Started making a paddle today

and since it’s all Halloween I’ve dubed it “The Black Dahlia” it’s going to be and all black Walnut freestyle/cruser based on some paddles that were origionaly designed with input from people like Micky Landry, the Blackburn brothers, Dave Curtis, and some Pat Moore too. It will end up being an origional because I’m building it strictly from memory…which isn’t that good…lol. I laminated the first two sticks together today and will work on it slowly (I’ve only had the wood sitting around for two years now) When it’s done I post photos of the process.

Sounds Eerily Good…
with all those influences, N.T. I was dreaming through Ted Moore’s “Canoecraft” again today and thinking of paddle making. Looking forward to seeing the Black Dahlia!


– Last Updated: Oct-31-04 7:59 PM EST –

Sounds like it should be a sweet paddle, with designers like that.

I just finished two today, just need to put a few coats of finish on them yet. I think I may have outdone the one I had at Raystown. Too soon to tell though, they don't come alive with color until the finish is applied, but it looks pretty flashy without.

Good luck and keep us posted.


Mike’s paddles…awe-some
Mike has taken paddle making to a fine art, I only wish I had taken more photos of your work at Raystown…poeple really need to see what you can do. and not to mention his boats. They are so beautiful that I’d be afraid to use them. One you had there with the laminated Walnut and Pine wave pattern I would consider nothing less than artwork.

I will take my time and make myself a nice utility paddle but it won’t match the Windwalker craftsmenship but you have certainly inspired me to get out in the shop.

Thanks NT
When I get some varnish on this new paddle, I’ll send you a picture, and please keep me posted to your progress. Buy the looks of your mini paddles, I’m sure your paddle will also be a work of art, as most wood projects are. My paddles are utilitarian, just not on rocky rivers, lol.

Now, for my next project, a dedicated WW paddle.


Ok paddles…fun project
Well so far no hard work has been done and I’ve decided to build two paddles. I started out yesterday buy cutting a Walnut 1X6 into 4 strips 1 1/4x 1 1/2 x 59" to form the shaft of the handles, I then guled/laminated two each and clamped the sh-t out of them and let them dry 24 hours. Tonight I went out after cutting the grass/leaves one more time this year and glued on

the blocks that will form the grips to the top of the shafts. and if anyone has any questions or input feel free to join in. I made two experimental

paddles last year from cedar and was pleased at how easy it was (photos are in this same album) Each day I’ll go out and add a few more pieces of wood untill I get everything ready to cut to shape. I’m winging it on this project so if you know a better way feel free to speak up. These two will be much more refined than the first two I made.

Tonights 15 minutes of work

– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 5:11 PM EST –

Sanded the excess glue from the blanks and glued 4 small blocks on each shaft blank that will help form the grip...tomorrow I'll start figuring the blades.

Looking good
Tip#1 Shaft laminations, if you put the laminations on the same plane as the blade, you will get a more flexible shaft, if you put them 90* to the blade you will get a stiffer shaft. Depending on what the intended use of the paddle is will affect the orientation of the lams.

Tip#2 Grain orientation, if you alter the grain direction on each lam (make them go oposite of each other) it will be much stronger.

Tip#3 Glueing and clamping, it is possible to clamp too tight and squeeze too much glue out and leave the wood starved for glue.


This is a wonderfully informative thread
Thanks Mike and N.T. for these tips per discussion format. This is an excellent way (now I’m beginning to more fully understand those folks who listen intently to the Emerils and the late Julia Childs) for better cooking in the craft of paddle making.


The former wood-clamp expunger of glue

Thanks Milke, On these paddles…

– Last Updated: Nov-02-04 10:38 PM EST –

the lamination will be 90 degrees to the plane of the blade....also I'm going to ovalize the shaft. That is about 1 1/8" wide x 1 1/4" to the front and rear. I have a paddle that's built like this and like the feel, it automaticaly orients the blade in your hand without looking and also adds some stiffness to the shaft under load. This wood is fairly solid and after lamination reminds me of something Buford Pusser would use to settel an argument. Weight should not be to bad either because since the paddle is all hardwood I should be able to shave the blade quite thin and not lose to much strength.

Another hint is to check the straightness of the shaft after the clamps go on...if there is any bow you can force it out before the glue sets.

Since I want to use this paddle in the Wildfire to learn some freestyle moves and also for use in mild moving water I'm thinking of an 8 1/2 wide buy 23" blade and one will be 52" and the other 54". Somthing that will move buckets of water (and the boat) at the twist of the wrist. I'm undecided yet but I may silm the longer one down a bit for use as a cruiser with the Magic.


– Last Updated: Nov-03-04 6:54 AM EST –

I have a clamping jig to glue up shafts, straight and bent, this eliminates any chance error.

Ahhh... walk softly, but carry a big stick.

Paddle weight is such an issue. I truly love the feel of a 20 oz. paddle, but have found that it is rather hard to obtain and still retain good durability and reliability. Personally after 25 oz. paddles start to feel heavy and sluggish. But as I love to tinker, I am always working on the weight issue, and have a few ideas to explore. But sorta got side tracked on building fancy paddles.


Tonights action shots

– Last Updated: Nov-03-04 5:45 PM EST –

well I still haven't spent more than one hour per day on this project and it moving right along. Tonight I cut the strips that will make up the blades...8 - 1/4 x 5/16 x 24" and 4 - 1 1/4 x 1/2 x 24" and started the process of laminating them into blade halves, buy cutting them to 1/2" and 5/16" thickness it will cut way down on the sanding time when I start shaping the blades. and most of the time was taken up trying to decide the grain and color pattern.

Wow, that’s attention to detail! My paddle looks pretty good but not half as nice as that. In three years I’ve managed to carve 4 paddles, and 3 of those are baby sized cedar paddles.

Looks like great start !
I was also inspired by Windwalker’s woodwork.

My copy of Warren & Gidmark’s “Canoe Paddles” arived today care of Amazon. Perhaps a winter project to come. It should be a far easier project than a strip-built canoe.

Also here’s a tip that may save a few bucks. I received a climbing book as gift that came from Waldenbooks. But, I preferred some canoeing books. So I returned at Waldenbooks, and got a gift card which can be used at Waldenbooks, borders, and Now takes you right to Amazon. So for an extra $2.50, and free shipping, I got two books of similar value for the one gift return. Not bad.


Cold rainy night in the shop
Well I spent several hours in the shop tonight trimming and getting the shafts ready for the blades to go on since I want the shafts ovalized I needed to trim 1/4" of the sides, a daunting task cutting freehand with the table saw and trimming the final cuts with a hand saw I got one blad clamped and glued on and hope to put the rest on tomorrow so I can start shaping the blades this weekend.

This would make a good Duckhead

– Last Updated: Nov-05-04 4:21 PM EST –

paddle if I leave it like this...might even be able to keep up with Paddler-WHO1? with it...but I'll keepworking on it till you don't get splinters and blisters.

Blade Shape…

– Last Updated: Nov-06-04 6:16 PM EST –

Well I spent last evening rough sanding the blades on this paddle and this morning I figured the shape of the blade I want to use on this one then marked it and cut it out. It's starting to look a little like a paddle now. Next I'll figure the palm grip and cut it. It's all downhill after that with lots of sanding.
I'm going to set the other paddle blank aside and work on this one so I can learn from any mistakes I make and eliminate them on the next paddle.

Done for the day and the only thing left to do on this first paddle is finish the grip, but that's going to take some time because of a special little detail that I have not figured out how to cut yet. So far it feels great even though the shaft is only 1"x1 1/8" it still has very little flex.

It’s done…one week
with a total of about 10 hours work. The first coat of varnish is on. I’ll take one more photo and post it when all varvish is on and dry ,but this is it and it came out nice. I wont bore you with the next one but I can already tell it will be nicer and go a little faster. I learned a few tricks when it comes to cutting and sanding.

NT thats pretty cool.
What a great hobby. Got me thinking that it might be something good for me to try to keep me from loosing what is left of my small mind during the winter months.

I think that is awesome and I for one am jealous.


At least post a picture of the next one, when you finish it. Personally, I like seeing the results of your projects…