A new prototype: SUP paddle – Part I

A friend had taken up on Stand Up Paddling. After some time she asked if I could make her a wooden SUP paddle. I’d never made a wooden SUP paddle and was kinda bored or atleast looking for something different to tinker on , so I promised to try to make a paddle for her.

Making something out of bits of wood wasn’t a problem. The challenge in this case was the basic design, shape and dimensions. I had no clue. I’d tried SUPping  awhile ago in Portugal, but I was having such a fun time at the time that I didnt really pay any attention to the details of the paddle. Thank ze gods for the internet!

After googling for about 45 minutes, I more or less had some basic shaky idea what I was going to attempt.  Online, I found a basic template of a paddle blade shape (I’ve lost the link for the moment from where I found the template, sorry about that!) and some possible dimensions as well. Also I had a book (yeah, I know, such an ancient concept and with no wifi either!),  about canoe paddles!! So I was all set to go.@

The idea was to make a bent shaft paddle. My plan was to make the shaft from laminated strips. Partly for visual effetct and partly to make it .. well stronger. I fashioned a glue press with a 10 degree bend. The materials for the shaft were 3 strips of nordic pine sapwood @5.6mm thick and approx 40mm wide. Length at this stage was unknown so I built the shaft about 2300mm long. The remaining 2 strips I decided to use Mahogany of same dimensions. Mahogany may not be the smartest choice , as it is on the heavyish side.. but boy does it look great!

SUP paddle shaft in Glue Press. The shaft consists of 5 wood strips 5.6mm thick each. 3 strips of Nordic pine and two of mahogany. Glue used is Polyuretahne glue . Water spray bottle to ensure the glue ahrdenin process
SUP paddle shaft in Glue Press. The shaft consists of 5 wood strips 5.6mm thick each. 3 strips of Nordic pine and two of mahogany. Glue used is Polyurethane glue . Water spray bottle to ensure the glue hardening process.

To keep it all together, I decided to use single-component polyurethane glue made by Wurth. I’ve used it previously on a couple canoe and kayak paddles with good results. At the moment I dont trust it as much as 2-component epoxy, which I’ve used on several occasion previously, but I think it’ll do the job sufficiently. besides my finances were in the dumps.. polyurethane is soo much more cheaper than epoxy.

Polyurethane glue foams nicely when "drying". Due to this foaming tendency the press needs to be solid and no looseness can exists. otherwise the foam can push laminate startips apart!
Polyurethane glue foams nicely when “drying”. Due to this foaming tendency the press needs to be solid and no looseness can exists. otherwise the foam can push laminate strips apart – leaving pockets filled with foam, which arent structurally sound! Angle of the bend at the paddle thrat is 10 degrees.. a number I  settteld on after googling stuff online. I have no idea if it is suitable… Time will tell! Lotsa exprerimentation in what I do!

After some gluing, pressing, planing I had the shaft ready after which I glued the “cheek pieces” of the blade, ie. the parts that make up the majority of the paddle blade area. For my Prototype #1 which will probably end up being a wallhanger anyway I used some scrap pieces of walnut I had lying around.. yeah, I know. not smart choice = too heavy and probably not very durable in the longterm.. but I had a hankering to work on walnut and I was going for looks at this stage.

After the glue has dried, the shaft blank is removed from the press and planed to correct width, in this case its about 28mm
After the glue has dried, the shaft blank is removed from the press and planed to correct width, in this case its about 28mm. Next step is to glue the blade cheeks.

Prototype#2 is basicly the same as #1 but the blade cheeks are nordic pine-sapwood, and 100mm longer. Should be quite a bit ighter than the shorter walnut version.

The paddle blade cheeks being glued on. The blade template visible in the background
The paddle blade cheeks being glued on. The blade template visible in the background
The paddle blade outline has ben marked and the excess cut off. The blade cheek materil in nordic pine of relative "light" growth. ie. not so dense+heavy
The paddle blade outline has been marked and the excess cut off. The blade cheek material is nordic pine of relative “light” growth. ie. not so dense+heavy
The paddle blade outline has ben marked and the excess cut off. The blade cheek materil in nordic pine of relative "light" growth. ie. not so dense+heavy
Paddle face side
The handle knob has been glued on and paddle is at its final length, approx 195cm.
The handle knob has been glued on and shaped to its rough outline. Paddle is at its final length, approx 195cm. This is the lighter version made of NordicPIne/Mahogany
Walnut planes really nicely!, even with a slightly dull blade.
Walnut planes really nicely! Even with a slightly dull blade. Here am in the process of shaping the backside
Slowly geting there.. and the pile of shavings grow! Its hard to imagine that there is approximately 80 €uros worth of walnut in this picture!
Slowly getting there.. and the pile of shavings grow! Its hard to imagine that there is approximately 80 €uros worth of walnut in this picture!
A handy tool for concave planing
A handy tool for concave planing! I decided to make the powerface of the paddle blade concave. Not sure if it has effect and what it could be? looks cool, plus need to lighten the paddle every which way possible!
Concave section is begining to show
Concave section is begining to show
10 degree angle
10 degree angle, (and a pair of work shoes marked “Left” and” Right”, incase non-finnish speakers were wondering?) 😉

The paddles still need to be sanded down to their final size and shape and varnished and then at some date tested! Follow up posts will follow….

 

 

 

Author: paaso.fi

A wee bit touched on the head! Something , anything and pretty much everything that has to do with sea-kayaking has my undivided attention, adoration and possibly worse.. ;)

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