Paddle Difficult to Put Together

I haven’t used my paddle or kayak in about two years. Yesterday I went out for the first time in a while and had a difficult time connecting the two paddle shafts together. They were hard to put together and even harder to pull apart. As far as I can tell, there isn’t any dirt or grime around the two connecting points.

Any clues or suggestions?

A tiny bit of vasoline, or some silicone spray, and work the shafts around a bit.

I have a couple of different brands, and I have to do it to both of them if I haven’t used one or the other in a long time.

This year I even used lip balm in a pinch when I was at a put-in and couldn’t get the shaft to slide in.



In addition to what Jackl said:
I find it much easier to put the shaft together, and pull it apart, by putting the tip of one blade on the ground where I can clamp it between my feet to hold it in place. Then, once you’re started, you can use both hands to twist and slide one shaft instead of using one hand on each shaft.


Two Years!!!
clearly the paddle is just feeling unloved. Try an extra good bath, rinse and maybe a touch of wax. And don’t let it feel so unloved again.

same problem
I had the same problem a few years back, and was advised to lightly sand the shaft with wet/dry sandpaper. Rinsed well afterwards, and have not had any further issues.

I agree. light ‘sanding’ with steel wool
fixed mine. You should never have to fight it together.

Since i have two folding kayaks, I always have the little 2 ounce dropper bottles of Boeshield marine and airplane lubricant for the frames. Works like a charm for paddles too and time and immersion doesn’t break it down and make it sticky like some other lubes.

Same problem

– Last Updated: Aug-27-09 7:19 AM EST –

On two paddles I have.

I called Aquabound and spoke to the owner who told me to sand the insert that connects the 2 shafts together with fine emery cloth. Had to do the same thing with my new Werner Kalliste after several months of use. Apparently the insert swells over time. I would not use any lubricants as that will only make it even more difficult to pull apart trust me I tried that first.


– Last Updated: Aug-27-09 9:41 AM EST –

I guess it depends on the shaft material, glass, carbon or metal. I have Swift carbons. Eddyline recommends a very light sand with very fine 600 grit wet/dry paper if that happens. I'd worry about a petro or wax based lubricant attracting and holding sand and making a problem worse. I do a light application of 303 once a season for carbon joins, then buff it down dry. 303 is some great stuff!!

Thanks to all of you for the superb tips
and I promise to try not to let 2 years go by again.

What were you thinking?

I would not recommend any form of lubricant as this will attract more foreign matter to stick to it.

Use acetone to clean your joints. If its still tight then light sand with emory and then clean again with acetone.

What happens…
is the shaft gets a tiny bit out of round do to stress, temperature expansion etc. Any of the suggestions above will work. I personally wouldn’t be afraid of a little lube job for starters before having to sand.

Aquabounds swell
and the owner told us also to use fine sandpaper and sand carefully- has worked in the past - tends to need to be redone - just be careful and sand ever so slightly so you dont make the join too loose!

sanding paddle shaft
When you sand too much or to many times, and the joint gets a bit loose, you can tighten it with a light coating of poly varnish. Too much varnish can be reduced with steel wool and this “fix” can be renewed periodically as needed. I have used this solution on the brass ferrules of antique double blade canoe paddles.


I’d be very careful recommending cleaning with acetone without knowing for sure what’s being cleaned. Acetone will disolve many plastics.

Bill H.