home made paddles

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mahobalib
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home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:35 am

hiya,
im considering making my own personalized kayak paddles as a project and potentially a money saver, but knowing me il carried with doing it properly that everything will cost me as much as if just bought myself some werners. the problem is i dont really know where to start, for example what materials are easiest to work with on my first attempt wood, fiberglass, carbon... iv been looking it up a bit and i really like the idea of have some really nice wooden blades, but the challenge of making them suitable for river paddling is a bit daunting cause if i did bad job i can see them just falling apart...
i was hoping some on e on here might have had some experience and could possibly offer some advice,
cheers
Chris
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Re: home made paddles

Post by purelandexpeditions.com » Thu Mar 14, 2013 11:45 am

I really think to make a good wooden paddle will take skill and time, Jim only makes about 50 sets a year of the 'jimistyx' I guess these are the leaders of wooden custom paddles in the world, so that is a benchmark http://www.rivrstyx.com/

As for a glass/composite blade, you would need to make a blank and cut out the shape from it - these may be the easiest ways. You would have to make a shaft or buy one, work out how you would fit blade to shaft or shaft to blade.

I am sure it would be a project of love and do really doubt it would save money - would be fun to try.

D
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Re: home made paddles

Post by PaddyW » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:10 pm

An alternative would be to make a new set of paddles from several broken paddles. (e.g. you may be able to find some old blades or a paddle shaft from broken paddles lying about unused and unwanted in a clubhouse or in your or a friend's garage. Sometimes it is just a matter of getting a new shaft or one new replacement blade and putting them back together. A correct sized spiggot can be used to join two pieces of shaft together. You could also personalise them in some way, (colour/designs etc on blades). Probably easier, but less satisfying, than making a completely new set.

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mahobalib
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Re: home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:44 pm

thanks, yer jim blades really are something to aspire to, i might try and get in contact and see if he will share some secret knowledge of the art...

iv got some experience with fiber glass as i used to spend allot of time restoring old sailing boats. i could try making a mold from another set of paddles, the only problem is im not sure how i would then glass them in a sealed mold, and sticking two halves together would be too messy. my one thought it i could cast something else in the mold then try reinforcing it with fiberglass but i wouldnt know what to use.

i dont see finding a shaft too much of a problem as iv seen a few people make shaft out of stiff card then glass them and remove the card, still not sure how i would g about attaching the blades though i think i need to some more research on that.

the frankenstein of paddles might be an idea but i dont know how decent quality blades there would be floating around for me to abuse
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Re: home made paddles

Post by GumGum » Thu Mar 14, 2013 12:51 pm

I don't think you'll save any money, but it might be an enjoyable project.

This guy built himself a carbon bike frame: http://dirt.mpora.com/news/hcomeragh-n5 ... dtail.html

It came out really well and he obviously enjoyed doing it, but the £2k he spent would have bought hime a pretty nice off-the-shelf frame...

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mahobalib
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Re: home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Thu Mar 14, 2013 2:27 pm

if im going that far i may as well go all out and make a boat too
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Re: home made paddles

Post by Adrian Cooper » Thu Mar 14, 2013 3:46 pm

Whilst this is about canoe paddles rather than kayak paddles this book:

Canoe Paddles A Complete Guide to Making Your Own Book by Graham Warren David Gidmark

is an excellent resource and will give you most of the information you need. If you make the paddles in laminated wood and then cover them with fibreglass and epoxy, they should be strong enough for medium whitewater us.

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Re: home made paddles

Post by Simon » Thu Mar 14, 2013 8:16 pm

mahobalib wrote:hiya,
im considering making my own personalized kayak paddles as a project and potentially a money saver,
Chris
You won't save any money. But you could well enjoy the challenge.

The satisfaction of boating with something you made yourself is huge. And I think you learn so much about boating gear in the process, and I am sure that knowledge improves your paddling.

And every big name in manufacturing, the Pyranas and the Riots and the Prijons, all started with someone making a little project for himself in his shed, and then making one more for his mate, and then a few more to sell for a bit of beer money, and ten years later they are running big international businesses.

So go for it. Who knows how or where your little project will end up.

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Re: home made paddles

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Fri Mar 15, 2013 8:56 pm

purelandexpeditions.com wrote:I really think to make a good wooden paddle will take skill and time, Jim only makes about 50 sets a year of the 'jimistyx' I guess these are the leaders of wooden custom paddles in the world, so that is a benchmark http://www.rivrstyx.com/
It depends to a great extent what you want to make, and what skills you already have;

Making flat blades laminated onto a one piece shaft would not be overly demanding in terms of skill so long as you've done some basic woodwork at school and don't mind a lot of sanding or know/learn how to use a spokeshave, it would take masses of time, attention and patience to do it well though.


Making a blade with a spooned face or dihedral, making the blades out of solid wood and attaching a shaft (or making two blades with half a shaft on and joining them in the middle) would be much more complex...

In particular a paddle with spooned face and (to a lesser extent) cambered back would be a project blending the lines between 3D-carving and joinery, knowing how to use a compass plane, convex sole spokeshave and gouges effectively would be essential to creating the curved surfaces (the alternative is to use power-carving tool, but I have no experience with them so I don't know how easy it would be to do or learn)

In terms of saving money, if you already have the skills and tools, you probably would save money over a commercially bought paddle, but that's counterbalanced by the time and effort taken to actually make it (and the likelyhood that you'll make two or three before you finally reach a design that you're truly happy with).

I say this with some degree of personal experience, as I have an ash paddle-blank which is still waiting for me to finish other projects and do a dry run on some scrap wood now I think I might be capable of shaping broad internal curves to finally shape the power face and finish the whole thing off... I definitely bit off more than I could chew when I started the project 3 years ago; I could probably have made a nice flat faced paddle back then, but I wouldn't really have much of a use for one, hence shelving it.
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Re: home made paddles

Post by geyrfugl » Sat Mar 16, 2013 2:47 pm

Making your own paddle is probably more popular with sea kayakers who perhaps don't abuse paddles on rocks and in high-energy water to the same extent as whitewater kayakers.
if im going that far I may as well go all out and make a boat too
But of course ;-)

Image

The paddles have curved (but not spooned or dihedral) faces. Dihedral wouldn't be much more difficult, but spooned would probably be quite a lot harder. The shaft is solid wood and the paddles are fairly heavy compared with, say, a carbon paddle (as my first paddle, I wanted something that would definitely work, not go all out to get the weight down - the blades are probably quite a lot thicker than they need to be). It's possible (but more work/skill) to make a hollow "birdsmouth" shaft which you could wrap with a layer of glass/epoxy to get more strength for a similar weight. I made that particular paddle because I wanted to try a 45 degree feather, long-narrow-bladed paddle suited to a low-angle paddling style and didn't want to pay money. I consider the experiment a success - the paddle probably cost less than twenty quid in materials since I had lots of glass and epoxy 'in stock' for boat building.

The techniques used for both the boat and the paddles came from "The strip-built sea kayak" by Nick Schade. I've built some open-boat (canoe) paddles by the same technique and they work just fine in white water.

If you just count the cost of materials, you will save a lot of money. If you count the cost of your time as if you were working for someone else, you won't. But you can do it in your spare time (ie. when there's no-one to paddle with, or the rivers are dry) and treat it as a rewarding pastime, in which case you might consider your time to cost less than zero !

Andy

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mahobalib
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Re: home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:01 pm

thanks for messages this is definitely going to be a labor of love, im still looking into materials a bit, and that book looks worth the read making curved blades will probably be my biggest challenge.

i was wondering if anyone knows what the standard paddle shaft diameter is, cause i dont know when il next get my hands on some splits?
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Re: home made paddles

Post by tom_ j » Thu Mar 21, 2013 5:56 pm

hey,
I've made a few white water paddles out of wood just for fun really, just kind of made it up as I go along and developed the design from one to the next. The latest took a fairly easy week's work and cost about a tenner in glue(I chopped my own tree down). Got a spooned blade with a bit of dihedral action on the go too (I think, I don't really understand all the marketing stuff they stick on manufacturers' websites). Also has a cranked shaft. It feels pretty nice to paddle with and quite satisfying to do.
If you're interested pm me and I can send you some photos and pass on any of my limited knowledge

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mahobalib
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Re: home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Fri Mar 22, 2013 11:57 am

right so iv got a couple of weeks ahead of me free with access to a work shop so playtime is about to start, im just after materials. im going to try and dabble with a bit of everything as i anticipate i will have time whilst bits are drying etc. iv got some high density foam i was going to try make some plugs from for a bit of fiberglassing, maybe even try some sort of foam core... maybe too adventurous...

as well glassing i want to try some wooden paddles as i think even if then dont perform well, if they look nice they will make some good wall decoration :P can anyone suggest what sort of hardwoods would be best for making a blade, as i would like something i could get quite thin without losing its integrity? or would it just be a case of coating it in epoxy resin to toughen it a bit?

also iv seen a few different approaches to actually making a wooden blade, is there much benefit to making it out of strips glued together rather than just one piece of wood, other than that it would like nice when finished?
Chris G

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Re: home made paddles

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:19 pm

The benefits to using laminated wood are
  1. Easier to get the feather you want
  2. Wider boards attract a price premium over narrower ones, especially when you need a clear piece with no defects in (as you would with a kayak paddle that you want to take down nice and thin).
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Re: home made paddles

Post by Andy:P » Wed Mar 27, 2013 8:51 pm

Why not modify some existing wooden paddles. Gees and Kober regularly turn up on ebay and go unsold. I've cut, shortened and reset some Gees. You put the two halves back together by drilling and inserting a 10mm composite spigot at the join and then inserting / adding some Ash splints on the outside making sure all of the Joint ends are offset. Bond it all with Epoxy. The rest is done with planes and glass paper. It's cheaper than buying the wood and starting from scratch and the original paddles were so well crafted they're a joy to paddle with.

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Re: home made paddles

Post by morsey » Thu Mar 28, 2013 12:13 am

GumGum wrote:It came out really well
but if you want a thing of beauty, then wood wins http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GvbQ1Wmz3ZQ/U ... ie+005.JPG

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Re: home made paddles

Post by mahobalib » Thu Mar 28, 2013 9:26 pm

Andy:P wrote:Why not modify some existing wooden paddles.
good thinking, i like the idea for some experimenting il keep an eye ebay
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Re: home made paddles

Post by Mark W » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:16 am

How about these:http://rollordrown.com/kayak/paddle.html

Shaft diameter for Werners are 31mm, and a good choice of wood for the shaft would be Douglas fir, it's what I use for gp's, nice and strong. You should be able to source it from a boat builder, the piece I got was destined to be a mast.
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Re: home made paddles

Post by TheKrikkitWars » Fri Mar 29, 2013 1:04 pm

Mark W wrote:How about these:http://rollordrown.com/kayak/paddle.html

Shaft diameter for Werners are 31mm, and a good choice of wood for the shaft would be Douglas fir, it's what I use for gp's, nice and strong. You should be able to source it from a boat builder, the piece I got was destined to be a mast.
I have some nice Douglas Fir material kicking about, if you could collect in wales (say at the tryweryn) or pay for a courier I'd happily rip a section off of one of my longer offcuts (up to 4.2m) to make a paddle shaft.
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Re: home made paddles

Post by ion » Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:29 pm

In case you need inspiration:
http://bluntfamilypaddles.blogspot.com/

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Re: home made paddles

Post by DaveBland » Mon Apr 01, 2013 2:19 am

ion wrote:In case you need inspiration:
http://bluntfamilypaddles.blogspot.com/
O..M..G...
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Re: home made paddles

Post by ion » Mon Apr 01, 2013 8:10 am

DaveBland wrote:
ion wrote:In case you need inspiration:
http://bluntfamilypaddles.blogspot.com/
O..M..G...
I've just wet myself.
Image
Kennys a great guy...look him up next time you visit Mr Round in Hood River...serious wood paddles if that your thing

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