A paddle is a very important part of a canoe. It always acts as the steering wheel. This is the tool that will enable you to steer to the left, right and also keep the canoe moving to a specific direction.
Without a paddle, your canoe will end up going wherever the current and the wind directs it to. Now that you are aware of how vital a paddle is to a canoeist, it’s time to see how you can come with one using the basic tools. Below is a detailed guide on how to make a canoe paddle. Before you go further, if you looking for a new canoe for a family, do check out this post.
Step 1: Gather the appropriate tools
You will need to gather all the tools required to get the job done. Remember that you will be transforming wood into a fully functional paddle and so a simple knife will not help you achieve that. Some of the essential tools that you will require include a drawknife, a pencil, a caliper, a small block plane, a crooked knife, a patternmaker rasps, an angle gauge, and a cabinet scraper.
These tools are designed to help you hog the wood, remove the surface rust, and finally enable you to come up with a great paddle. Once you have collected all the tools needed, you can now proceed to the main theme.
Step 2: Select the best wood for a paddle
The trick behind every great paddle is usually the type of wood that was used to create it. You can’t just pick up any wood and hog it into a usable paddle. You will need to perform a deep search for the right hardwood.
Look for something that is hard, flexible, stronger than steel but with less weight. Some of the most common hardwoods used to make a paddle include the spruce, cherry, and ash. The most suitable wood, however, is the cherry. This wood is usually harder, stronger though a bit heavier and very flexible.
Step 3: Decide the shape you want your paddle to be
Most people think that canoe paddles usually come in a single shape, well they don’t. There are a total of six distinct shapes. You thus need to select the shape that you prefer most and go with it.
Some of the most common shapes include the shaft with handle, Algonquin, Ottertail, Child Ottertail, Beavertail and Sugar Island, among others. Every shape has its advantages and disadvantages. That is why you only need to pick the paddle shape that you are most conversant with or else you will find yourself having a hard time controlling your canoe.
Step 4: Trace the shape of the paddle on the board
Once you have selected the best hardwood, go ahead and trace the paddle shape to the wood using a pencil.
This will leave you with the exact mark on where you should hog your wood to achieve the shape that suits you. Make sure that the wood is indeed wide enough to accommodate the ideal pattern.
Some patterns such as Sugar Island are usually quite wide, and so you will require a wide wood. Some people tend to trace the whole paddle so as to capture even the length.
Step 5: Start hogging the wood
The next step after tracing the paddle shape is hogging. This should be done using a drawknife. At first, you will have to do it vigorously. Make sure you hog along the grain so as to make your work easy.
This will also enable you to achieve a much more uniform finish. If you want to make work easier, you can always use a block plain. All you have to do is scrub off the wood by pushing and pulling the block plain.
Step 6: come up with a profile on the side of the wood
Remember that you need to keep every single angle watched to avoid making simple mistakes. So to have a vivid picture of how to proceed, try, and lay out a profile on the side of the wood.
This will not only give help you to maintain the shape of the resultant canoe paddle but will also make your work easy.
Step 7: start shaping the blade
After hogging off most of the wood, it is time to start establishing the shape of the paddle. This can be done by removing wood from the blade gently as you watch the paddle come to shape.
This can be done by using the crooked knife. Use the angle gauge almost every time you want to tune the wood into shape. This will enable you to maintain the shape and deliver the exact paddle you want.
Step 8: Start removing any unwanted wood that is small
Take this as a way of winding up. Examine the blade of the paddle and the shaft keenly. Any wood that seems to be protruding needs to be gently removed.
By the end of this process, you should be left with a paddle that has to undergo very few processes to be ready for use. So make sure that you perfectly shape perfectly by removing any unwanted parts.
Step 9: Sand your paddle
Once you have all the unnecessary wood removed, go ahead and sand your canoe paddle to achieve a smooth finish. Start with the blade as you move to the shaft.
This is because the blade requires too much sanding and you will definitely require that initial energy if you are to do it well. Pay so much attention to the edges when sanding.
Step 10: Apply varnish
Pick out the most appropriate varnish to use. This can be spar varnish, Swedish oil, Hempseed oil or Beeswax and linseed oil. These are designed to ensure that you end up with the best paddle that is both appealing and durable.
Once you apply the varnish, try and wet sand, this will drive the oil to the pose. You will then end up with a great paddle.
Coming up with the best paddle for your canoe is not a hard task. All you’ve to do is to make sure you have the right tools, the best hardwood, and the above steps on how to make a canoe paddle.
With those, you will be able to shape up your paddle nicely without any problems. Make sure you apply varnish when you are done making it so as to give it a distinct look and make it durable.