Thursday, June 12, 2014
Labels: Greenland paddle making
Above: the business end of a Porter-Cable random orbital sander. Random orbital sanders are excellent tools. Their discs are easy to switch from one grit to another. But be sure to buy your sanding discs, in grits from 80 to 220, on mail order from places like Ohio Supergrit, because opping in to pick up discs from your local hardware store is a good way to go broke.
Here's a couple of overviews of the next-to-the last steps before refining the blades and shaft with a random orbital power sander, draw knife, block plane or rasp. Doubleclick the images to enlarge them.
In the top photo, Dee works with a surform tool to bring down the high spots left over after routing. In a small pile on the left side of the photo you can see the dowel bridges which she has removed to clear the blank for further shaping. You can also clearly see in the jig plate itself the series of round moorings Dee drilled into the jig to hold the bridges.
Look carefully at the removed bridges in the left of the top photo. (Doubleclick to enlarge.) You'll note that the dowels are long and thick, for strength. Routers are heavy. Dee didn't want her bridge channels to snap under the router's weight.
The photo below shows the paddle blank at an earlier stage of the initial router rough cuts. You'll note that, at this stage, the blank is still rather thick -- the blank has only been shaped on one side. The blank needs to be turned over and the bridge channels put back in their moorings. Dee will then shape the other side.
Simplicity and symmetry are the truest utility, in the end, of Greenland paddles. The paddle is symmetrical on all four faces. The symmetry not only facilitates fast paddle making, it also makes the paddle simpler to use. There's no power face to look for when rolling, sculling, bracing, bow or stern ruddering.
Of course, the paddle feels strange first time you use it. It's as if there is nothing in the water to provide speed, propulsion, or stability. Yet, over time, most Greenland paddlers are just as fast as other paddlers. Typically they also suffer fewer stress injuries to their wrists, elbows, and shoulders. And often they find rolling with a Greenland paddle to be effortless.
copyright 2008/North American Kayak Fishing