Tool suggestions for paddle making

9" Bandsaw?
I found a 9" bandsaw at Lowes:

I know it is inexpensive and won’t be the best. But for making a few paddles, would this do?

I don’t want to get this, and then not be able to use it more generally. It seems like a jig saw has more uses. I bought a $50 black and decker jigsaw. But I’m debating taking it back for the bandsaw.

It seems like I could get a better and closer cut with a bandsaw. In the past, when using a jigsaw I get pretty crooked lines. But since I would be cutting outside of the paddle outline, I don’t know that this is such a bad thing. The table aspect of the bandsaw is appealing to me.


Bandsaw or Jigsaw?


saw is only for cutting out the rough shape. Don’t need anything special for just a couple of paddles. If you only figure on making a couple of paddles, you could plane the blade edges to close to the lines with either a hand plane or a power planer…only need some sort of saw for the part by the loom. and a jig saw or a band saw doesn’t really matter to make a cut around 20 inches long on each side…this can even be done using s rasp and a little care. If economy of making a paddle is primary…don’t go out and buy $500 to $1000 on tools in order to make a $150 to $400 dollar paddle. ($400 for a carbon fiber, already made paddle) if time is of no consiquence, then the small block plane and a rasp and a sanding block, and a fist full of sandpaper will actually get the job done.

another option is a pre cut paddle blank from Superior, and you just do the sanding and finishing touches

Best Wishes


good point Zapf
besides your local hardware almost every local printer has some one who sharpens the knives on their papercutters. These specialized grinders often also sharpen wood working tools( at least they do here in the old furniture capital of the United States)

one more tool . . .
Now that you have to build a huge shop to accomodate all of the tools you’ve had recommended, and the $100 has had another zero added, let me add one more from the hand tool side of the experts. Check out this site for a shaving horse you can build yourself. It really has helped me with the paddles I’ve made.

Paddle making is great therapy when you can’t hop in a knoo and go for a ride.

Seems like…

– Last Updated: Jan-15-07 11:47 AM EST –

…I entered into another pointless online debate – this time with Sea_kayaker. My apologies to the originator of this post for taking it off track by reacting to Sea_kayakers comments. My apologises to sea_kayaker as well: I had no business inferring that the paddles he carves are crude – I don’t know that for a fact. But since he claims to spend only a minimum amount of time and stresses the use of power tools over hand tools it seemed logical (to me) to make that assumption. I could be completely wrong. At any rate I’ll say a few more things and then withdraw from this conversation. These online debates are so pointless… but Dolt that I am I’m restating my case once again… FWIW.

The planes that have been suggested as useful for paddle carving are all metal bodied planes with mechanical blade adjustments, these patterns where developed within the last century and are actually very sophisticated. These are not “primitive” tools that have not changed in generations as has been incorrectly claimed. The “Microplane” rasps are another modern development; they came on the market about 10 years ago. Microplanes are essentially an improvement over the older (but still useful) Stanley Surform line of tools (from the 1960s). Again the term “primitive” to describe these tools is completely inaccurate. There is of course nothing wrong with using tools that preceded contemporary hand tools (such as wooden bodied planes, etc) to perform these same tasks, but I feel modern hand tools are easer to work with, so that’s what I use. The point is that the hand tools mentioned in this thread are not by any stretch of the imagination “primitive”. To refer to them as such shows ignorance of the tools being discussed.

Regarding Sea kayaker’s analogy: If I were trimming out a house I could see the advantages to using a pneumatic nailer rather than a claw hammer, it’s much faster and would be a logical choice in that situation. If on the other hand I was hanging a picture and needed to tap a nail part way into a wall I’d naturally choose a claw hammer, because I could control it better – and the air-gun would be overkill (not to mention stupid). In short I’d choose the best tool for the task at hand. It’s best to know how to use both hand tools and power tools – and to be able to use each when most appropriate. This actually gets directly to my point. Far too few people these days know very much about hand tools, all they know how to use are power tools. These people end up shunning hand tools – usually because they don’t have a clue how to use them.

Now the big picture: in woodworking virtually anything that can be done with a power tool can be done with a hand tool. Often hand tools are capable of more precise, more accurate work. Many jobs that can be done with hand tools are impractical or even impossible with power tools. Here’s one example: I have carved canoe paddles that have an oval shaft shape near the bottom above the throat (where it’s held). To save weight I sometimes taper the shaft to a full round up near the grip. I accurately lay this out and use spokeshaves to cut the shaft – transitioning from a comfortable true oval (an elliptical shape in cross section measuring 1 1/16” X 1 1/4” fits my hand nicely) to a full round (1” X 1”) just below the transition to the grip. One could use a router with a round-over bit to approximate this, but in reality that would just make a rectangular shape with rounded corners – not very comfortable. One could also use the router and then “blend it in” with a rasp or whatever, but the shape becomes much harder to control when done the “bogus” way. It’s better (in my opinion) to know how to use hand tools to do the job the right way – with control and precision. It pays to know how to use both power tools and hand tools – it make you much more versatile and allows you to get the results you’re after rather than results that merely “approximate” the results you desire.

FWIW, I’ve been working wood since I was a young kid, my father gave me my first spokeshave when I was 7 or 8 years old – that’s 50 years ago. Over the decades I’ve put together a well equipped woodshop housed in a two-story former carriage house. My equipment ranges from such things as a monster 3-phase thickness planer and pneumatic sanders down to fine edge tools. I’m fortunate to have a full battery of machines and hand tools to choose from. In my lifetime I’ve been a woodshop teacher and furniture maker. These days, among other projects, I make a few paddles for my own entertainment and on occasion as a gift for a friend. I don’t “take orders” for paddles and am in no hurry what-so-ever when I make one. I carve paddles purely for my own entertainment and so that I can have paddles of particular patterns and of a level of quality that are not available commercially. I typically spend a full day or so carving a paddle not including finish, I’ve spent more time that that, truth be known, but 7-8 hours is typical. Typically I’ll spread the shaping over a day or two. I’m in no hurry and that’s a good thing, I could never make a living making paddles at that rate! If I was a “purist” I suppose I’d live in the woods and make birch bark canoes from scratch and my paddles using a crook knife. As it is I use a combination of modern power equipment in conjunction with state of the art hand tools. The fact is the older I get the more I enjoy using hand tools – it’s a very peaceful way to spent time in the shop.

I use a thickness planer and a band-saw when I begin a paddle and pretty much do all the rest with hand tools. This approach allows me to run a quiet shop that is relatively dust-free (after the initial machine work is done). This approach also allows me to get exactly the shape, fit and balance I’m after when I set out to make a paddle. When the weather is fair I leave the shop doors open and can hear the birds sing in the yard when I’m carving – sure beats the whine of a router! It’s enjoyable and relaxing work and I take pride in what I turn out.

To sum up I think too many people think they need a shop full of expensive machines to perform simple woodworking projects – most can be done with simple hand tools that cost far less. One can purchase all the hand tools one would ever need for paddle carving for far less money than the cost of a descent table saw alone (but I’ll keep my table saw – it’s useful…). I think far too many people are ignorant as to how to use hand tools and feel they’d be ahead to learn how to use them. As I’ve said so many times before: anything that can be done with a machine can be done with a hand tool – sometimes slower, but usually better. It’s handy to be well versed in using both hand tools and machines.

I’ll shut up now. - Randall

Well said…

– Last Updated: Jan-15-07 10:34 AM EST –

As a fellow long timey "sawdust eater" ah' couldn't agree wit yer more. Me uncle, who waar a master cabinetmaker always said... "It's not the tool, it's the fool". Sounded good anyway.

Fat Elmo

(Damn, a two story carriage house woodshop wit 3 phase! Ah'd give my ex-wife's right arm fer dat)

I’m trying my first now as well
I noticed that a 2X4 stud I had for another project was pretty clean so I am carving a GP from it as practice before I cut into my chunk of cedar.

I’m using a bench plane, jigsaw, spokeshave and a palm sander to make mine. So far I’ve used all the tools -the spokeshave for the first time today. It took me about 10 min to get the spokeshave down (adjusting the blade and technique). The jigsaw worked fine for cutting out the shape. I cut generously outside the line just in case but I found my $10 B&D cheapo one to cut just fine and I wish I had cut right on the line.

I figure that the cedar will be even easier as it is a less dense wood. The pine one will probably end up as decoration.


No, that won’t work
It’s made for knives and it won’t hold a plane or spokeshave blade adequately. This is about the simplest honing guide that will work for planes, but it may not work for a spokeshave blade, depending upon how long the blade is:,43072,43078&ap=1

True, but…
…if you have to rely on someone else to sharpen your tools, you either won’t get much work done or you’ll likely spend a fair amount of time working with dull tools, which is frustrating and potentially dangerous. This is especially true if you have inexpensive tools, as they don’t hold an edge for long, even when working softwoods like cedar. Given that, the cost of professional sharpening will add up to the cost of buying your own sharpening supplies pretty quickly.

IMO, sharpening should be considered an integral part of woodworking, not an afterthought.

Band saws are really useful…
…but not a necessity. While the one you linked to will work, most 9" saws are more like poorly designed toys than tools. They’re a pain to set up, don’t stay in adjustment and don’t work very well. If you need a small saw, see if you can find a Ryobi BS1001SV 10" saw. It’s still small, but it’s feature packed and works really well. Here’s a review:

I’m poor and do it.
I’ve got two paddles in my living room drying.


Wood, elmers glue, rope, belt sander.

Take a 2x2 for the shaft. Glue a couple pieces of 1x6 to each side of one end for the blade.

Glue the same to the otehr end for a kayak-paddle or small pieces if canoe paddle.

lay newspaper over the blade, tie a couple pieces of 2x2 across both sides of the bald to prevent warp then wrap a rope around the blade, stick a stick through the rope and twist to tighten the 1x6 to the 2x2. If you have furniture clamps, better.

Then when dry, remove it all, sand to shape withthe belt sander and varnish.

I’ve made a number like this and they work. And they are somewhat pretty too!

Of course, if you use good tools ytou get better results but hey! the Indians made paddles with a rock so why can’t we?