How to Make Kayak Paddles

How to Make Kayak Paddles
There's nothing like kayaking. The feeling of freedom and control over the craft is unrivaled and the versatility of a kayak makes it a winner in nearly any waters. It can, however, be a costly hobby. Making your own carbon fiber paddles can save you hundreds of dollars as well as giving you the freedom to modify the paddle to fit your needs.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Plug or old wooden paddle Paste wax Epoxy with colloidal silica filler 6 oz. fiberglass large enough to extend beyond the plug by a few inches 2 strips 1.5-ounce chopped-strand fiberglass mat 4 pieces of 5.8-ounce plain weave carbon fiber the size of the paddle 1x2-inch strips of 5.8-ounce plain weave carbon fiber Hollow aluminum tubing the same diameter as the handle of the paddle and 3 inches long Epoxy resin Razor blade Sandpaper Clamps
  • Plug or old wooden paddle
  • Paste wax
  • Epoxy with colloidal silica filler
  • 6 oz. fiberglass large enough to extend beyond the plug by a few inches
  • 2 strips 1.5-ounce chopped-strand fiberglass mat
  • 4 pieces of 5.8-ounce plain weave carbon fiber the size of the paddle
  • 1x2-inch strips of 5.8-ounce plain weave carbon fiber
  • Hollow aluminum tubing the same diameter as the handle of the paddle and 3 inches long
  • Epoxy resin
  • Razor blade
  • Sandpaper
  • Clamps
Step 1
Use either an old paddle for the form of the mold or carve a wooden mock-up or "plug." If you are using a plug, make one side flat instead of curved. Coat with paste wax.
Step 2
Put the 6 oz. fiberglass over the plug and coat with epoxy. After it has cured, apply the two layers of 1.5-ounce chopped-strand fiberglass and epoxy and let it cure completely. Remove the plug from the mold.
Step 3
Wet one 5.8-ounce carbon fiber with the mixed epoxy and lay it in the mold, pressing it firmly into all spaces. Continue wetting and pressing the carbon fiber with the other three pieces. Trim the excess fiber with the razor blade. Let it dry for 18 hours.
Step 4
Remove the paddle from the mold and clean it with water. Make three more paddles the same way you did the first one. You will need four paddle halves to make one complete paddle.
Step 5
Sand the paddles and trim excess fibers. Apply epoxy to the flat backs of two paddles and adhere them together. Use clamps to secure them while they are curing. Repeat this process for the other two paddle sections.
Step 6
Sand the ends of each paddle and clean well. Assemble the entire paddle by using the aluminum tube to connect both sections together. Coat the seams with epoxy and wrap pieces of 1x2-inch 5.8-ounce plain weave carbon fiber wetted with epoxy around the center portion.
Step 7
Let cure for 48 hours and sand. Apply a light coat of epoxy to the entire paddle and sand again after curing.

Tips & Warnings

 
Determine the length of your paddle by the height you can reach with curled fingers. Spread your index finger and thumb and bend the tips. This is the width of the blade, and the length is the same as the width between your hands in a normal standing position. The shaft is the circumference of circle made by your thumb and finger touching.

Resources

Article Written By Catherine Rayburn-Trobaug

Catherine Rayburn-Trobaugh has been a writer and college writing professor since 1992. She has written for international companies, published numerous feature articles in the "Wilmington News-Journal," and won writing contests for her poetry and fiction. Rayburn-Trobaugh earned a Master of Arts in English from Wright State University.

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