Another Fix the Paddle Question,..sigh!

Ok, I have a Mitchel double bent Leader:

I use this paddle for everything, WW, flatwater, moving waters, where ever I end up. I’ve broken ice with it and pushed hard off of sandy bottoms as well as smacked a few rocks. Yeah, I should know better but gear is made for using.

In the past I’ve just sanded it down a little and added a coat of spar. Now the edges at near the bottom of the blade near the curve is starting to chip a little. This blade is old enough I don’t want to spend a lot on it but want to fix the chips and rough edges. Any thoughts? G-Flex? I don’t really want to add any cloth as it is carbon fiber. Any suggestions would be appreciated.


Epoxy and graphite powder
You could use the usual type of epoxy such as West 105/205 but G-Flex can be purchased in small quantities and mixed up in very small batches “by eye” without need for metering pumps.

If you can come by a little graphite powder such as West System 423 to mix in it, it will not only improve the durability and scuff resistance, but make it blend right in with the glossy black blade.

Use an aluminum shovel for now, and
send it to Mitchell for repair.

If it were my paddle, I would add cloth, a single narrow layer of S-glass on each side. Then I would clean out the gap between the glass strips and lay in a mixture of Kevlar and E-glass strands.

But if you want it to be pretty, send it to Mitchell.

Doug could practically throw it back

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to Mitchell from his house.

Doug, why not email Peter and ask him?

Worth it just to go and see
the shop. Quite a place.

Long winded article : )
Sorry cannot pull link out so

go here:

scroll down to contributors

and click on that dude patrick

Been There
and I did email Peter a while back. Bottom line is I could almost buy a new paddle for a refinish. And I’ve been to the shop, it was like being in heaven! Had trouble not drooling for a week after that. I have all winter to decide what to do, just too many miles on it to set it aside. Thanks for the advice. Will post later when I decide which way to go!


I’ve been somewhat ambivalent about

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making the drive up there. I'm fairly certain I would end up leaving the place $300 happier, but then I'd be saddled with a shiny dark secret to hide.

are you willing to invest $50?
If you are you can get 4oz of G-Flex resin and 4oz of hardener plus 6oz of graphite powder for about $40, shipping included. You would need a little denatured, isopropyl or rubbing alcohol for cleaning, some sandpaper, and masking tape. Perhaps some clear packing tape to create a dam for the epoxy as described by Patrick in his article.

You need to mix up very small batches of epoxy to fill and fair the chips and G-Flex is perfect for this. Apply small amounts of epoxy and sand smooth after it cures and continue this process till perfectly fair. For the last application, mask your paddle a half inch back from the edge (or more if necessary if you have big chips) and apply a smooth coat of epoxy with graphite powder over the entire edge. Pull the tape off the paddle before the epoxy is entirely cured (probably around an hour). Repeat on the other side.

If you exercise care the cosmetic result will be very good. Sure, if you have real big chips the repair would be stronger if you supported it by applying some cloth such as S-glass or Dynel over the edge, but if the chips are not too big this isn’t really necessary.

While sort of black and perhaps
contributing to paddle edge slipping off things (when that’s desirable), graphite powder is not going to reinforce the epoxy. I speak from having rolled epoxy and graphite powder onto a hull. The result is not as hard as epoxy alone, and not as strong either. It just slides better. If I had to add something to the epoxy on a paddle edge, maybe I would do a layer of plain epoxy and then a layer of epoxy + colloidal silica.

It Won’t Look Pretty
But it will do the job and last over 20 years is how I’ve been repairing all my damaged carbon wing paddles: Using omnidirectional carbon fiber sheets and easy measure (50/50 mixture) Evercoat epoxy resin. Just fill the crevices with resin saturated fine chopped pieces of carbon, then finish by covering patch with small, cut to size carbon sheet. I usually fold it over the edge to do both sides, let set and go paddle the next day. Finish it off later when there’s time to sand smooth and clear coat? Main thing is to get back on the water.

paddle repair
If concerns about looks are a factor, go with the graphite powder or cloth suggestions. If you just want to fix it in the strongest way and continue using it as you have, think about G-Flex mixed with silica. You probably have silica around, so the cost would be just for the smallest container of G-Flex. Cures to an ivory or bone like color.