Greenland and Aleutian paddles?

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
Under 3 pounds for pine is pretty light.

Are you using Kiln Dried wood?
If so, do you have any tricks to keep it straight?
I have never been lucky doing so, and have switched over to nothing but locally cut lumber as a result.
Never had a problem with it, but it is not always the easiest thing to obtain.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
155
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
The "trick" I use is to simply snap a chalk line on a 2X size piece (in the last case a 2X6) and hand cut to the center lines before you start the real work. Make the wood straight before you start the actual project. The paddle blades are fairly thin as you get longer so cutting away the warped part is easy, leaving the paddle straight.
When buying wood start with the best piece you can find, but none are dead straight. So you simply cut off the parts that are not straight.
By going through the stacks I find I can get boards with 1/4" of warp and sometimes a bit less.

Or you can use a 1X6 or 1X4 and laminate the loom and/or ribs, but if you do that the 1X has to be almost perfectly flat. It can bend off to a side, but not twist at all. A 1X doesn't have enough thickness to plane it flat by very much.

I am a full-time gun maker and have been most of my life, so getting straight stocks out of bent wood is somehting I have done for about 1/2 a century . A chalk-line and a long plane are the "magic tools".
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
Thank you for that,
I have honestly done pretty much everything you said without much luck.
With the exception of laminating, which has worked well until the glue I used started letting go.

It could just be from the store I am dealing with too.
I won't buy regular 2x boards from them because I have to sort through 50 to find one straight one.
I would rather pay double for a quality product without that issue.
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
Red cedar and White Oak
Gorilla Glue.
It lasted throughout the summer and let go during the winter.
I was told it was a cold winter, so that probably didn't help.

The paddle looked amazing but was over 4 pounds.
 

Mac50L

Paddler
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
334
Location
South Island, New Zealand
The paddle looked amazing but was over 4 pounds.
WHAT !!!!! Nearly 2 kg !!!!
Mine are at the most 750 gram. All are Western Red Cedar and to give strength and save wastage, made from a plank about 20 mm thick and the total thickness built up from the side off-cuts, reversed (grain direction). All glue is epoxy. Tips are kwila with SS welding rod pins and epoxied on. Finish is boiled linseed oil.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CPS

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
I made that one with looks in mind :whistling:
Oak is Heavy.

I usually use one piece of Western Red Cedar with JB weld Marine epoxy armor on the tips.
With boiled Linseed oil finish
I just use a spokeshave to carve them, a rasp for a few details like finger indents and don't do any finishing.
They look rough from close up but do their job.

I finally weighed my 2 present paddles just yesterday,
One is 2.08 pounds
The second one is 2.12 pounds.
Sorry I guess I am still old school and still weigh most items in pounds.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
155
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
2 pounds is just fine. My poplar paddle is 3 pounds and I never feel like it's heavy. My longest trip in 2 days was 45 miles and I never felt a bit fatigued with the 3 pound paddle. Red Cedar is lighter for sure. Oak is VERY heavy.

My pound paddle is larger then most GL types. 8 feet long and 4-5/8"" wide at it's widest point. The un-tapered tips come back 8" before the taper starts. It's shoulderless.

I make one form a friend out of yellow pine and made it 7 feet 8 inches long and the tips are un-tapered for only 6" and come back to the loom which is only 20" wide. Ovil at 1-1/8" to 1-3/8". It has no ribs like mine does ,and his paddle came out at 2 pounds and 4 Oz.


My sister's kayaking instructor has been to Greenland several times and told me most of the older ones he has handled, including some from their local museums are between 2-3/4 pounds and 3.5 pounds. I guess when you use drift wood you get what you get. But the Greenlanders seem not to care about weight near as much as Americans.


I use a high angle stroke when I need to move quick, but for the most part I use my GL paddles at a lower angles and make a very long stroke. Dilly-dallying around the shores and looking for places to camp in upcoming days I never pushed myself hard on my 45 mile trip. I also was carrying about 70 pounds of gear. Yet going slow enough to map my sites and take all the time I wanted I still averages 3.2 MPH over the 2 days.


I have pushed myself with my GL paddle in a 3 mile stretch just to test myself, and going with a mostly empty kayak and going hard (but not so hard I could go the 3 miles without any rests) I averages 4.1 MPH I can get slightly over to 5 MPH, but only for about 3/4 to 1 mile and when I am done, I am DONE! With time and practice I expect to pick up a bit of speed due to more conditioning and ironing out my stokes better. But I don't expect to ever be as fast going flat-out with my GL paddle as I can get with my spoon bladed 8 footer. I am not a LOT slower, but I am not as fast with the stick as I am with the spoons. Going at a good clip with my spoon bladed paddle I can get to about 4 MPH and go for 8 hours. Using the same amount of energy (as far as I can tell) I get about 3.8 MPH with the GL paddle, but at the ends of my longest days with the Euro-Paddle I did feel a bit sore and quite tired. My longest days in late summer with my GL paddle were about 13 hours, and I didn't feel sore even though my GL is "over-sized". Now that may be a praise of the wood paddle, but it also can be the fact that I was on the water an average of 5 days a week since mid-may and didn't start using the long, wide "Greenland Stick" until early summer, so I may just have been stronger by then and that may be the reason I didn't get tired or sore.

I try to look at all angles here.

I admit I like the oversized GL a lot, but not enough to self deceive and if I find something better later on (and if I can afford it too) I may change my mind.
But I don't place speed as my #1 goal. I got faster and faster, but that's because I paddled more and more. My goals are to be fast enough to keep up with my Sisters paddling group when I go with them to Alaska (told I am already as fast as they are and faster then a few of them) and once I know I am not going to be the slow man and a hindrance, my focus goes to maneuvers, waves, rolling and sculling/bracing. Those things interest me a lot more then trying to go faster.
So that's my reason for my current favor with the GL paddle. For me so far, the Euro is faster but the GL is easier to use for everything else.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
155
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Sofstu, one way you can do good work is to make a "poor mans plane" which is no more then a sanding block with VERY course paper glued down to it's face. Get some 24 or 35 grit paper and glue it to the face of a 2X4 cut to about 11" long. You'd be amazed how fast you can taper and level out a surface with such a block. You need to glue paper to both sides and once it's all used up you'll find the paddle is about ready for finer paper anyway. Not as fast as a float plane and jack plane, but still fast enough to make a paddle ready for final sanding in an afternoon. When you are done with the sanding block, just throw it out. Go to 80, 120 and 220 grits and then you are ready for finish. NOTE Linseed oil is beautiful bit it's NOT a good finish for water. It's surface is like a screen door compared to water molecules. Tung or Danish oils are a LOT better.


If you decide to spend some money on a tool the one that you'll get the most use from is a farriers rasp Look here>>>

https://www.amazon.com/Heller-Black...9Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=

Or here>>>>

 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
I have both a belt and an orbital sander, I am just too lazy to use them on my own paddles :whistling:
If I have a chance I will photograph one, and you will see they really aren't that ugly. However I could honestly make them if I really wanted too.

My furthest days this year may have been 15 miles, and no trips.
i usually like to paddle a little, stop and watch the wildlife, head to shore and stretch out. Head back out and I am happy with a 3mph average.
 

SZihn

Paddler
Joined
Jul 1, 2021
Messages
155
Location
Shoshoni Wyoming
Sounds like you and I have the same style of kayaking Sofstu. I sometimes want to 'get there', but most times I am not interested in speed. I like to have the ability to go fast, and I use it when there is a reason, but going fast means effort and concentration and that means missing opportunities to see game and birds and cool camp sites, interesting cliffs and rocks and all manor of things that delight me to slip up on. To me the manuvering and the rolling are more fun than going as fast as I can.
But...when I see a storm creep over the mountains to my north and I know it's going to come down the south face of those mountains like an" avalanche of air," I dig in and go as fast as I can to get to shore, or at least close to shore. Wind shears here are no joke. I have seen light breezes go to 50-60 MPH wind in 3 minutes, and then 40 minutes later it's back to a light breeze. Sometimes mountains just do that kind of thing and it pays to stay alert.
I have not won the race with the waves yet, but I have made it 2-3 miles closer to short before they caught up to me ,and as long as I am in a place that the wind will blow me towards the short I feel safe enough in my wet-suit and PFD. When I see the storm come over the summits I go like mad to place myself somewhere that I will not be blown into cliffs, and that if I were to capsize I can get in to shore if the chop is so bad I can't get back in the kayak. (In theory. The very worst chop I was even in, I was still able to do a reentry. But I don't like taking unnecessary chances without having at least a few aces up my sleeve.)
I talk to 2 "mentors" about every week. One a kayak instructor in Hawaii and Alaska, and the other in Canada. Both tell me that for learing to handle a kayak at sea I am doing well to deal with waves here, but not to get careless. Both of them have told me stories of paddling in 8 foot seas but for me when I get much over 3.5 foot chhop I feel I am maxing out my abilities for my skill level. As I gat more time on wavies I am sure I'll get better and better, and so I don't run from them compleately, but I don't jump into conditions I can't get out of. Not yet.
 

sofstu

Paddler
Joined
Jun 14, 2021
Messages
103
Location
Kootenays BC
Sorry about the above post, my phone and the awful internet here don't get along together.
Plus even worst phone coverage.

Anyway we get something the locals call a Qualicum wind over here.
It sounds as nasty as what you get there.
They can develop in minutes and minutes later it's beautiful again.

Like I mentioned earlier, i am just too lazy to beautify my paddles.
Which probably isn't bad when you consider this is the worst of it.


I actually made this paddle with a true 1x4 and didn't want to remove anything more than I had too.
I couldn't get a knot free board either.

However I had fun experimenting with it.
It's my belief that the Greenlanders didn't just have a single paddle design.
They would have refined the shape based on the wood available and also the conditions.
Crossing open water and they would have used something longer, and more efficient like you mentioned.
While close to the hunting grounds, something more quiet.

So this was my attempt at making the paddle more quiet by rounding the leading edge more.

It honestly works to a point, however it somehow puts far more strain on my shoulders :(
Plus with the thinner board I couldn't eliminate a hotspot on my hands.

So it's now just my spare paddle
 
Top