Paddle shaft final shaping

I am reasonably skilled with a spokeshave, and I have shaved and sanded paddle shafts from a rectangular stock down to the finished ovel many times. Sometimes it is difficult to remove those last few flats, and I had wished for a cabinet scraper radiussed just so to do the final smoothing.

Turns out that there is a tool that does this job:,310&p=54884

$68.00. Ouch. But it turns outh that the blade, handheld, workks quite nicely. For $12.


You’re a perfectionist. I just do it by
eye with a spokeshave and block plane.

I’d need to custom make my own blades…
… for a chair devil as I don’t do round shafts or standard radii. Overkill for me. I could see making a simpler (just flat plate type scraper) with a cutout like that maybe, as a way to be consistent, but identical type consistency isn’t what I’m after so it would still be overkill.

4 flats, to 8, to 16, to knocking off high spots - doesn’t leave much to deal with anyway. Loom shape/feel is pretty important on the Aleuts I do - so there is always freehand “massaging” of the shape after that too. I also change the various radii (egg/rounded trapezoid shape) in tiny increments depending on user. Simplest tools give me greatest flexibility (and less to maintain/sharpen).

I use a fewer tools for carving now than I did at first. Down to drawknife, block plane, gouge (for Aleuts), microplanes for smoothing hollows on either side or ridge (Aleuts) and loom/shoulder shaping (all), and some sanding. Maybe a bit of cabinet scraper use in there somewhere sometimes (mostly to check/true/square faces between major removal steps when roughing out - also likely overkill).

if you get the chance try this sometime
… fresh cut glass pieces as your scraper .

I learned this from an old schooler who had the touch of an Amish cabinet maker . I first tried it out under his supervision while I was making a complex jewelry box (seasoned black cherry)

Beautiful edge on the glass , renew with a new piece anytime you wish .

Got any old glass layin around ?? … just sayin

I don’t do round either
The diameter of the curved blade is about 1-1/4", too large for my taste in a paddle shaft. I too use the 4-8-16-32-64 facet technique with a spokeshave, and had been sanding from there using the “shoe shine” method.

But the scraper will allow knocking off the last little mini-ridges, and will reduce or maybe eliminate the sanding.


glass for scraper
The microscope slides that don’t have polished edges work fine for small jobs. Each slide has 4 longer edges and 4 shorter edges. When they get dull, throw it away and pick another out of the box.


There’s a new invention for this!
It’s called…“sandpaper”. :wink:

Seriously, I agree with doing as much shaping as possible with edged tools and that’s what I do when making paddles. However, what it really does it reduce the amount of sanding I ultimately have to do. I prefer to sand my paddles by hand, as it gives me more control and makes it easier to keep lines and surfaces flat. While it’s theoretically possible to make cutting tools with just the right radii so you don’t have to sand, it’s not a practical reality. Another consideration is that while planes and spokeshaves work well with softwoods, scrapers really don’t. That may not be an issue when making canoe paddles, but for GPs and other kayak paddles that are frequently made with cedar, spruce and pine, it’s something to keep in mind.

BTW, Veritas also makes a spokeshave for convex surfaces. I have one, but haven’t had the opportunity to give it a real workout. I’ll warn you, you won’t like the price.

And I was trying to reduce
the amount of sanding! To each his or her own…

Yeah, I know about the Veritasround spokeshave. I’ll buy one when I hit the lottery.


spokeshave for convex?
Traditionally spokeshaves come in two varieties, flat, and curved (the tool is convex, and it fits concave surfaces). I’ve never seen a tool with a concave sole, is that what you mean? Many many decades ago some tool maker made an adjustable “radius plane” that had a flexible sole, that could be adjusted to fit various curves, but as you can imagine. You can see these from time to time at auctions or antique tool markets. However, a tool with a flexible sole is useless except as a shelf-piece IMO.

I’m not doubting that Veritas sells such a tool, but I don’t see the need for it. For convex work surfaces a flat spokeshave works quite well. You just have to retract the iron a bit, so the front and back of the throat are riding on the workpiece, and the iron is just taking a shaving.

Ah! It just dawned on me that perhaps you mean the curve of the tool is in the plane of the iron, not perpendicular to it. So the iron itself is curved?

If that’s the case, most of what I’ve written above isn’t really relevant.

Have a look.
Item “C”. Only $105. There are less expensive, lower quality ones available too.


Dats de set ah’ gots…
price sure did go up a bit since ah’ got dem.