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Stand Up Paddle 
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sage
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:02 pm
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Location: California
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Unread post Stand Up Paddle
I've tried stand up paddle surfing (SUP) and with inspiration from the surfer/craftsmen here, have decided to begin a hollow wood SUP board. While I am working out the design details and learning all of the construction techniques, I decided to get going on the paddle.

It would be a big bummer to have a completed board with nothing to paddle it with, so on a whim I bought some nice basswood on my lunch hour one day, read a few articles on Swaylocks and got going on the paddle. Here's what I've got so far:

I decided to put a 14 degree offset in the shaft, so I measured, cut and glued a reverse scarf joint to get the offset.
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Next, I glued up the blade, using some clear pine and Spanish oak scraps that I had lying around the garage.
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I borrowed a nice Gillespie outrigger canoe paddle from a friend, and modified the blade shape slightly to yield a finished blade 8-1/2 inches wide. This took some tricky geometry and drafting tricks, proving that all that education did not go to waste.
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Next, I roughed out the shape with a saber saw.
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Now it's starting to look like a paddle instead of a giant spatula! I shaped the blade using a spokeshave, block plane, sanding blocks and an orbital sander. Making the curly shavings is always the most satisfying and relaxing part of a project like this.
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I think the T-handles that are stock on most of the $300+ carbon fiber paddles are crude and uncomfortable. I decided to go for a palm grip like the one on the Gillespie, which fits the hand like a glove and reduces fatigue on long paddles. I had no idea how I would shape it but decided to worry about that later on. I glued some cheeks to the shaft with epoxy to carve the grip from.
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Here it is on the bench, really taking shape now!
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I roughed out the grip with a coping saw, drill mounted drum sander, rasps, sanding blocks, sanding pads and all manner of wood removal tools. I used the spokeshave to convert the rectangular shaft into an oval, which fits the hand much better than a round paddle shaft. I used a technique employed by spar makers to line out the targets for my block plane.
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The thin sponge backed sanding pads were a great tool for final shaping and finish sanding of the shaft and grip. At $4 each, they are a bit of a hurt, but turned out to be worth every penny.
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Here's the profile of the finished blade. Wicked thin foil for easy blade entry.
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Since the blade is very thin, and the clear pine is pretty flexible even with the oak stringers, I planned to laminate the blade and about 12 inches or so up the shaft. This will also make the blade durable while keeping the overall weight low. I used 6 oz cloth on the blade, with a length of 6 oz. tape from the blade tip to 12 inches up the shaft. Both sides of the paddle will get the same lamination schedule, with a lap joint feathered on the shaft. The cloth is set in West Systems epoxy. All of the lamination material is leftover from other projects, so no extra cost here. So far, the investment is $15 for the bass wood, plus what ever I spent on sandpaper. I'm not counting the new Rigid orbital sander I just bought since I was going to get it anyway. Really.
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After trimming the overlap, I used a cabinet scraper, sander and sanding blocks to fair out the epoxy and get the laminated side ready for hot coating. Then I'll repeat the process on the back side of the paddle.
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Here it is ready for the next lamination, standing next to the canoe paddle it was modeled after.
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Once the glassing is done, I will put on several coats of marine varnish. I had originally planned to encapsulate the upper shaft in epoxy, but have changed my mind. Varnished wood always feels smoother in the hand than epoxy coated wood, no matter how good the sand job. The business end of the thing is armored, which I think is all it will need. More to come as the project progresses. Please post any comments or questions, and thanks for sharing all the great board building and design tips.

Here are a few more photos of the nearly finished product. Note that varnish has yet to be applied.
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Last edited by Andy Gere on Sat Nov 10, 2007 11:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Sep 18, 2007 12:26 am
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Joined: Mon May 22, 2006 12:41 am
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Location: Long Island, New York
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Very Very impressive...I've been thinking of doing an SUP for my next board. Thanks for the step by step...I'm sure I'll be asking you a bunch of questions in the future!

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Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:35 pm
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proletarian

Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:52 am
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Unread post How's the angle joint holding?
Hi Andy,

I was wondering how that reverse scarf joint is holding up under use. I'm starting to build another set of laminated shafts but also left a piece whole to try out that joint. Did you put two layers of glass there?

Regards,
Bob


Tue Nov 13, 2007 2:42 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 25, 2006 7:27 pm
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Nice work! Glad to hear your using a cabinet scraper too. Those things are awesome for shaping cured epoxy - clean shavings, simple, quiet, fine control, and NO epoxy dust! I consider a well-burnished cabinet scraper a must have. Even if it's just a old busted hardened saw-blade.


Tue Nov 13, 2007 5:17 pm
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sage
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Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 4:02 pm
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Location: California
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I've yet to use the paddle, since the board construction is still very much underway. I hope to poach a ride on somebody's production machine and give it a try soon. As far as the scarf joint, I think it's bomb proof. The blade and shaft has plenty of fiberglass reinforcement, and feels really stiff and strong. If there is any weakness, it's in the feathery thin blades, but I feel that unless abused, they will hold up fine as well.

Rich, you are right about the cabinet scraper. Anybody working with epoxy should have one (or more). They are inexpensive, remove excess material quickly, and will pay for themselves many times over in saved sandpaper costs.

One update: I have decided to epoxy the shaft and grip, and have given it a few thin coats of West System (my least favorite epoxy, but I had it lying around). The bass wood is pretty soft, and I noticed a few dents just from moving it around the shop. The dents steamed out (wet towel and a soldering iron) but I decided to toughen up the outside, which the epoxy does nicely. Now I just need some weather that's dry enough to put down a few nice coats of varnish.


Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:33 pm
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proletarian

Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 4:52 am
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Andy Gere wrote:
One update: I have decided to epoxy the shaft and grip, and have given it a few thin coats of West System (my least favorite epoxy, but I had it lying around).


What epoxy do you like? I've been using the West Sytems as well.

I'm gluing up the laminations for the 1st shaft tonight. I'm going to try using Titebond III. The finished paddle gets 3 coats of epoxy and 2 of varnish so it should work. A lot less expensive and easier to work than the epoxy for the laminations. I'm going to finish this one and put it through some tests before I build any more with it though.


Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:28 pm
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sage
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I've had good luck with MAS using the slow cure hardner. West has an ugly yellow tint, blushes like crazy and has lousy UV resistance. It's really thick as well, so it takes for ever to wet out glass cloth, and seems to foam up quickly if you work it at all. The MAS flowed nicely, and wet out glass easily. I'm using West on this project because I had some leftover from a boat repair job, and I can't stand the idea of throwing this expensive stuff away. West is fine as a glue and is plenty strong, I just don't like it for clear laminations and wood encapsulation.

For the board, I'm intrigued with System 3 Silvertip and SB-112, as well as Resin Research. Anybody using any of these products?


Wed Nov 14, 2007 12:43 pm
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sage

Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2007 5:37 pm
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Location: South Florida
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Sweet looking paddle, Andy!

I'm at the blade-shaping stage and was wondering whether you'd share a template of the shape you used.

I used 4 red cedar lattice strips lam'd together for the shaft and balsa for the blade...it seems very light and I will probably have to reinforce the whole thing with extra cloth or even carbon fiber.


Wed Nov 14, 2007 3:06 pm
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sage
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I'd be happy to share the template, but I didn't make one! If you look at the photos, you can see one with a series of offsets penciled in. This was how I used the wider Gillespie canoe paddle to get the shape, but scaled it down to 8 1/2 inches wide. You could probably scale that picture on a photocopier until the wide point is a 8 1/2 inches. Then fold it in half, and cut out the shape that looks best. This is to ensure a symmetric paddle, since the photo is probably not taken from directly overhead. All that said, there's not a lot of magic to that shape, I just copied the one good example I could get my hands on. Get it close, use your eye and your hands to get a pleasing shape and see what works.


Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:39 pm
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sage
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 12:57 am
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Hey Andy,
Great looking paddle! As for epoxy, I've used the System 3 Silvertip resin and it is great stuff. No blushing whatsoever and really even wet-out. It's worth the $


Thu Nov 15, 2007 12:02 am
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