greenland paddle construction

OK, I am making the greenland paddle, it is time to start cutting in the angles to make it diamond shaped. However, the cedar I found at Lowe’s is very flexible now, if I remove more wood, it seems like it will become a 2 peice paddle. Is the paddle supposed to be that flexible? Measurements, loom 22", 89" overall, no shoulder, went straight from loom to blade, 3.25" at each end. still about an inch in the loom. Thanks, John

A one inch loom is way to small
And will be very weak. Most looms are 1 1/4" x 1 1/2". If your hands are small you can make these measurements a little bit smaller.

Even for small hands…
…I’ve never found it necessary to make the loom less than 1 1/8" x 1 1/4".

How much did you taper the blades?

You might laminate thin hardwood strips
on and then shave them down to a correct size for your hands. That might handle the flex. Otherwise, you’ve already made your first paddle and are ready for the next one!

do yourself a favor, and buy Nystrom’s book. I’ve made several paddles, and still refer to it occasionally. BTW, I have found most lumber yards carry better cedar than Lowe’s. The quality and grain orientation of the wood is a big factor in strength. Also, consider laminating two 1x4’s, instead of starting with a 2x4.

I based the size of the loom,…
On my tennis racket handle, but tweaked it a little bit. I rounded the corners of the loom even more until it was very comfortable.

It took me about 20 minutes to find a nice vert grain 2x4 at the local lumber yard, but my 2nd GP turned out pretty good.

My favorite paddle blanks…
…generally start out as a cedar 4x4, which I resaw into two paddle blanks. I find that 4x4s are generally better quality than 2x4s and have a much higher probability of having properly oriented grain.

Or epoxy a couple of
strips of carbon or similar tape or even use a sleeve to cover the entire thing or just some of it in the loom and a little of the shoulder/blade areas. That will both stiffen it and make it much more ding-resistant if you do the edges. A little messy but laminating with wood is not that much different and adds more weight.

This way, if you like a very thin paddle that from wood would be too flexy, you can still get a little more flex dialed-in by applying some carbon here and there or over the entire thing… I suppose fiberglass would work too and will “disappear” so the wood would show under it, if looks of wood are your thing…

That would certainly salvage…
…an otherwise too flexible paddle, but for the cost of epoxy and glass (assuming you don’t have it kicking around), you could just buy another paddle blank and carve a properly-sized paddle.

That loom is too thin
If it’s 1" in height and width, then it’s gonna be pretty flexy and easy to break. Yeah, I spent hours digging through the supposedly clear cedar lumber piles at Lowe’s and Home Depot, only to find much better lumber at local specialty yards for only a few bucks more… I’m actually putting on fiberglass tips on my second carved GP today. It’s a 96" long cedar paddle modeled on the free Chuck Holst design, but with angular faceted lines. It’s exactly like the first one I carved, but a foot longer and with slightly thinner blades.

I may try the laminating idea to save it, but there is a lumber yard in gainesville that sells cypress. I will grab a couple or a 4x4 and recut it. John

If you have a good table saw
available to rip a 4x4, that’s a great way to go. The yard may even do it for you. I would like to try a cypress blank. Care to share your source?


– Last Updated: Oct-13-10 11:47 AM EST –

Have to agree here with CapnKen. Making a paddle is a fair amount of time. I find it hard to believe that you found a good piece of cedar at Lowes. I live in the NW and good cedar is hard to find without going to a specialty yard... Lowes mostly carries fence crap. I make canoe paddles and a little extra money at a specialty lumber yard is money well spent. I use alder, birch, yellow cedar (I love carving this), spruce (we get really good spruce in the NW) or maple - quality of the grain more often than not dictates the choice of my paddle wood.

One piecing it.

– Last Updated: Oct-13-10 11:56 AM EST –

Here's what I do with a canoe paddle. I start with a rough sawn 1x6 or 1x8 - this is 7/8 thick when planed.
I cut the blank out. There are two long thin scraps that are shaft length which can be laminated onto either side of the shaft. Carve.

If lucky, I can find a 5/4 rough sawn (1-1/8 thick when planed)and no laminating the shaft.

FYI with a 1x 8 I can make two long blade canoe paddles - one is 3 pieces of wood, the other four (split the scrap from the first and glue it back together)

canoe paddles
Now just splice the two paddles in the center and you will have made a fine double blade canoe paddle!