So having been bitten by the build stuff bug over the winter and now having the pleasure of paddling around in a JEM Stalker I decided to continue on and build a paddle to go with it.
Here's the story/blog of the build.
I wanted a deep water paddle, so a long thin shape was going to be ideal, but the ottertail shape is a little too common. Something slightly different was needed. I searched around and found a shape called the Ashwing, named after the shape of the little twirley seeds from an Ash tree, quite close to the Algonquin style paddle. The difference between this and an ottertail is that the widest part of the blade is a little lower down. This should help balance the longer paddle and I think it's a really nice shape.
Next thing was to source some wood. I managed to find a local supplier who could give me some thicknessed cherry, douglas fir, ash, oak and basswood. At the moment I'm looking for a good bandsaw and thicknesser so I can make my own strips for a future build, therefore finding a supplier who could cut and thickness these was a bonus.
I decided the shaft would be ash/basswood/ash laminated to keep the final paddle as lite as possible, but the basswood would be easily damaged if I pry'd off the gunwales. So I cut a couple of small oak fillets and let them into the basswood core.
I used Cascophen two part glue for the build. I'd read that this is the best for allowing movement but remaining totally waterproof. It needs heat and pressure to cure properly so the paddle came into the house overnight. I used almost as many clamps as when I fitted the gunwales
Cascphen leaves a dark joint and can be ragged edged as it is forced into the timber so I decided to really make the joints stand out. I grabbed some ebony 0.6mm veneer of ebay and made the blades up with an ebony layer between the strips. The outer wings are cherry, then a veneer of ebony, then a douglas fir feature strip and finally another ebony veneer.
The whole lot was clamped up and again brought into the house overnight to cure.
Rough shaping was completed with a handsaw and a belt sander.
Several days of planing, spokeshaving, rounding, sanding, sanding and more sanding produced a final shaped and smoothed paddle, quite well balanced just above the shoulder. Using the table saw I cut a slot across the tip of the paddle and let in a slip of oak in order to tie the laminates together. I then dipped the tip in clear epoxy to ensure the tip had some protection.
Deciding how to finish the paddle took some research. I ended up with Tung Oil for its waterproof qualities. However tung oil takes several days to dry between coats and so I'm now wating to apply the 4th coat. It will eventually have 5 coats before I get it wet.
Anyway here is the paddle in its 3rd coat. Hope you like it.