Balance of an ottertail paddle?

Once again,I am building a paddle, one of which I have never used or even fondled.

I’m building an ottertail out of cherry. I am at the blanked out stage with a lot of stock removed and the finished shape obvious.It feels very blade-heavy and I may have another 1/4" to 3/8" to remove from the blade.

Are these paddles supposed to be balanced between blade and shaft?

paddle balance
I have a nice example of a Grey Owl Chieftain. Not exactly an Ottertail but close. I just checked and it balanced right near where the blade joins the shaft…about 1 inch up the blade (as it starts to flare out from the shaft). My Chieftain has nice balance for a long bladed paddle.

I suspected that,which gives me an
idea of how much more stock to remove.

Ottertail balance
My favorite paddle is a Grey Owl tripper in cherry. (A beavertail, but if I were to use an ottertail I’d want it to balance just like that beavertail.) It balances about an inch above the throat and I really like it there. I’d think after the blade is carved to where you like it, the grip could be made to achieve that balance point if it were left large in the roughing out stage.

My Harmony Ottertail balances at
about 3" above the blade. The shaft is somewhat thick,

which explains the difference from the others.

I like the feel of that formed shaft, anyway, as there

is sufficient flatness for the end of the fingers.

Good luck with your build!

I would want it to be ballanced …
… take fish weights 1/2 oz. , 1 oz. etc. and set them on the top grip to check for ballance if needed .

You can always core the top grip and put the lead in there if needed , as opposed to thinning the blade any more than you desire .

Good suggestions; thanks.

String, I won’t be back home 'til

– Last Updated: Jul-14-10 3:24 PM EST –

next week to check mine but, if I recall, the Kettlewell Special at 66"OAL was blade-heavy even before I thinned the shaft some. It seems okay that way, as it is primarily intended for in-water recoveries.

I may have it completed by then,but
based on my speed with this project,who knows?