The following is the process of building a West Greenland style Kayak Paddle, designed to your personal dimensions and based on an Inuit design that evolved over thousands of years. This is a paddle bred for speed, endurance and stealth.
Buying one of these can cost from $250 to $500, I made mine out of a $13.70 piece of cedar from a big box store. This is not a quick process, it's a lot of measuring and hand work. Although, after finishing my first one, I can't imagine paying someone to do it for me.
When I started doing some research I found that “wooden kayak paddle” is kind of broad, i.e. there are literally hundreds of variations, this is just one. These instructions are based off of Chuck Holst’s
great work. Definitely recommend reading his pdf before you start to gain some better understanding of how this style of paddle evolved and how it was traditionally used.
First off, I’m no expert. I had the desire to build myself a Greenland style paddle and I documented the process to help me learn and thought I’d share. I also made a couple of mistakes and thought I'd share those too. There are some great sources of information and videos but I wanted to gather what I found into one step by step tutorial.
Since there are a lot of curves on very long and narrow board, that has a very uniform texture, it is hard to photograph so that you can see them. To help document this build, and to get a better understanding myself, I've included some images I created using Google Sketchup