Thickness of GP blades

I’m making my 11th or 12th GP. This piece of WRC is showing a propensity to crack at the blade tips. I have arrested that with GFlex but want to make the blades a bit thinner.
The weight of the paddle is already good.
Is there any technical issue caused by thicker blades?
The thickness at the tips is 1/2 inch as of now.

What grain orientation are you using?

Not sure I understand. Very straight grained piece.

an extra thick tip will cause the catch to not be as smooth and it will also not be as quiet. As long as the edges are kept somewhat sharp , The paddle will still work. I believe you would not enjoy the stroke as well after losing some of the smoothness because of the tip. If it is to thick, the tips will also fight your plant of the paddle and make the stroke less efficient. Grain orientation effects two things. One is flexibility and the other is blade warp. A flat sawn paddle can sometimes warp to the face side causing a bow shaped paddle.

Make a reinforced tip with 550 cord and epoxy. Tip thickness 1.5x +/- the thickness of the cord.

I will carefully continue the blade thinning. Thanks.

if the grain is perpendicular to the blade face it will have a tendency to split at the tip.

However, vertical grain is superior in every other way. It’s stiffer, stronger, easier to carve and sand and less likely to break than flat grain. Any tendency to split be mitigated in multiple ways:

  • Rounding the tips, rather than leaving them square, makes them much less likely to split.
  • Coating the tips with epoxy eliminates splitting
  • Installing hardwood tips also eliminates the problem

As for the tip thickness, I taper my paddle blanks from 1 1/2" at the loom to 3/4" at the tip. After shaping the blades and rounding the tips, I taper the tips down to 3/8" thick (staring 1 3/4" back from the edge), then add another bevel down to 1/8" thick before sanding the contour to a smooth curve. This insures a clean, quiet entry and exit when paddling. I then coat them with clear epoxy, and again with thickened epoxy tinted white, before applying any finish to the rest of the paddle.

Always good to hear from you Bryan. This paddle is in the prefinished stage and very close to your dimensions . The tips have been rounded and sealed with GFlex.
The blade I used to round them may have been too aggressive but didn’t affect one.
Thanks for all your advice over the years.
I may have actually learned a thing or two.

It’s nice to know that I occasionally say something useful. :wink:

Seriously, I’m glad to help.

When rounding tips, I just cut off pieces with a Japanese pull saw within 1/16" of the line I’ve drawn, then round them using a low-angle apron plane (small block plane), working from each side toward the middle. The whole process probably takes 3 minutes per tip.

I use the same plane for tapering the tips as I described above, starting in the center where the tip is thickest and working in a fan pattern. It’s usually the last step before I switch from carving to sanding.