How Best to File Down a Paddle?

Hello. I have an AquaBound Stingray paddle (carbon shaft, fiberglass blade) that has been a great paddle for a few years now. The only problem is that I’ve always had a lot of trouble assembling and disassembling the paddle, as the ferrule between the paddle sections is extremely tight.

It’s gotten progressively worse the past two years, and it’s now to the point where I cannot completely connect the ends to the point where the metal button pops through. As a result, I’m having to leave a cm or so of ferrule showing when I paddle, and even then, I have a really tough time taking it apart.

Has anyone had a similar problem? If so, I’d appreciate any recommendations as to the best way to fix it. I’ve tried soapy water on the ferrule, but it doesn’t work. My only thought is now to try to file down the ferrule in some way, but I’m not sure how-- or whether doing so will hurt the paddle’s performance or make it more susceptible to breaking.

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!


Tampa Bay, FL

Use vegetable or cooking oil on it
My friend said it worked for them.



– Last Updated: Oct-25-08 4:13 PM EST –

I'm sure other folks have more experience, but here are my thoughts:

I'd arm myself with some fine sandpaper(600 and finer) and a marker. A dowel/pipe/deep socket slightly smaller than the male ferrule might be useful

First make sure that both ends have a smooth radius or chamfer. Then feel both sides for any obvious burrs or ridges, and get rid of those.

Draw a grid pattern on the male end, assemble/disassemble as far as you can, and look for the worst wear which should indicate high spots. Sand LIGHTLY, clean off dust, repeat.

Cleaning off the sanding dust is very important -- it doesn't take much to cause binding. Wet-sanding minimizes airborne dust.

What I have done …
Using a pocket knife blade very carefully scrape across the high ribs of the male ferrule - two or three light passes only with the blade almost at a right angle to the rib. You’re not cutting the rib, but scraping across it. Go slowly and scrape again only if needed. Then use powdered (dry) graphite to lube the ferrule. Powdered graphite is usually found in the locks section of hardware stores and Home Depot/Lowes.


2nd for wet/dry sandpaper
I used 600 grit wet/dry to adjust the fit of my carbon shaft AT paddle. Work slowly, clean it and test it as you go.

light sanding wouldn’t be bad
use some 400 grit wet/dry paper. Wet down the connector and lightly sand wrapping the paper around the shaft. After that, clean well and lightly oil with a drying lubricant like Finishline(it’s made for bicycle chains).

This is the way to fix the problem
I used to work in a shop where we sold Aquabound paddles and from time to time would get ferrules that would stick as you describe.

As has been mentioned, get a piece of 400-600 wet/dry sandpaper and give the ferrule a (very) gentle sanding while checking for fit often – it won’t take much. Also clean the inside of the ferrule with a piece of rolled up sandpaper.

Don’t be too aggressive, you don’t want the ferrule to be sloppy.

I wouldn’t suggest using any kind of oil on the ferrule as it will attract sand and dirt – which could create a bigger problem in the long run.

Hope this helps,


Second the wrapping
around the shaft. Tear the paper into 2" strips and use them like you were shining a shoe. Rotate the shaft often, work slowly, and try to only take a little at a time.

I wouldn’t use any lube other than silicone on th eferrule. You don’t want to attract dirt.


Just checked my Werner ferrule and
it does not have anything like a rib. Your approach sounds like a good one, but not universally applicable.

Just a technical note… All resins,
even epoxy, absorb water in small amounts, and this can be accompanied by swelling. I personally do not know whether the amount of swelling would be enough to explain the increasing resistance to ferrule assembly and disassembly that some have experienced. If we’re lucky, onnopaddle will show up and enlighten us.

I’m not sure that water being absorbed by the ferrule (which is not made from epoxy btw) is the problem here – we had ferrules that had never been in the water that were sticking. While hydroscopics and swelling may have had something to do with the sticky ferrules, I think the main problem was at the factory in the manufacturing of the shafts.

Since last year, the problem was rectified and I didn’t see any further problems with the Aquabound shafts sticking (although most of their ferrules, at least those on the carbon paddles, have been changed to the more adjustable TLC ferrule).

At any rate, the fix is quite simple – just shave off a small amount of the plastic with some sandpaper.


Right -
works with Aqua-Bound. Haven’t had the problem with Werner, but it would be tricky - maybe just use graphite as a preventative.

What worked for me
Had similar problem and solved it as follows:

Used steel wool to clean and smooth the ferules.

Used bicycle chain lubricant on the ferules. Bike chain lubricant is designed specifically to lubricate and to minimize picking up dust and particles that can bind a bike chain. Perfect for paddle ferules.

I do this process once or twice a year and have had no problems.

Only brought it up because my
Werner ferrule clearly is made from resin, probably epoxy resin.

Use it at the Reno Whitewater Park…

Oh, you weren’t talking about filing down the blade. Never mind.


Don’t forget too:

– Last Updated: Oct-28-08 1:53 AM EST –

The cool water from wetsanding will cause the ferule to contract. Sort of a safety net .. just go slow and check often.

Conversly, twisting the ferule into the shaft and dry sanding will cause it to heat up ( expand ) and 'trick' you into sanding it down too much so when it cools down or worse, dunked in cool water, its even looser.

With the AB plastic ferules .. Try super cleaning them first. Including the INSIDE of the shaft >>> Important with these kine ferules.

Also don't scrape or file or sand ALL the ribs down @ first .. try slightly on one or two then check.

Also, also notice the middle of the ridges ( the part you might attack first ) is not the culprit as much as the edges of the ridges getting fuzzy.

Most glass shafts have the same material / thickness ferules and so have same / similar thermal expansion characteristics. Once in a while just to check though, stick your finger or something up in the 'female' side of the shaft to make sure it is not wearing out from the inside ... This is usually apparent in the form a ridge in there.