Epoxy tips on GP's

-- Last Updated: Jul-19-06 10:22 AM EST --

I have laminated a blank, and will be carving a GP this weekend. I have always thought that the faux "bone tips" added by some of the commercial makers look good, as well as protecting the wood from damage.

I do not want to invest in even the smallest West System cans & pumps, because I will not use all the resin in 10 years. But there are available West 105 resin in repair packets. I plan on adding 501 white pigment to these.

Question #1: Should I coat the tips with un-pigmented resin first and then add the pigmented stuff as a second and maybe a third coat?

Question #2: Does pigmented resin need UV protection (coats of varnish)?

And for anyone who has coated a GP's tips, do you have any suggestions?



I just opt to keep the the rocks coated with an ample layer of water instead.

I’m sure Bnystrom has some tips (pardon the pun). Check his Webshots albums - or spring for his book.

Coat away
I chose untinted epoxy on my Cedar Beale. Couple years later it’s still on there, shiny as ever. I would expect untinted should fare as well.

I would use tinted on the first coat. Little note about tinting though. On my toothpick you’ve seen around (the red over white) I had three or four coats of white tint epoxy over 4 ounce glass, and the wood color still showed through. So don’t be suprised if you need to top the epoxy off with white paint. I got my at West Marine and is a very tough finish that should stand the wear.

Good luck and I look forward to trying it at Raystown.


I apply white pigmented
epoxy to the tips of the paddle I make and it works well for abrasion resistance but is only as durable as the density of the wood it’s applied to. The pigment I use can be added to the epoxy at a ratio of 1:10 maximum. I have the best results with it mixed with as much pigment as allowed. I mix up enough epoxy for 3 coats. Tape off the end of the paddle and apply the first coat. Put the epoxy and 1" foam brush in the freezer. After a couple hours I pull off the tape and remove any epoxy that has wicked up paddle grain with a knife. After 12 hours I pull the epoxy and and heat it slowly with a hair dryer until it is thawed. Make sure not to heat it too much and stir it occationally while heating. The epoxy will be a little bit thicker because it cures very slowly while being in the freezer, and apply the second coat. Place the epoxy and brush back into the freezer. In 9-12 hours I apply the third coat and it is even a little thicker and it gives you a nice thick epoxy tip that will be very white. Hope this helps.

Add a thin strip of cloth if you do
I put a thin 1/4 wide strip of fiberglass cloth along the tips (not on the faces) of mine, then clear epoxy for about 2.5" up each blade tip. My wife’s paddle (made at the same time from the same piece of cedar) is naked and no more dinged up at the tips. I’m a little harder on mine, but not that much.

I would probably skip it for a while, you can always add it later. The only dings that really matter are the ones along the blades where you slide your hands.


Good advice all.

I might go the clear epoxy w/white paint route after reading the comments. Although I worked much with polyester back in the '70s, I am at this time an “epoxy virgin”. I had assumed that you could add sufficient pigment to cover the grain. Foolish me. Actual carving to begin this weekend.


Start w/ white + a tiny, tiny bit of 406
… just enough so it flows still. Since you are only using it for coating … overload on the white.

It is resin based so it will still cure.

Baby sit last layer and pull tape just as it stops flowing and invert … tape line will ‘round over’ on its own and make a perfect cosmetic bead.

U.V a non issue.

I use white tint
and black tint on some of my paddle tips.

It works out fine but you will need 2 or 3 coats to cover just like paint.

As Onnopaddle suggests the tint provides some UV protection and the tip will have to be sanded and refinished every couple of years anyway.

I wouldn’t use paint.



With all of these tip "tips"
I had better produce a fine-looking paddle!

I really liked the idea of adding 406 colloidial silica for thickening and the tape trick. I’m now leaning toward finishing the blades in epoxy for durability w/varnish UV coat. Loom will still be a tung/linseed oil mix, as I like the feel.


Epoxy tips
I coat the wood with clear epoxy first (without masking), finish the rest of the paddle, then mask the tips and apply a coat or two of tinted epoxy. You can use either epoxy tints or polyester resin tints, as they’re the same thing in different packages - and often at different prices. Thickening the epoxy helps to prevent it from running as it cures. Silica works well, but it seems to make the epoxy more brittle. A combination of silica and glass microfibers is more durable, but the fibers make it somewhat lumpy, requiring more sanding to get a smooth tip (I always sand the tips to remove the shine, anyway).

There is no need to coat the epoxied tips with varnish for UV protection. The tint protects all but the top surface. The epoxy is a sacrificial abrasion layer that you will be renewing long before UV damage becomes an issue.

Measuring epoxy the cheap way
Sounds like you have your dispensing amounts/methods covered.

Here’s another way to do it that’s pretty cheap and easy:


Also, graphite mixed in with epoxy will make for a very hard and slick surface. Mix in about 20% graphite by volume, apply 3-4 thin coats, and do a light sanding after the last coat cures.

Make these the final coats because not much else will stick to it. Be careful as the sanding will make a quite mess.

And save that cup with the graphite
/ epoxy in it for an experiment … try drilling through the solidified epoxy @ the bottom of cup to see graphite’s lubricating properties.

A consideration
Not really answering your question so take this or forget it…

I’ve carved 2 GPs and have gone back and reshaped one and need to do so on the other. So I personally wouldn’t go to that much effort until I was sure I knew I had what I was after. Little changes can make quite a difference in performance. Then again, you couldn’t possibly be a worse woodworker than I.

Craft Paint works fine
I use craft store paint in the squeeze bottle - it’s water-based acrylic. Mix the epoxy first, then stir in paint until it turns think. This gives a completely opaque color - I use 2 coats for getting good thickness, not for color coverage. I use white paint with MAS, which is amber colored and Cream with System 3, which is clear. Either gives me a bone color - I don’t like pure white on a GP.

This has lasted me for 2 years of hard use, they I just course sand and put on another coat. I did clear coat on one paddle, but I like the look of the off-white better - clear is too shiny for me.


That’s too much for paddle tips
For paddle tips, you need less than an ounce of epoxy at a time. Rather than cups, I use glue syringes (separate syringes for resin and hardener) and simply measure the amount in each one with a ruler to make sure the mix ratio is correct. A typical batch for paddle tips is 1" in each syringe (assuming a 1:1 mix ratio epoxy).

It was just
an example.

Flame orange tips for tips
Its Christmas in July and I have pretty much finished a GP paddle I started back on Christmas Day 2005.

I have given it a few coats of tung oil but I am pondering adding orange tips. I really like the safety aspect of using a orange bladed paddle because the appearance that the paddler is twirling a flaming torch and is awesome for visibility to approaching motor boaters.

Anybody ever consider adding this feature to their greenland paddle ?

I think about the first 3-4-6 inches of the blade tip and at a slashing angle might actually look kinda kool.



I prefer stealth
The segment of the motor crowd more likely to be of concern seem to act more stupidly when they do see me than when they don’t. Weird course changes and such. They rest of the boaters just operating normally, who do nothing different because I’m there, pose no issues at all - seen or unseen*.

So far I haven’t had a single situation where I wouldn’t have been fine even if completely invisible (which I tend to assume I am - same as on a bike). Yellow PFD will have to do (until I get a gray or black one).

*One place I’d like to be seen is offshore along the beach - just outside the no vessel line - as once in a while someone cruises the marker line pretty fast. If I’m into the wind and they come from behind I might not hear them…

To be seen or not to be seen
Although I agree that a bunch of powerboaters act stupidly after they see a kayak I still prefer to be seen.

Yes, either you have the “right to go” or not you are in a kayak and better get out of the way but how can you assume a powerboater who doesn’t see you will maintain his course steady?

By assuming nothing…

– Last Updated: Jul-21-06 1:04 PM EST –

... or assuming they may do the stupidest thing imaginable.

How far to you really have to move a kayak to avoid collision? How long does that take? If you have time to realize there may be a problem - it's enough. If not - too late anyway.

Enhancing visibility is a reasonable precaution and I don't mean to suggest people don't do so - just that I find it a bit overblown for my needs.

It's a popular topic among paddlers who are crazy enough to paddle busy inland lakes with no speed zones or traffic flow. If that's the only place they can paddle, they would be wise to do whatever they can.

Often those most worried about boat/PFD/paddle color (and reflective tape) are the same ones who complain about tiny jet ski wakes - and buy air horns - and who seem to have time to stop and use the horn or wave their paddle frantically and expect others to move - but can't be bothered to just take another stroke or two, when doing that takes care of the problem whether you're seen or not.

Many paddlers are big on "paddle flash" for visibility - but from what I've seen this is mostly visible to other paddlers who are keyed in to it. Not so noticeable to other boaters who have a different perspective and set of concerns, or even non-paddlers on shore. Much more of a flat water thing too - dark water with dark wooded/rock shorelines and such for added contrast will make white/yellow/orange blades pop. In bright high sun glinting off water, and bright/hazy featureless ocean horizon or light sandy shore (or big white condos) same blades easily fade into the background. If the breeze picks up - totally gone.

But again, all better than nothing I suppose. People who like their gear to have the circus look should go for it as long as they aren't relying on it to actually DO anything significant and realize their safety is (literally) in their own hands - not in the someone else's eyes.

I'm not talking about hardcore offshore or expedition paddling where air/sea rescue is a possibility - but even there VHF/flares/smoke/dye markers will far outperform gear color.