I’d been so busy making paddles for others that I’d forgotten my own needs completely!
My new Beaufort being the shortest kayak I own has as a result a shorter fore-deck than the others. Normally I have a spare paddle stowed on the fore deck for quick and easyish access, in case of sudden need. My preferred spare paddles have been Greenland Paddles (GP) normally about 206-210 cm long, blade width of some 90mm and a loom length (on a shouldered blade) of about 50cm.
My normal GP’s were a bit too wide and a tad too long to fit the fore deck of the Beaufort WITH sail installed. So I needed make a slightly smaller stick.
I would need the spare paddle for the upcoming coastal paddle which was to start off in about 2½ weeks so I would be busy yet.
After some head scratching and dry fitting I deiced to make a simple shoulderless GP 200cm long, loom = 40 cm and blade width 88mm.
I found a ready made paddle blank I’d made some years back. It was made from two strips of nordic pine (pinus sylvestris) sapwood, with a touch of sapwood at one end. While heavier, approx 540 kg/m3 @ 18%, than the much raved Western Red Cedar (WRC) the benefit of the nordic pine is that it is easily available, cheap and alot stronger AND harder wearing than WRC. Perfect choice for a spare paddle which will get its fair share of bangs and misuse.
Since you’ve read this far its only fair to give some prize for the perseverance! 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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 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….
“Not another photo gallery?” You may question.
Yes, Yes! It’s another photo gallery!
During the summer of 2014 I did A LOT of paddling, more than ever before! As a result I spent a LOT of time on the water, in a kayak, and yes, paddling! As a result I got to visit and see lotsa nice, cool, awesome looking places. If you haven’t guessed it by now, I did take a bunch of pictures while I was at it!
These pictures were taken along the coast of Finland, between Virojoki and Tornio, one place or another…
A paddle design I’ve exclusively used the past 3 years. The first prototype I built and used during the summer of 2013. It performed well but due to the materials used; maple, alder and pine, was slightly on the heavy side ( 1500+ gms), but booy, oh boy is it robust!
For the coast of Finland kayaking trip in 2014, I built a second prototype from lighter materials (total weight in the 950g range): Western Red Cedar (WRC), nordic pine and alder. I’ve used that paddle now for two consequetive summers and some 2500+ kms of touring. It still needs improvement but still its the best paddle I have made. While its not the lightest paddle out there, it IS strong enough for touring/expedition use! NO question! It has slight flex, just enough to let you know there is flex, But it is sturdy for serious heavy duty use! I’m not sure it will withstand the greenland definition of a multi-use-dependable paddle = “one can use it as a pull up bar”, but it’ll come very close!
The dimensions of the paddle prototype# 2 are: Length 220cm, Loom length 55cm, Blade max width 92mm. The loom cross-section is a mix between a Tri-oval and egg shape, kinda asymmerical oval. The loom cross-section dimensions are: width 28mm and thickness 32mm.
Marko, who will be paddling the Finnish coast during the summer 2016, asked me to make him a similar paddle with slightly tweaked dimensions to suit him. Here’s a quick and dirty photo-album (part 1) of “How, what and possibly why?”
Part – 2 will follow once I get the paddle made… and mayhaps later of how it all worked out? Or did it?
Usually when undertaking a 1200+ km paddling trip one compulsory item required for said trip besides the obvious kayak, paddle and a myriad collection of camping equipment is a map.. or two or three! That is , if one has an idea of where one wants to go AND actually perhaps find onesself at that hoped destination without accumulating too many extra kilometers in between.
However, if one is the lacka-daisical, exploratory, “que sera sera” -type then , by all means traveling without a map of any kind is always an refreshing, exciting experience, if you don’t believe me, ask Cristoffer Columbus! 😉
Many paddlers in the past have, paddled the finnish coast equipped with nothing more than a collection of 1:250,000 road or bicycling maps, locally known as “GT maps”. This probably is the most economical and lightweight option available. This is fine, the information contained in these maps is minimal and the accuracy is tolerable, but the trip can be accomplished!
I have compiled a list of the maps I have found useful for the Finnish coastal paddle and which I intend to use next summer.
First off is a selection of maps that are made for paddling purposes, and thus are GOOD as is! That is to say, slap them in a waterproof map case and Voila, its ready to go!
Kokkola region isles. ” 7 Sillan Saaristo” The map maybe ordered online. Queries thru the local paddling club in that area ( Central Ostrobothnia Touring Paddlers ) . The map is made by paddlers for paddlers. Ringbinder A3 size, scale 1: 50,000, so it is good “as is“. Even though it is printed on water resistant paper, it should be used in a waterproof mapcase
Qvarken region (Vaasa) . ” Merenkurkun melontakartta “. This map was also available from the Vaasa Tourist region, but at the writing of this post it is out of print. The map works nicely with the Kokkola region map as this Kokkola map continues from the northern reach of the Qvarken Map. Only difference from the Kokkola map, the Qvarken map is that it consists of two sheets instead of a ringbinder format. Otherwise same style and ideal for paddlers.
Porkkala-Helsinki-Pellinki. Available for purchase thru Karttakeskus, Single large sheet, printed on a water resistant paper. Scale 1.50,000 . has camping sites, restricted zones, navigational aids etc marked. Ideal for paddlers
Then came the hard part. I had to make choices and none of them easy.. there are sort of reasonably priced nautical chart books available, scale @ 1:50,000 showing all of the Nautical information that one could possibly hope for! These charts do have several drawbacks that essentially make them un-usable for seakayking purposes as is.
Size: they are larger than A3 size, way too big to fit the kayak deck or any of the commercially available waterproof map cases.
Material: some form of semi hard paper/cardboard which doesnt take too well to being folded repeatedly. Maps being over-sized, they NEED to be folded IF used in kayaking.. dilemma
Information: being navigational maps they mostly have ONLY information in regard to nautical navigation. Nature preserves, restricted bird preserves, camping areas etc ARE not marked..
SO with these kinds of charts the only option is to buy them, scan them, print, add missing required information and then in the end laminate them! An awful lot of extra work for something that one has paid for in the begining..
Yes, maybe I have been a wee bit naughty and done as described as above, I can neither confirm nor deny… 😉
To some areas of the finnish coast there are nautical charts printed on weatherproof plastic which are almost at the A3 size,scale @ 1:55,000 which as is, works reasonably well.. however these also have the same problem as their paper brethren. Only navigational information printed on map! Now being plastic sheets I have yet to find a permanent ink pen which markings will last longer than 1 paddling season…. so these maps also need some work!
Map set 1 .
Starting from Virojoki towards Hamina there is no ready made map for paddling use. Sea Chart is available paper printed @ 1:50,000. Camping sites, No-GO nature preserve markings need to be penned in afterwards…
Map set 2. From Hamina to Hanko, Karttakeskus offers a ready printed on weatherproof plastic ring-binder type @ 1:55,000 scale. Basicly this is OK. it has the nautical, navigational markings. It is slightly bigger than A3 sized which is about optimal for kayaking use. However it is missing restricted areas, nature preserves and camping areas, also it is very difficult to make lasting markings on said plastic as almost all “waterproof” marked markers aren’t really very waterproof at all on a weeklong seakayaking trip. Just about all over the selfmade markings will wear off at some point. Also it is pretty heavy for kayaking use. To boot it is pretty expensive, list price is around 149 €…
Map set 3. So I was missing a bit between Hanko-Kasnäs, Her I used an old 1:50,000 scale sea chart I’d bought back in 2009. It seems a bit of an overkill for this small portion of the trip. I used adhesive bookcovering plastic to give some protection for the map. I think this map cost 20€ back in the day. Miising markings added as required
Map set 4.
Kasnas-Uusikaupunki . I had to buy the set (Sea Chart set D, Turunmaa) of maritime charts for the area in question. The cost was about 49 € for the set. Scale is 1:50,000 ringbinder, size is larger than A3, also it is printed on a stiff cardboard like paper which has no weather resistance whatsoever, and once folded will leave a crease that will eventually break off! As is, this map is not suited for paddling in anyway whatsoever…
Map Set 5. Uusikaupunki-Tornio North of Uusikaupunki the coast becomes less dotted with islands and at this stage I figured that maybe the accuracy of 1:100,000 maps should be enough for my purposes. Also at this stage I was broke, so I had to DIY the maps entirely. To my luck the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS) had released some digital map data for the public use in 2013! I was able to download Topographical maps of the rest of the coast in 1:100,000. After I had the map rasters, I needed to spend lotsa time playing around with PhotoShop to get the rest of the coast in A3 size @ about 1:100,000. This time around the problem with the NLS material was that while they had most restricted zones, nature preserves etc marked they lacked all maritime navigational markings as well as water depth lines… GRrrrr !! Apart from the printing and laminating cost, I got these maps for free.
With the above set of modified, DIYied, bought maps I should be fairly well set for the trip. total weight of the map package is 2.18 kg. It is a pretty heavy package, but I intend to mail used portions back home as the trip progresses.
…. Ofcourse there is the option of using the GT bicycling maps scaled @ 1:250,000, currently a set covering the entire finnish coast costs approx under 60 €uros 😀
My biggest anticipated paddle for summer 2016 is the Finnish Coastal paddle. That is to say, paddle the finnish coast in its entirety from the Finnish-Russo border, Virojoki to the Finnish- Swedish border, Tornio.
To give some idea of the planned trip I made a VERY ROUGH DRAFT plan of the trip. That is to say it gives a very basic idea of where I will be paddling with Marko. From experience I know that the routes will probably differ either somewhat or alot depending on the weather, mood and /or physical conditions encountered and experienced on the trip… so regard the map with a pinch of salt .. or two.