Paddling making /wood working books

So my interest in paddle making has been sparked by reading about Greenland paddles. I’m going to attempt to make a few here soon, but I’d really like to learn more about paddle making and related wood working in general.

I’ve found these two books:

Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own (Paperback) - Graham Warren, David Gidmark

That I will probably order soon, but I’m almost completely new into the area of fine wood working. So I’d be interested in a general wood working handbook as well? Something that would teaching me about tools, technique, types of woods, etc…

Any recommendations?


Got’ta look

– Last Updated: Dec-26-06 3:51 PM EST –

see at my old books. Ah'll git some titles fer ya in de next day or two. In de meantime, ah's highly recommend Taunton Press's 'Fine WoodWorking' magazine. It be a bit pricey but it's excellent. A good video for paddle makin' be Caleb Davis's "Welcome To Making Traditional Shaped Canoe and Greenland Kayak Paddles". Can be had through Wooden Canoe Heritage Association.

Note; me' noticed yer p-net name..... naked. One word o' advice - if yer plan on doin' wood working in yer birthday suit, jus' be careful ye dun't git yer 'wood' too close to yer tools.

Stay tuned...

Fat Elmo

Making Paddles
Naked, I’m in the process of making my first laminated paddle. Not really all that difficult and using limited tools. I’ve made paddles out of one piece before:

The paddle I’m making now is out of ash, butternut, and mahagony and the tools I’ve used so far are a table saw, although a circular saw will do as well, a hand plane, a beltsander, sandpaper, and clamps, lots of clamps. Gorilla glue is what I’m using and it seems to be strong and I’m working of the advice of others who have made many paddles using it. I picked it for small tubes of it for 3$ at the local hardware store. Go’s far and I still have enough left from 2 tubes to make at least 2 more paddles.

I’m not expert but can send you pics of how I’ve been doing it if you want to email me direct. It’s addicting, I’m not quite finished with this first one but am already planning my second and third one!


Scott B has also made some really
handsome paddles here last year.


Some online media:

Brian Nystrom
Greenland Paddles Step By Step. I have no idea if it’s a good book but I suspect it could be.

Check your local library
They probably have a bunch of general woodworking books.

Wood Carving
The wood working part of making a paddle is preparation and glueup of a laminated paddle blank. After that paddle making becomes a rather large scale wood carving project. So also check out a wood carving book or two from your library and focus on how to lay out a project and keep track of your guidelines as you carve out your paddle. The Graham book is excellent for canoe paddles and lists helpful hand tools, power tools, and choice of wood. Have fun!

Brian’s book is worthwhile
Just got a copy of Greenland Paddles Step by Step. Having made 25 of them, did not expect to learn a lot that’s new, but I found a number of great nuggets. It’s worth getting.

Cheers, Alan

Assuming that you are going to use edge tools, I’d recommend that you get some books on sharpening and first learn how to put a razor edge on your tools. That will really put you ahead of the game. Two good books are “The Complete Guide to Sharpening” by Leonard Lee and “Sharpening With Waterstones: A Perfect Edge in 60 Seconds” by Ian J. Kirby. You can also sharpen using sandpaper (do a google search for “scary sharp”), that said I much prefer waterstones.

As to building a GP, Chuck Holst’s instructions (available free on the internet) are very good. Brian Nystrom’s book will save you some headscratching.

Greg Stamer

My first attempts at woodworking were completely frustrating because I assumed that hand tools like chisels, planes, etc. came out of the package sharp and ready to use. I thought the gouging and chipping was all my fault. Sharp tools make a huge difference in the enjoyment of the work.

I’d suggest getting a copy of the Lee Valley woodworking catalog. Nice stuff at reasonable prices, and the catalog has better photos than many books.

Amen ta dat, Pilgrim
Yer hit de nail on de head wit dat post.

Fat Elmo

Other woodworking scources
If you’ve got general woodworking questions you can always check out some of the woodworking forums online.

There are a number of these, but this is as good a place to start as any… Especially check out the Neanderthal section…


Bill Bremer

I enjoyed the Warren/Gidmark book…
…even though I’m not a canoeist. It has a lot of good information about paddles in general. Of course, I’m partial to the other book you mentioned, since I wrote it. :wink:

Tools can never be too sharp!

– Last Updated: Dec-29-06 8:28 AM EST –

Greg's right on the money, you need sharp tools to do good work. I've run into a number of people who couldn't get a spokeshave to work for them and they all had one thing in common, they were using the factory "edge", if you can even call it that. While the "scary sharp" sandpaper method will produce a decent, basic edge, nothing works as well as a blade that's been honed on waterstones. If you want to keep your cost down, use sandpaper on glass initially, then fine-tune the edge on waterstones. At a minimum, get one of the 1000/4000 grit Japanese combo stones, which are a bargain. Norton sells an excellent 4000/8000 combo stone that's a pretty good deal. Add to that a good honing guide (Lee Valley) and you're good to go.

I finely-honed edge not only cuts better, it lasts longer and re-sharpens faster.

Wow, thanks for the link
I got into this bassackwards, by building a kit S&G before I had ever so much as drilled a hole in a piece of scrap wood. Been thinking of taking a general woodworking class, since we girls got steered to Home Economics (cooking and sewing) in middle school while boys got Shop. Really, both genders need to take both classes.

good video for inpsiration
Here’s a cool video about a paddle maker.

Its more inspirational than instructional.

If the link above doesn’t work you can view from the home page below.

Nice little video segment

I thought so.
I purchased a Double Whiskey. Can’t wait to get it.