Paddle shaft construction

I'm planning to make myself a paddle per the instructions in The New Kayak Shop. I'm starting the shaft by gluing up a blank one and 0.25" x 1.25" out of three quarter-inch thick vertical grain fir.  My question is how do I want the grain oriented to give the shaft maximum bending

strength in the direction that it will be stressed during paddling?  Do I want the alternating color bands of grain to be oriented parallel to the bending force or perpendicular to the bending force? Or am I just overthinking it?


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RE: Paddle shaft construction - clarification

Minor correction - I'm gluing up the blank to be 1.25"x1.25", then planing to the right shape (oval at handle sections, round for a ferrule in the middle, etc.)

RE: Paddle shaft construction

I have built two kayak paddles as per B&B Yacht Design drawings included with the "Diva".  I made the shafts with birdsmouth method using 8 staves of Western Red cedar 14mm x 7mm. After planing off the octagonal corners and sanding round, the shaft is 1 3/8" D. The blades are 4mm okoume slightly arched and sheated in 1 1/2 oz glass. Overall paddle length 98" - weight is 32 oz. 

My paddles do have some flex, and for max bend on solid wood I think the "face grain" should be perpendicular to the load. You can test a strip of wood easily and I believe with load aligned to verticle grain it will bend less.


RE: Paddle shaft construction

Like this.

Have fun,


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