Paddle lay-up advice

Finally, the unseasonably warm weather is giving us a break and I’ll get some shop time in.

Among winter projects I’d like to get underway, a two-piece Greenland paddle. P-net wisdom is that cedar is too soft and weak to use where the ferrules attach to the paddle. Therefore, the center of the loom will be ash, where the ferrules meet the loom. To minimize the weight of the paddle, I’d like to maximize the use of cedar throughout the rest of the paddle. So, the question is, how should the ash and cedar be joined?

One option is to gorilla glue cedar “wings” onto opposite sides of both ends of a 1.5”x1.5” square piece of ash stock, producing a blank that looks something like this:




Since the center of the paddle is the thickest part, most of the paddle laid up in this manner will be ash. An alternative is to transition the ash loom to cedar at some point, so that I end up with a blank that looks something like this:




If I try that approach, seems like there’d be potential weak point where the cedar is joined to the ash loom. I am seeking recommendations for how to transition from ash to cedar to hold down weight and maximize strength. Any suggestions?

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

The problem occurs when…
…you try to connect a hard, stiff material to a soft, flexible material in an area where it will be flexed a lot. That’s what happens with ferrules in cedar paddles and it would happen if you try to connect cedar blades to a less-than-full-length loom. To avoid this, I suggest that you stick with a full length ash loom with cedar blades laminated to the sides. It will be plenty strong and stiff, so you can make the blades thin to reduce weight without sacrificing performance or durability. Making the loom 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" will help, too.

c’mon now
we are on a roll.

Full respect to you if you want to build one, but I have neither the time nor the workspace to do so. I have a home to fix/improve as well.

Therefore I have to get the best kayaks I can on my modest working girl’s budget. Either that or catch the ones that wash up :wink: