Wooden WW Paddles

Inland paddling
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Jonny Briggs
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Wooden WW Paddles

Post by Jonny Briggs »

During a boring lecture, a quick text was sent to Tom W asking him what I should design and make related to paddling. His reply was a wooden paddle.
I like the sound of this project and being an apprentice joiner I might be able to do it for an assessment.

My question. Has anybody built a wooden paddle and successfully used it on white water, and if yes could they give me some pointers on how.

Thanks

JB

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Duckboy
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Post by Duckboy »

One of the 'young guns' uses a wooden paddle.

See the New Reign Dvd.

I am afraid that is as much info as I have!

I can see how it would work on U.S big whitewater but maybe not in the uk?

Saying that my new C1 whitewater paddle is wooden!
http://www.duckboy.co.uk

C1 Stuff! - slowly being updated! (please use F5 to refresh the pages as its being screwy!)

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. »

http://www.jimisnyder.com/

I've got a set. They're great.

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Strad
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Post by Strad »

WHen I first started paddling (ahem 1979ish) there were a few folks around with wooden paddles, certainly remember people using them through the early 80s. I even remember some of the instructors I had telling me of their benefits - more flex and warmer then an aluminium shaft.

Once I got onto harder levels (grd 4 onwards) I don't recall seeing them as most peeps where paddling with Schlegels at that point (they were the definite trend). not sure if it was just a case of people moving to higher tech stuff so manufacturers stopping making them or whether there had been a few catastrophic failures :). I can only think of one breakage - last drop of triple falls on the loop not sure what the exact cause was!
Old School?? I miss my AQII..
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NickB
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Post by NickB »

Mark Gees manufactured a few different versions of wooden paddles, the top of the range was the Triton, a cracking paddle with a 'stripped' blade. Kober also made the Weltmeister/Moldau with a ply blade construction. I think the reason they went out of production was the cost of manufacture. Good feel and flex, lovely and warm to the feel.

As the Shlegal and Kober composite/aluminium blades became easier/cheaper? to manufacture the wooden blades popularity dropped. I think the Gees Triton were no longer cost effective to manufacture and although the wooden Kobers and a similar ply bladed Gees Champion were available for a few years time had moved on and they eventually just seemed to stop being available.

The wooden ones normally had metal tips for protection but I do remember breaking a few sets (2 in 3 days once!!) over the years. Also the maintenance and revarnishing didn't help compared with the then more modern composite/aluminium combinations.
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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Dustin Urban is the guy with wooden paddles from New Reign, I'll have to watch it again and check, oh well.

I made a set of Kevlar paddles with a wooden shaft last year and there still going strong. There great for the Yorkshire becks.

I think I will just see what wood I can get hold of and go from there, if anybodies got a bit of ash wood laying about let me know.

JB

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mharrall
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Post by mharrall »

Gees, Kober and Azalli all made wooden paddles back in the day......drifts off wistfully think of the good old days........and Mitchel still make a set.

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Chaucer
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Post by Chaucer »

Azzali slaloms with red plastic tips

Nimbus from Canada I think were wood with a kevlar laminate layer. Yes they were I just found this http://www.nimbuskayaks.com/NimbusHistory.htm
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AJC Box
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Wooden paddles

Post by AJC Box »

I have used just 2 sets of Kober Moldau Weltmeisters for the past 20+ years and absolutely love them. They've survived some rocky rivers, ranging from the Dart, Plym, Erme and Lyn in Devon to the Guisane and Gyr in France. My first pair had to be retired when I broke one blade in half on the Plym and my current pair are now nearing the end of their useful life due to damage to just one blade. Anyone know where I can get any more, or is anyone skilled enough to make one good, reliable pair from the two good halves? Each paddle is made from two half sections glued together and I don't know what glue they use but the joint shows no sign of separating after years of use, so in theory it should be possible to rejoin the two good sections. Not sure I would want to risk a big descent with the risk of araldite failure, though!

Adam Box

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Post by Mystic »

these wooden ones even come with a crank shaft:

http://www.bendingbranches.com/kayakwood.html

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Post by Kitty »

You'd have thought they'd be able to find strighter branches than this to make them out of!

Image

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Post by tape34 »

NickB wrote:Mark Gees manufactured a few different versions of wooden paddles, the top of the range was the Triton, a cracking paddle with a 'stripped' blade. Kober also made the Weltmeister/Moldau with a ply blade construction. I think the reason they went out of production was the cost of manufacture. Good feel and flex, lovely and warm to the feel.
The Gees paddles (circa 1970) were too heavy for me but well liked by my larger mates. I still have two halves of a Kober Moldau which I've meant to repair for the past twenty years, I think the blade is strip timber with a ply veneer. Will pm you JB maybe you can use the bits!
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Re: Wooden paddles

Post by Terryg »

AJC Box wrote:I have used just 2 sets of Kober Moldau Weltmeisters for the past 20+ years and absolutely love them. They've survived some rocky rivers, ranging from the Dart, Plym, Erme and Lyn in Devon to the Guisane and Gyr in France. My first pair had to be retired when I broke one blade in half on the Plym and my current pair are now nearing the end of their useful life due to damage to just one blade. Anyone know where I can get any more, or is anyone skilled enough to make one good, reliable pair from the two good halves? Each paddle is made from two half sections glued together and I don't know what glue they use but the joint shows no sign of separating after years of use, so in theory it should be possible to rejoin the two good sections. Not sure I would want to risk a big descent with the risk of araldite failure, though!

Adam Box
Went through quite a few sets of Kober Moldau's myself, they used to split lengthways along the blade if you struck rocks hard enough on rivers.
Have a set of left handed ones in the garage at the moment, belonging to my ex wife. She might be pursauded to sell them if you are interested.

For advice on repairing them, you could ask Mark Gees, who no longer makes paddles, but now works for Whitewater the Canoe Centre. See:
http://www.whitewaterthecanoecentre.co. ... llery.html

Regards
Terry

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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Mitchell do these:

http://www.mitchellpaddles.com/paddles/kww/slasher.html

Take a look at the designs for canoe paddles for ideas which may translate to kayak paddles. Note tip reinforcement and glass covering to prevent splitting.

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kevinf
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Post by kevinf »

There used to be a small company called woody custom paddles, they made cranked paddles with a wooden core completely encased in carbon - They looked amazing and were apparently very strong.

Kevin

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

AJC Box

I think that most wooden paddles are glued together with epoxy based glue. This not only binds the wood together but joins the glass fibre/ carbon/ Kevlar etc to the wood creating a solid unit. Epoxy glue and resin is a lot more durable that polyester based glues.

I have also just read the Werner story in Kayak Sessions, what an amazing family, making all their own kit from scratch.

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Post by TheKrikkitWars »

Many thin plys laminated with phenol formadahyde, then a kevlar edging strip and glass/carbon blade wrap and an outer finishing coat of epoxy. That should be very nice, if horrendous to fabricate.
ONE BLADE, ONE LOVE, [TOO] MANY PIES


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Adrian Cooper
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Post by Adrian Cooper »

You need to strike the right balance between a wooden paddle and a paddle which has a wooden core which relies on a load of manmade fibres applied to the outside for its performance. In the latter case, maybe a foan core could do as good a job if not better.

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AndyK
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Post by AndyK »

design crisis wrote:if anybodies got a bit of ash wood laying about let me know.

JB
The forests where I take Zack walkies are predominantly Ash and a few blew down recently.

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NickB
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Post by NickB »

Aren't these georgeous!

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Andy you could yoink me some of the ash and give it to Tom, if theres enough I'll make you a set of paddles aswell, maybe in time for Slovina?

Youve started something now Tomboy.

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Pete C.
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Post by Pete C. »

Positively pedestrian in comparison to these:

Image

Jim had his Japanese apprentice send over the veneer work for the tips and he made a matching set for John and Sarah Bell as a wedding present - the other ends are the same but reversed out in colour.

I also saw a Greenland style paddle that Jim's apprentice had made for Jeff Snyder. Very, very cool...

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Post by Adrian Cooper »

Ash in not necessarily the best wood for paddles, it is a bit heavy and prone to warping. It also needs time to season so if you've just cut down a tree, don't expect to get a satisfactory result too soon.

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Post by Eliza Dolittle »

The First edition of the BCU Canoeing Handbook has a few paragraphs on wooden paddles.
"Spruce is recommended as being strong for its weight, and combined with ash in the loom for added toughness is probably the best combination possible. ....Birch ply with thin laminations seems strongest. Coarse grained timbers are less satisfactory.
Look for
Thin glue line between laminates,
The more laminates the stronger,
Check for defects such as knots, resin pockets short grain, shakes and warping
Look for a long tapering splice on the loom
Check quality of varnish" page44

"It can be very satisfying, working in wood to make your own paddle, but don't thinkyou will get one on the cheap. Without machinery it is a very longwined process, and only a skilful woodworker will succeed" page 66

Good luck with it.

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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Wow they are a thing of beauty. I wouldn't want to use them, I think above the fire place crossed in a cote of arms style would be the best place to show them off.

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Swampthing
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Post by Swampthing »

I saw top survivor Ray (any chance of another witchety grub) Mears, make a lovely paddle from western red cedar using just a knife. Come to think of it he made the birchbark canoe aswell
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Lance Mitchell
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Post by Lance Mitchell »

I could give you a few tips if you wish to get in contact....


Lance
Mitchell Blades
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Jonny Briggs
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Post by Jonny Briggs »

Thanks Lance, I might just do that.

I’m on my block a college at the moment and a lot of my time is being spent working on the drawing for a competition piece for the Institute of Carpenters. I finish for Christmas soon.

Jonny

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