Cut a canoe paddle??

Picked up a gem BB stick at a garage sale for a song and dance. 60 cm maybe a tad long for me. Can I cut it down, and if so, how. Anything in the do or don’t do would be helpful.

Thanks Steve

Assuming your’s isn’t wood…
I asked the same question not long ago. Here’s that thread:

It is wood.
Sorry I didn’t think to note that.


60 cm = 23.622 inches …
… is it the blade length you are talking about and would like to shorten ??

Not sure what a BB stick is , so I’m guessing it is a paddle .

If it is the length of shaft you would like to shorten … it is a simple enough matter to construct a new top grip of whatever style you desire … and still have the original wood of the shaft go completely to the very top end .

Depending on how much you want to shorten the shaft , will determine how much extra wood will need to be built up in the top grip area to shape the new top grip .

just need to know in more detail …
… what it is you are wanting to do with the paddle .

You have said it’s wooden … that makes anything you want to do possible .

Is it “all” wooden ??

it is
all wood. Bending Branches Sun shadow.

60 inch. I checked a few charts and I should take off a few inches. of course I will try it tomorrow to be sure. in a solo canoe is the length the same in the seated position as it would be kneeling?

Assuming I cut it, I am thinking of some sort of dowell plug and strong glue and near the top at the handle. I thought it best to ask before trashing what seems to be a very nice paddle.

Little new to this , thanks.


That’s too nice of a paddle for a dowel grip. If you have a good thin kerf saw you could slice the existing grips off, cutting both sides down the shaft inside the diameter of the shaft. Cut the shaft to length. trim the edges of the top to fit the grip pieces and glue the grips back on the sides. Reshape the portion of the shaft between the grip pieces to fit the contour of the handle, using filler where needed.

I think that he meant …
cut a chunk out of the shaft near the top of the shaft and then drill a hole for a dowel in both the cut end of the long part of the shaft and the shaft stub that’s left on the grip and then use the dowel & glue to join the grip stub and long portion of the shaft.

BB = Bending Branches, sorry …

– Last Updated: Mar-24-10 12:36 AM EST –

...... it just didn't come into my mind .

I took a look at your paddle on their site , has alot of laminate detail in the grip and thru-out . You probably don't want to alter any more of that detail than what's nessasary to have a strong reliable reconection after shortening .

I suppose you could do what you are thinking , cut shaft and dowel .

Personally I would go a sligthly different route which would involve a full spline from the very top of grip all the way into the shaft about 4" - 6" .

This would still require a section of shaft being cut out to shorten as desired , but the remainder of the work process is more involved than a dowel .

Requires a table saw , a simple ply and block home made jig be fabricated .

If you are interested in going the full spline route , we can talk about the how to's more ... "note" , to go this route requires the table saw work be performed "BEFORE" the shaft section is cut out for shortening .

I use 5 min. epoxy (for special gluing) , the kind sold in the hardware stores in the stuck together double syringe tubes (one tube has the resin , the other has the hardner) . Using this epoxy I have never had a failure of a join , joint or bond . We trust it completely for handrail work also .

There are a couple of other ways besides what you or I have mentioned so far ... I have just mentioned what I would chose , although I know some other ways too .

ps., ... it looks like a nice paddle , I wouldn't cut corners if I was going to shorten it .

Rereading it I would agree. That is probably a better approach.

I think I have a good idea now of what to do.

Dowel joints…
…are not very strong, but easy to do if you have the proper alignment tool. This isn’t a good application for such a joint, IMO.

I cut down two laminated wood paddles with good results by cutting out a section below the grip - leaving some shaft with the grip - and putting it back together with a finger-joint. It requires a jig, a good table saw or router table, good clamping system, and some finesse. Not saying you should do that, because it’s difficult to line up the grip with the paddle and it’s a bit hazardous working with long and cumbersome stock - but the result looks pretty good and is much stronger than a dowel joint.

If I had it to do over again though, I would sell or trade the paddles and get new ones in the right length.

I shortened a BB as well.
At the suggestion of NT, I cut the pear grip “ears” off the shaft using a V cut. Easy to do with a mitre saw, harder to do frehand with a Japanese draw saw, but OK.

Shorten the shaft via a corresponding V cut. Then glue the ears back on. It takes some cutting and piecing, but the result is not bad. And I drilled and installed 1/4" dowels in the pear grip halves as a precaution.


I’d consider a ferrule up near the
grip. Not the prettiest, for sure, but strong and relatively easy.

The cool joinery would be the “vee” notch. The longer, the better.

That’s basically what I tried to describe above, only my method uses a straight cut. In retrospect the V cut sounds better.

yes this approach worked for me
I shortened a BB paddle using exactly the approach you mention…cut out a piece, drilled some holes for dowels, and reglued it back together. The joint is about six inches down from the grip. Worked fine for me.

Another option is to cut the blade -

– Last Updated: Mar-30-10 7:34 PM EST –

yes, you can cut that beautiful blade on the sides to
reshape to a shape that is better suited for solo use.

Look around at the shapes of paddles for solo use, and
you'll see they are more streamlined and narrow, and
typically longer than the "regular" paddle.

I cut a 60" cherry beavertail on the sides to a shape
more like an ottertail. A jigsaw will do the job fine.
You can be careful to start with a small decrease, as
you can always take more off later. Laminates are well
made, and it should hold up well with ample varnish.

It will still be a beautiful paddle, and it will
function for you as you want it to.

I almost forgot - the big advantage of the longer
paddle is CONTROL!

Good luck!

Finally posted a pic
of how I shortened a BB via “V” cut. AS I said, I had to do it freehand with a Japanese pull saw, and when I glued it up the joints were not overly tight. I cured that by sawing a shallow kerf and filling it with an epoxy/sawdust mix.


That’s a beautiful job on that. Looks like it was made that way.

Thanks, but there is a reason
I didn’t show the flip side! Due to the asymmetric grip I had to piece a number of small pieces to fill in a gap. And even though I cut it from 58" down to 56", wouldn’t you know that it really should be 55"? Another opportunity.