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

May 4, 2013

Canoe Building – Floatation

Bow Floatation Ready For S-Glass
This past week Kevin and I built the floatation chambers (for canoe #2, White Lightning). Floatation chambers increase the buoyancy of the canoe to ensure it will float even when completely water logged. The displacement of water alone will keep the canoe afloat with people and gear in it. However if you start taking on water or completely water log the canoe, you will not have enough buoyancy to stay afloat. This lack of buoyancy could get very dangerous on windy and rainy days. So to solve this problem we add more buoyancy to the canoe by creating air chambers at the bow and stern.

Inspiration+Experience

Inspired by Wenonah (a major Kevlar canoe manufacturer), we decided to build our flotations as a square step that fits into the bow/stern. This is contrary to how James Moran describes how to build the floatation in his book Building Your Kevlar Canoe: A Foolproof Method and Three Foolproof Designs. He describes building a tear-drop shaped piece of foam that fits in the top of the bow/stern and extends to the bottom of the canoe at roughly a 45* angle. When doing this method for the DragonFly (first canoe), it was incredible challenging to accurately shape the tear-drop and you lost more foot room for the person at the front of the canoe.

Implementation

To build our “step” that forms a water-tight floatation compartment, all we need to do is cut a piece of foam that is our riser and one foam piece that is our run (horizontally). The process of cutting the foam was trial and error. We used a band saw to cut and then slowly cut the pieces to shape by take a little bit off at a time. We stuck the foam in the respective bow/stern end and used a wide (3/4″) felt tip marker to trace the shape of the canoe onto the foam. This allowed us to get closer to the correct shape with each cut.

Once we were at the size necessary, we made a back-cut at roughly 45* around the edge of the foam. The angle of this cut will face toward the inside of the chamber being created so you will not see it. The purpose is to allow for a tighter fit of the foam against the fiberglass/Kevlar from the outside of the chamber. Note that when the pieces of foam are in place they fit fairly tight. We basically wedge them into place.

From there a little bit of sanding to taste and you are ready to S-glass the floatation. OR you could take it a next step and build cup holders into them as Kevin decided to do. I will speak more to the cup holder in future posts.

Tracing the shape of the canoe onto the Riser foam.

Tracing Canoe Shape Onto Bow Floatation Foam

The shape of the canoe traced onto the Riser foam.

Stern Rise Foam With Shape Traced On It

Cutting the Riser foam on a band saw.

Cutting Rise And Run Foam On Band Saw

Test fitting the Riser foam and marking it again to trim it even closer to the shape of the canoe.

Stern Floatation Rise Foam In Process Of Being Cut To Shape

Tracing the shape of the canoe onto the Run foam. I am running the marker along the gunnel.

Tracing The Shape For The Run Onto The Foam

Almost completed bow floatation step.

Bow Floatation Almost Complete

The final bow floatation step completed and ready for S-Glass.

Bow Floatation Ready For S-Glass

Resource

Beyond the book Building Your Kevlar Canoe: A Foolproof Method and Three Foolproof Designs, another great Kevlar canoe building resource is http://www.myrabo.com/k-canoe/

~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
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