How to set up your paddle for finishing

-- Last Updated: Aug-01-11 9:59 AM EST --

I just finished my first paddle. Now it is time to finish. I am going with a SPAR Urethane mainly just because it was available. I know there are better options but this is what I purchased. My question is, how do you folks set up your paddle before applying the finish? Hang it? If so how? Wouldn't it be moving around making it difficult to apply pressure while using the brush? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance folks.



painter pyramids
I imagine it would be difficult to flip and coat the other side without touching the finish

The tip of the paddle blade is going to
get banged up anyway, so you needn’t fuss about it resting on something or even having temporary pins in it. The upper shaft is an area where some minor faults in the early varnish can be rectified later, once the first coats are on.

Grey Owl plunge the entire paddle down into a “bucket” of varnish, but I don’t recall how they handle the handle.

You can also varnish in two stages. Do the blade and the shaft “wear” area first, and then do the grip and shaft, covering the “wear” area again as desired. That way you have an entire end of the paddle as a control and handling surface.

G2d, thanks. some good points you make there. When you say “pin it” what would you recommend using? Just a couple tiny nails?

one side at a time

Here is how I finished my paddle
I hung the paddle from a string in my garage, handgrip side up. Now apply varnish to both sides of the blade and to the shaft. Let dry. I didn’t varnish the handgrip as I have been told that over time, natural oils in your hand will protect the grip.

Did you secure the bottom some how so it wouldn’t swing around?

Tung OIl
I do 5 coats of Tung Oil, easy to touch up later down the road.

Not necessary

– Last Updated: Aug-01-11 3:53 PM EST –

You can hold the shaft, just above the blade while varnishing the blade, and then continue moving up until you get to the hand grip.

Thank you all for the input. As soon as I am off work today I’m going to get started.


I would choose tiny nails with
cuts on the shaft to make them stay in, or I would put on the cuts myself. Kind of a matter of judgement. But I prefer the overlapping halves plan.

On the grip, I oil my grips thoroughly. Varnishing grips may or may not work. It depends on one’s taste and on the shape and use of the grip.

I use spray Spar urethane; do one side
then flip it.After the first coat,sand lightly;recoat.

Same, Hang grip by string.
Then I use Watco Teak oil on the grip.

Not yet mentioned
is that foam brushes work very well on varnish. Very easy to “tip” the coat of varnish to remove runs and bubbles.

And never shake a can of varnish! Stirred, not shaken!