Above: the initial rough cuts Dee makes into the red cedar 2x4 plank. She uses a jigsaw, following the rough dimensions Charles Holst suggests in his downloadable plans. Note router, tape measure and variety of clamps.
Above: To roughcut the curve at the paddle tip, Dee traces a quarter circle, using the lid of a mayonnaise jar for a guide. The power jigsaw is an old cheapie Dee keeps kicking around in the basement.
Above: the 2"x4" red cedar plank roughcut down at one end to form the basic shape of one blade and the shoulder of the soon-to-be Greenland paddle Dee will carve and shape with a series of channel jigs and an electric router.
All of the photos above can be enlarged. Move your cursor over them and click on them to enlarge.
Typically, most builders fiberglass the blade tip to protect it from chipping on rocks or the beach while launching and landing or while paddling close to shore. The epoxy resin fiberglass requires can easily be colored with a variety of tints if you don't like resin's tendency to turn yellow over time. The tint also gives the epoxy some of the u.v. resistance it needs to prevent it from turning brittle with sun exposure.
The paddle above later emerged as a birthday gift to a friend, Karen, a member of the North Shore Paddlers Network (New England coast of the US) who took the paddle on a trip to New Zealand.
Karen took an extended kayaking trip there with a woman friend she met through one of the many seakayaking clubs in New Zealand. Karen had long been a devoted user of carbon fiber paddles. While she has not entirely made the switch to Greenland style paddling, she does comment that rolling with the paddle Dee made for her is just as easy as it is with a Europaddle.
Above: Dee takes a few minutes to refine with a jigsaw the rough shoulder cut in her Greenland paddle's general shape. Using a jigsaw, she'll further refine the paddle's shaft and blade by following the layout lines she drew according to her friend Karen's arm length, hand size, and height. These are easy, straightforward cuts. Go slowly and follow the lines. To cut the rounded tip, follow the general shape of a curve. After she forms the paddle shape with the router, she uses a variety of rasps, files, 80, 120, 180, and 220 grit sandpaper (links to Ohio Ohio Supergrit, a terrific sandpaper wholesaler) and planes to further refine the rounded shape of the tip.
Karen also comments that after several months of physical therapy for a neck injury, the Greenland paddle is easier on her physically: it produces less strain due to the paddle's reduced torque, flexibility, and higher cadence.
The photo sequence shows the first slant cut, which creates the taper in the shaft (thinner at the shoulder to wider at the blade); the shoulder cut, which creates a shape for your hand to search for to center the paddle; and the rounded tip, which some think is more efficient than the square tip many Greenland style paddlers prefer.
This is a multi-part series:
Refining the Rough Cuts with a Router
Above: roughing in the shoulder cut, or the widening from shaft to blade which marks a Greenland paddle's transition to the blade. It's also a handy tactile aid for flattening the blade in preparation for a roll or brace (links to posts and videos of Greenland rolling.)
copyright 2008 North American Kayak Fishing