Wild-hair (GP project #1)

So I was at Lowe’s last night and I came across two really nice pieces of fir in 1x4x6 with almost perfectly straight grain, so I bought them and decided to make a Greenland Paddle.

I’ve got the main shape cut, the loom (?) formed, and I’ve got one blade planed out. I’m not sure about what all the parts are so if I’m naming something and you are thinking “What the hell is he talking about?” I don’t know myself.

The grain is almost perfect so I know there aren’t any weak spots, or at least there shouldn’t be, but there seems to be a lot of flex along the loom (I can’t find a link that shows all the parts, but if my memory is correct, I’m thinking the loom is the center part between the blades). I know that there should be some flex with wood, but since this is my first attempt and I don’t really know anything about these, I don’t know what too much flex is.

I didn’t take any off of the thickness (3/4”) but I did cut it down to 1 ½” on width, shaped in an oval, and made it at about 20” long before it starts to flare out for the blades.

When I push on it, I can get it to flex fairly easily probably about 2-3” over the length of the whole paddle (not an exact measurement, and the flex appears to be consistant along the length of the loom). The blades aren’t really flexing at all (one hasn’t been shaped and the one that is shaped has a spine) so the 2-3” of flex is coming from the 20” loom length. I feel like this is a lot, but as I said before, I don’t really know anything about these. Does this seem like a lot?

I realize that it’s hard to know what is going on without seeing it, but any tips/opinions/links/experiences on shape and dimensions would be appreciated.


You Need To Cut In Half And Glue

– Last Updated: Jul-19-05 8:56 AM EST –

together. One inch "nominal lumber" is only 3/4" thick or deep. That's not deep enough for a paddle. That's while you have some much flex (and will likely snap in half in real usage). Most folks are using a depth of 1.5" (some I have seen with 1.75"). Also, 6' long would be too short for a "regular" greenland paddle and would be more appropriate for shaping a storm paddle. My regular GPs are between 81-84" in length. I doubt you are as short as my 5'3" height.


PS. Okay, you did have two pieces, did you bond to get a nominal 2" thickness to start?

You’re a bit thin
I just finished a GP which I made from 2 pieces of 3/4 stock glued together to get a 1 1/2 thick piece. The grip oval should be perpendicular to the blades. On your paddle it is paralell to the blades. Since it is nearly finished you might as well try it and see if you like the concept. Nothing lost except your labor and a board at this point.

U need a 2X4
unless you are going to laminate.

what they said and…
only 6’??

My GP is over 7’ (230 cm)


Chuck Holst’s plans
I’d recommend that you examine Chuck Holst’s excellent plans to make a GP. You can find these (free) plans and other paddle making resources on the Qajaq USA (Greenland) site at http://www.qajaqusa.org/Equipment/equipment.htm#paddlemaking .

Greg Stamer

Thanks for all the good info.

Yes, Chuck Holst’ plans.