First, like in any good program, we're going to define an attribute:yourheight
= the designated paddler's height in feet and inches
Your shopping list for the lumber store (or friend's woodpile):
1 1/4" Closet Pole, yourheight
, rounded up to the nearest foot, not warped
(make sure that there is at least 4" to spare)
1) 2" #10 wood screw, stainless steel
Piece of finish plywood, 3/16" to 1/4", approx. 16" X 24", something nice like birch
Marine grade varnish, small can
Nitrile disposable gloves
1 1/4" hole saw
6 or so 2" chip brushes
3 or 4 2" foam brushes
Bondo squeegee (you may have to go to the auto parts store)
60 grit and 220 grit sandpaper
Single-edge razor blades
Plastic (not metal) mixing cups, about 8 oz.
Fiberglass cloth, 6 oz., about 4 square feet
I really like using marine-grade epoxy and fiberglass cloth for durability and stiffness. I'm not a fan of polyester resin, as getting the exact mix of hardener is dependent on the amount of resin, the temperature and the humidity. It's more of a coating, while epoxy is a glue, ever so much stronger. And epoxy is far more of a gentlemanly process to use! If you're desperate, in a hurry, or lazy, I guess that you could dispense with it, and just attach the blade with some screws, varnish, and go. If Polynesian dudes managed to paddle around the South Pacific without epoxy paddles, so can you!
As we are building a paddle that's as good as store-bought, you can find epoxy at your local WestMarine store (West Systems), or online. MAAS is also good, but I've been using ProgressiveEpoxy.com Basic No-Blush for years and find it to be a superior product for the cheapest price. If you want to impress the guy at the store, tell him that you want to finish your wood "bright", and that you don't want any "blush". Have a sneer ready for when you need to explain!
You want the no-blush or clear finish, as standard epoxy will leave weird white streaks in your project unless you specify that you want the good (more expensive) stuff. If you want to paint your paddle (shudder!), you don't need the special stuff. In the West System lineup, this would be the 207 Special Coating Hardener. West winds up being fairly expensive because you have to buy the special pumps that fit on the cans, but it is easier to make small batches. The small sampler of the ProgressiveEpoxy No-Blush is probably enough for your project, with some 3 oz. Dixie cups to eyeball the measuring. You also need a filler like Colloidal Silica (West 406), or fine grained sawdust (like from a belt sander bag) if you're cheap. Technically, this sawdust/epoxy mixture is called schmutz
, and is massively strong, but will be rougher than something like the silica.
Download the file http://virtualacreage.com/files/SUPaddle.pdf
Check out my paintings and architectural renderings while you're on my site!
This is your template for the paddle blade, traced from a very expensive paddle that shall go nameless, while I was being anxiously glared at by a kid in a local surf shop.
Open the pdf and print it out- you know about Adobe Reader, right? Print out the template at actual size on to three pages, and use the newspaper background to help you get everything aligned properly. Trim the edges off two of the sheets at the crop marks and tape all of them together. Verify that the width measurement is actually 8 1/2". Cut it out, and you're ready to go!