Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New Paddle Blanks

After picking up my new batch of wood last week, I've been eagerly anticipating carving another set of paddles. There are still plenty of blade and grip designs yet to try, and in a fury of creativity, I quickly chose and drew out the designs for 7 new paddles.

Earlier today, I ended up spending 3 hours at The Carpenter's Square DIY workshop cutting out the blanks with the bandsaw. In addition I learned the use of a Jointer and Table Saw to square the edges on cutoffs and rip some of the stock into 1/4" strips for future laminated paddles.

New Blanks lined up

The designs (left to right) are Cherry Passamaquoddy Blade with Maliseet Grip; Cherry Passamoquoddy Blade with Athabascan Grip; Birch Attikamek (Tetes de Boule); Birch Beothuk with bobble grip; Birch King Island Single Kayak Blade (a commission piece); Walnut-Poplar Voyageur with tripper grip; Cherry-Poplar-Walnut Beavertail with an Assymetrical grip of my own design. I also cut out a Basswood double bladed kayak for another commission but it just wouldn't fit in the photo. This might be the 1st paddle I work on as there's a deadline for its completion (more photos in another post)

In addition, I still have some blanks left over from that I haven't gotten to yet. These include a Maple-Walnut Whitewater with Battenkill grip; Soft Maple Northwoods; and Poplar Diamond Passamaquoddy. The Walnut-Poplar blank (second from the left) eventually became the Adirondack Owl Paddle made back in March

Older blanks still waiting to be carved

The process of cutting out these single piece paddles created a bunch of offcuts that I saved for use in further laminated blades and other projects. In fact, I ended up using some of the previous offcuts in my growing scraps pile to make miniature paddles for decoration with my bark canoe model. I also used pieces that weren't suitable for paddle making anymore to cut out some spoon blanks. I'll probably end up carving these when I'm back up North and need a TV/Internet/Mass media break.

Spoon blanks and quarter-scale paddle blanks

Looks like there will be flurry of wood-working activity in the weeks to come.


Anonymous said...

The blanks look great -- must be nice to have all those blank canvases just waiting for you to go at them with your hand tools.

When you use the bandsaw -- do you just cut to the line or do you cut a little proud and then use a sander or something to get down to the line? And do you find that the bandsaw, for cutting blanks, is a significant improvement over just using a good jigsaw?

Stephen D

Murat said...

Hi Stephen! When I print out the blade design from the computer, I purposely make it about 1/8" wider then the actual intended dimension. After tracing the pattern on the wood, I then cut to the line and then the edges taken down 1/16th on each side and roughly square them with a block plane in order to draw the shaving lines neatly. This is what works for me but is not the only method.

I've never used a jigsaw because of the tremendous noise (not discreet in my condo). Either could work, but using the bandsaw for multiple blanks would be a lot easier and faster in my opinion. That's why I stock up and do them all in bulk.


Anonymous said...

I understand cutting it 1/8" wider than intended dimension, but I'm a little confused about the next steps you describe.

1. Trace pattern 1/8" wider overall (1/16" wider on each side).
2. Cut out blank to lines.
3. take down edges 1/16? (I don't understand this part -- is this where you are shaving down to the original intended dimension? If so -- are you using the block plane for this, a spokeshave, or something else?
4. Squaring with the block plane -- I think I don't understand this step because I didn't understand the last one.

Thanks for your patience with my questions -- I'm afraid I won't get to start my paddle until I finish a strip-built canoe I'm working on -- link is below.

Murat said...

Step 3 & 4 are really the same. Because the use of my handsaw or the shop bandsaw (3/8" blade) leaves some minor scuff marks, I take these off by simply using a block plane on the edges to clean and square them up as much as possible so that I can draw neatly some of the shaving lines. This usually means losing about 1/16th on each side. The spokeshave is more useful for delicately shaving down the face of the blade for the desired camber once guided with these shaving lines. You can check this out with two of my earlier posts - "Shaping the Blade" Part 1 & Part 2

By the way, the canoe build looks very impressive! You might be able to use some of the leftover strips to make a matching laminated paddle when the time comes. I guess it's smarter to build the boat before you make the propulsion system.

Anonymous said...

Ok -- I understand now -- that makes a lot of sense. I'm going to go back and re-read the posts you mentioned.

The canoe is actually for a family member who doesn't canoe yet but would like to (as are the planned paddles). My wife and I paddle an old Royalex whitewater canoe -- hopefully the next canoe I build will replace it as we don't do any whitewater whatsoever despite living in the Southeastern US.

The laminated paddle idea is a good one -- I used some of them to glue up a laminated norsaq which I haven't shaped yet, but it hadn't occurred to me to use the long leftovers for a paddle. I guess I'd probably have to use a little fiberglass to strengthen a cedar blade?


Murat said...

I've never glassed a paddle as I've always used hardwoods. But I have read posts on the topic. Check out this post on the Bear Mountain forums as well as on the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association forum.

Dr.T's paddlemaking page has a few posts on her experience (scroll down). BlueStem paddler has a great online tutorial about making a bentshaft and glassing the blade. Hope those links help

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