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

April 18, 2013

Canoe Building – Key Rib Measurements

Below are a few of the key installation measurements for widths and distances of the canoe ribs. These ribs help ensure the bottom of the canoe does not “oil can”; meaning it does not flex towards the inside of the canoe upon the weight of the exterior force exerted by the water.

Width of ribs
Rib Width

Measurement from inside tip of bow to the first rib
Bow to First Rib

Measurement from inside tip of the stern to the last rib
Stern to Last Rib

Rib height from the gunwhale (forward of canoe)
Foreward Rib-to-Gunnel Height

Rib height from the gunwhale (aft of canoe)
Aft Rib-to-Gunnel Height

Distance between gunwhales
Rib Distance Apart

~Nathan

April 15, 2013

How to Build a Canoe Paddle

A guide on how to build a lightweight laminated canoe paddle

Tonight a good friend and I started building a canoe paddle. We have been talking about this project for almost two years and tonight we dug in. We are building a ~54″ long paddle with a paddle surface of roughly 6″x24″ out of Cedar. Once the milling of the paddle is complete we will be fiberglassing it for additional strength and beauty.

We started by cutting a 7/8×3-1/2″x12′ into two 7/8″x1-1/2″x12′ strips. From the 1-1/2″ strips we cut two 60″ pieces that will become the shaft and handle (the shaft pieces are trimmed down at the time of glue up to the necessary height for the canoeist). These two pieces will run all the way down through the paddle. We then took the remain 1-1/2″ material and cut it into 24″ sections while grading out large open knots that would compromise the strength of the paddle. We made a total of six 24″ strips. The drops (scraps) from cutting the 24″ pieces left us with some perfectly sized, and clear of knot, pieces to use for the handle.

Below you can see the strips of cedar arranged and ready to be glued.

Cut Paddle Strips

Cut Paddle Strips Close Up

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

June 15, 2011

Canoe Mold Build Day 8

Filling spaces with mud

Filling spaces with mud

Day 8 we focused on finishing up shaping and sanding the mold. As I have mentioned before this step of the process is about care and patience. Take your time to get the mold just right as the canoe is going to come off as a complete duplicate of the mold. There is not going to be much flexing or twisting that will allow you to “correct” any oddities in the shape.

Mudding

Due to the fact that Moran gives us the guidance of having up to a half inch of gap between the foam, we realized that mud was going to need a decent amount of time to dry at that kind of thickness. So in an effort to speed up the drying time and reducing cracking I started the mudding with a simple crack filling layer. All I did was filled the large cracks that I knew would take at least few days to dry. And I was correct, the larger cracks took almost 3 days to finish drying.

Another technique I used to avoid cracking in the mud was to add water to the premixed mud. Out of the packaging the mud is about the conistensty of cake icing. To get a smoother application and less cracking I added water to achieve a consistency of pudding. While this does increase dry time the decrease in cracking is well worth it since you will spend less time applying additional coats plus you will not need as many coats. There was no precise measurement of water I added, it was essential based on visual consistency.

Tripper Canoe Mold - First coat of mud

Tripper Canoe Mold - First coat of mud

Tripper Canoe Mold - First coat of mud

Tripper Canoe Mold - First coat of mud

Filling spaces with mud

Filling spaces with mud

~Nathan
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