canoe paddle repair

I am restoring an old ash paddle for my dad. It is my first fiberglass and epoxy project. I have already sanded it and built an epoxy rock guard on the blade. My question is this: after applying fiberglass and epoxy to the blade, should I epoxy the shaft and hand grip or just finish that part with varnish? I really like the hard shiny finish the epoxy gives. Thanks for any help.

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RE: canoe paddle repair

One the several ash paddles I have madefrom scratch, I epoxied the whole thing and then finished with the UV inhibiters.

RE: canoe paddle repair

As someone who has been an avid canoeist using wooden paddles for 35 years, I would advise that you sand the shaft and grip to bare wood, then varnish the shaft with 4-5 coats of top quality varnish.  If you use epoxy you still have to varnish it fully for UV protection.  The epoxy will not provide any real protection to the shaft anyway, so don't do it.  Unless you're planning on running whitewater, or rocky , shallow rivers, or the blade is cracked, I would not even glass the blade.  It just adds weight.  A good varnish job can last decades on a canoe paddle.

RE: canoe paddle repair

Thanks so much. That's exactly the information I needed to know. It makes the rest of the job faster too I think. I do need to glass the blade as you suggest because it is cracked right up the center and another piece on one of the edges was completely broken off along the grain. I have glued both of those with Titebond III and sanded the entire paddle to bare wood ending with 220 grit sandpaper. Before pouring the epoxy rock guard for the tip I drilled 6 small holes about 1/4 inch deep into the end of the tip and worked the epoxy into them to help strengthen the blade. After the fiberglass and varnish I think my dad will truly enjoy the return of an old friend.

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