.
Step 1
Measure and cut the 2 x 2-inch board to the length you want your paddle to be. Round the shaft to within 2½ feet of the end. Leave the ends squared for attaching the blade.
Step 2
Measure and cut the hardwood planks to the length you want your blade to be.
Step 3
Arrange the planks to as shown in the diagram, then glue the seams and press them together
Step 4
Clamp or bungee the blade pieces and let them dry and cure overnight or as recommended by the glue manufacturer.
Step 5
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 at the opposite end of the shaft. Clamp and allow to dry and cure
Step 6
Cut the assembled blades into the final shape you've chosen using a band saw, jig saw or sabre saw.
Step 7
Shape and smooth the paddle to its final shape using a rasp or planer, and a sander. Make the blade thinner at the edges and thicker at the center for strength and flexibility.
Step 8
Sand the paddle in stages using gradually finer grades of sandpaper and steel wool
Step 9
Stain the finished paddle with an oil stain. Blot the stain onto the paddle surfaces with a rag dipped in stain, allow it to sit for a few seconds before wiping it with a dry cloth. Allow to dry before finishing by applying a coat of varnish or clear coat.
Step 10
Apply at least three thin coats of marine spar varnish or clear coat. Allow this to dry between coats and rub with fine grade steel wool before applying the next coat.
Step 11
Polish the kayak paddle to achieve a high sheen.

Tips & Warnings

 
To make the paddle stronger, fold a piece of light fiberglass cloth over the tip of the blade and coat with fiberglass resin. It won't be as pretty as a tip without fiberglass, but the blade will last longer.
 
To make the paddle stronger, fold a piece of light fiberglass cloth over the tip of the blade and coat with fiberglass resin. It won't be as pretty as a tip without fiberglass, but the blade will last longer.
 
Avoid combination varnish stains or furniture varnish. They don't resist water, or dents and dings as well. Make sure your glue is waterproof and won't dissolve if it gets wet.
 
Avoid combination varnish stains or furniture varnish. They don't resist water, or dents and dings as well.
 
Make sure your glue is waterproof and won't dissolve if it gets wet.

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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