Palm Rollin' Paddle

Do any o’ youz canooists out thaar in P-Netland modify de grips on yer paddles ta make palm rollin’ more comfortable? Iffin’ ah’ gots a paddle wit a wide grip dat ah’ want ta use mostly as a tourin’ paddle - ah’ usually sand de grip down ta more of a Racine-type profile.

Fat Elmo

I wanted to cut down a BB Sunshadow by 2", and took NT’s advice to cut a “V” in the palm grip as the preferred method. Worked well, but I lost a little overall width on the grip.

The unintended result is that I can spin/rotate the grip very easily. I use this paddle mostly for lillydippin’ so ther is no need for a honkin’ wide grip.


So, Elmo, you admit losing your grip.
I’ve made a number of experimental softened t-grips from various hardwoods. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have Picasa or anything like it where I can post photos for you to see. If you email me, I’ll take some digital photos and send them to you. Maybe they would give you some ideas. Maybe even ideas related to paddle grips.

oil instead of polyurethane
The only modification I made to my Grey Owl Freestyle paddle was to sand off the PU on the grip and redo it with oil (Watco, I think). I’m pleased with the result.

– Mark

Paddle Grip
Generally a pear grip or some variation on it is the most comfortable to palm roll. I’ve palm rolled Ts and dedicated pear grips but they’re not very comfortable. The main things to look or more aptly to feel for are hard spots and sharp edges. The points or ends of the pear grip also need to be nicely rounded.

When I build a paddle, after the initial shaping and sanding of the grip, I put it in my hand and roll it just like I would do when paddling. It’s amazing what you can’t see but can feel. Work any hot spots with 80 grit sandpaper until they feel smooth. Then finish sanding down to 180 or 220 grit.

What type of finish to put on the grip is up to the individual user. I’ve had many customers request that the grip not be varnished. For some an oil finish is preferred. Some want it left completely unfinished. My personal preferance is for a varnished grip. The varnish protects the wood and I’ve never had my hand irritated by it. Some swear that a varnished grip produces blisters. It’s a personal thing.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works