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bent-shaft canoe paddle


May 9, 2006
Yesterday I finished my bent shaft canoe paddle.

First I ripped some walnut and ash laminations. They were bent around a plywood form, glued with PU glue and clamped:

I glued up the last of the paddle laminations:

Then I roughed out the shape with my pullsaw:

Most of the work on the paddle face was done with a spokeshave:

I then made a dam/mold around the paddle tip in order to pour an epoxy tip:


(in hind sight, I should have cut a tenon on the paddle first. I didn't, so I decided to place some 3oz fiberglass to help join/strengthen the bond between the epoxy and the wood)

The handle was glued:

And then the final sanding and protective coats:



That reminds me of what a Grey Owl Voyageur would look like if it had a bent shaft... what angle? Very distinctive with the contrasting woods though. Nice job.
Thanks everyone. I think it is around 12° to 13°. It's a bit heavier than I'd like, I may one day shave down the blade a bit and thin out the shaft (although the shaft is already a nice size). Unknown to me at the time, ash can be quite dense compared to other hardwoods. I think I would use a different wood next time, maybe even pine like I used on my aleut paddle.

did you use Rob Macks plans for that Aleut paddle? i used his plans to build my Aleut but the use of yellow cedar and mahogany was mistake. it came out quite heavey. i built another (for a friend) out of western red cedar useing the drawing in David Zimmerly's book. it came out a lot nicer paddle than mine.

yup, the Aleut paddle is from Rob Macks. I used pine for the shaft (with walnut laminations) with red cedar for the blade. It's a bit heavy, but it works surprisingly well actually.

The blade of the canoe paddle is mahogany and yellow cedar. The weights of wood vary a lot of course. I think my mahogany is actually reasonably light. I also have some beautiful fir that I could use for a paddle, but it seems to be uncharacteristically heavy. Mind you, I haven't actually measured them so I could be waaayy wrong.