December 20, 2015

Building a canoe paddle – More Photos of Profiler Jig

My original post on building a lightweight canoe paddle received many comments asking for more photos of the Canoe Paddle Profiler jig used for shaping the canoe paddle’s blade. So without further ado…

Measuring another canoe paddle’s blade angle
Paddle Making - Measuring blade angle

Routing the blade tip with the Canoe Paddle Profiler
Canoe Paddle Profiler -  Routing the tip

Paddle snugged in place with tacked down blocks in the Canoe Paddle Profiler
Canoe Paddle Profiler -  Clamp Blocks

Paddle clamped in place in the Canoe Paddle Profiler
Canoe Paddle Profiler - Clamped

Canoe Paddle Profiler
Canoe Paddle Profiler - close up

~Nathan

July 6, 2014

Building a Lightweight Canoe Paddle – Shaping

With the canoe paddles planed down the time came to cut the shape of the blade. My buddy and I went to work tracing the shape from another paddle we had onto our paddle blanks. Once traced we headed to the bandsaw to cut the blades and handles shape.

Canoe paddles cut out

Next came the difficult part: Making a taper down the length of the blade while taping off toward the left and right edge to create an apex on each side of the blade. After researching many ways to perform the necessary cuts including using a hand plane, a power hand plane, a jointer, bandsaw (need a bandsaw that can cut large enough), CNC router, or a table saw I decided on using a router. The router with jig option delivers precision with a quality finish from the cut marks left behind. This should ensure repeatability in making multiple paddles and minimize the time spent sanding.

Routing the Blade

My inspiration for using a router to create the necessary profiles was from Bob Bear’s website on making a canoe paddle from a single log. He demonstrates a router jig he made that he calls the Router Box Profiler. I built my own take on his jig that I like to call the Canoe Paddle Profiler.

Canoe Paddle Profiler

Canoe Paddle Profiler - close upThe Canoe Paddle Profiler is a pretty simple jig. The paddle’s blade is fixed to the floor of the jig. The router moves back and forth upon a carriage that forms an apex. The carriage itself rides along a sloping track. To operate the jig you simple chuck-up a fluted or spiral cutting bit and proceed to run the router up-and-down the length of the blade (upon the sloping track) while motioning the router back-and-forth (on the carriage).

I will post more details on building a Canoe Paddle Profiler after my buddy and I route the second paddle. There are likely to still be a few adjustments to the final design.

Canoe Paddle Profiler Results

Routed Canoe Paddle Edge Routed Canoe Paddle

More Photos of the Canoe Paddle Profiler

Next Steps

Next up we will round-over the edges of the paddles and start sanding the entire paddle to the final shape. From there we will move into finish sanding and to fiberglassing.

Learn more

Day 1 How we cut the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 2 How we glued up Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 3 How I planed the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 4 & 5 How I shaped the blank canoe paddle for our lightweight canoe paddle.

~Nathan

April 26, 2013

Building a lightweight Canoe Paddle – Planing

Lightweight canoe paddles planed close-up

In order to prepare our lightweight canoe paddles for shaping with the router and the bandsaw, we planed them down. While it is likely that we would have been able to use our router to plane the thickness of the paddle blanks down and even out the surfaces, it would have been quite difficult since both sites of the paddle were uneven.

At the planer I took the thickness of the paddle blanks down to 1-15/16″. This gives us an extra 1/16″ of material to work with as we go down to our final maximum thickness of 1-1/4″ (paddle shaft).

Lightweight canoe paddles planed

Learn more

Day 1 How we cut the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 2 How we glued up Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 3 How I planed the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 4 & 5 How I shaped the blank canoe paddle for our lightweight canoe paddle.

~Nathan

April 25, 2013

Building a lightweight Canoe Paddle – Glue up

Tightbond III Ultimate Wood Glue
Today my buddy and I glued up the Cedar strips we cut previously for our lightweight Cedar canoe paddle. We chose to use Tightbond III wood glue because of is resistance to water. Tightbond III it is not designed to be submerged under a waterline, however since we will be fiberglassing our paddles this should not be an issue. In my research online I found that many paddle makers use either Tightbond III or the epoxy resin that they use for fiberglassing. Should this glue fail, I will update this post and report how epoxy resin functions.

Glued Paddle
Lightweight canoe paddle blanks glued and clamped
We glued the strips together by brushing a thin coat of wood glue across all of the matting surfaces and then clamping both paddles together. To clamp the paddles together we used 4 bar clamps at the paddles, spring & locking clamps up the shaft, and quick release bar clamps for the handles. Across the width of the paddles we clamped 1″x2″ hardwood boards on edge to help keep the glued up surface from bowing as a result of the clamping pressure. This is not 100% necessary, just a good procedure if the tools are available.

Because of variances in the width of our wood strips the glued up paddle blanks look very uneven. This is not a problem as we will address this issue later by planing the paddles down using a 12″ surface planer before we proceed to shaping the paddle. The variance in the surface by upwards of 1/8″ is the result of how we cut the original planks of Cedar in half…in essence we only made 1 cut that was not centered on the board creating two unequal halves.

Our completed lightweight cedar canoe paddle blanks ready for planning.
Glued Paddle Blanks

Learn more

Day 1 How we cut the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 2 How we glued up Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 3 How I planed the Cedar strips for our lightweight canoe paddle.

Day 4 & 5 How I shaped the blank canoe paddle for our lightweight canoe paddle.

~Nathan
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