Re: Building a paddle

Posted by Dave Houser on Aug 3, 2004

Nick’s blade design is huge. Mine came out at 113 square inches. The blade blank halves glue to the width side of the shaft not extending the 1 1/2 inch dimension; my shafts are 1 1/8 inch wide. Even so, the last lamination is almost lost. Cedar can be a little weak, spruce is great but hard to find without knots where I live. I have used hemlock with success. You want a good strength to weight ratio. Sitka Spruce is legendary for airplane spars. Laminating the shaft is a good idea to interrupt any grain imperfections and to work around knots and to re-orient the grain parallel to the long cross-sectional axis. Long blades are popular with a low touring style of stroke an necessary for a wide boat like a MC 13. You won't want 113 square inches of area on the end of a long paddle I built a 240 cm 100 square inch paddle I really like for a low stroke.

The forward stroke gurus recommend shorter paddles 212 to 220 cm to allow a higher stroke typical in a narrow sea kayak. Shorter wider blades are better on the short paddles or there won’t be much loom left to move your hands around and it will take too much of the stroke to get the blade submerged. My 113 sq. in. 220 cm paddle can work me to death in my Ches 17.

In Response to: Building a paddle by Gober on Jul 28, 2004

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