Making a spare paddle

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.

Paddle outline cut and planed.
Paddle outline cut and planed.
After the outline is ready the side outline is pencilled in.
After the outline is ready the side outline is penciled in.
Then its just alot of ole elbow grease! Despite all the hype out there, my smartphone was of no help at this stage!! ;)
Then its just a lot of ole elbow grease to thin the paddle blades! Despite all the hype out there, my smartphone, internet or wifi was of no help at this stage!! 😉
The blade width is 88mm and the staright portion is 400mm long. Blade thickness at tip is approx 10mm
The blade width is 88mm and the straight portion is 400mm long. Blade thickness at tip is approx 10mm
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A minor disaster struck! A pitch pocket! right at the tip of the blade! Since this is a backup for meself, and I’m kinda in a rush and am not too picky.. I decided to continue…
.. I scraped and whittled out the excess pitch, then I made a batch of epoxy, tinted it into a reddish orange, kinda like what pitch looks like, and filled the pocket with said concoction.
After final shaping and sanding the paddle it was time to make required markings with pyrography pen . In addition to year of make and initials, I also like to burn the paddle dimensions. In this case: 200 (cm overall length) x 40 (cm loom length) x 88 (mm blade max width)
Here the paddle has a coat of wood oil and maybe 1 or 2 layers of Le Tonkinois Varnish.. still 2-3 more to go
Not the prettiest paddle out there, but it will make do, I’ve used worse and lived.

Since you’ve read this far its only fair to give some prize for the perseverance! 🙂

Paddle details:
  • length: 200 cm
  • blade max width: 88mm
  • loom length: 40 cm
  • Blade edge thickness 5mm
  • blade tip thickness 10mm
  • loom cross section = oval; width 28mm, thickness 32mm
  • Final weight: 1036 g