Introduction: Scilon Paddle

Disclaimer: This project uses some power tools and basic knowledge of electrical wiring. It could potentially be hazardous if used incorrectly. I did some research on voltage and always used protective gear like goggles when cutting and sanding.

This was done for a co-worker who was getting out of the navy. It's tradition to send them on their way with a decorated paddle to remind them of where they came from and to show that they were part of team. I'm sorry for the lack of photos, but I wasn't planning on doing an instructable when I made it and have since given it to him so I can't take any more.


-Paddle/ wood plank= $20

-1 square foot of Plexi-glass= like $2 at Lowes

-Sand Paper

-Flexible LED Strip with LED Controller= $30-$60 on amazon

-Power Source= Hobby batteries around $15ish. Or you can use an old transformer that plugs into the wall. You could also rig a bunch of smaller batteries (like watch batteries) to equal the output you need (12v).

-Paint/ Wood Burner (Cheap acrylic would work fine)= under $2 at Wal-Mart

-550 Cord= Under $3 at Wal-Mart

-Heavy duty staples and stapler

-Heavy picture hanging mounts


-Dremmel tool with cutting disc, sanding bit and routing attachment

-Soldering Iron

-Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Where to Start

All of the materials that I used were left over from various other projects. In the end, I only paid for the paddle which I got at a sporting goods store for under $20. If starting from scratch, expect to pay between $30 and $100 depending on the quality and quantity of materials that you get. The heaviest purchase will be the light strips. You can get a cheap strip at Wal-Mart that will do just fine for around $11, but will still need a controller to get the scanning feature. I found a smaller one on Amazon for about $10. The ones that I used were over kill that controlled the color, pattern, brightness and speed of the lights. The most important feature of the controller should be the "scanning" feature. As long as it has that, you'll be good.

Before you start cutting, I highly suggest that you practice on a scrap of wood first. I wasn't paying attention and my dremmell routing bit (First time using it) wasn't tight enough and went all the way through the paddle, thus jacking it all up. I had to buy another paddle because of it. this will help you avoid turning your good piece into scrap.

Step 2: Make the Cut

The only cut that goes all the way through the paddle blade will be the "v" for the eye slit. The rest of them will only be 3/4 through it at the most. You can go a bit more shallow/deep on the other cuts, that's just what I was comfortable with. I chose 3/4 through because the paddle blade gets thinner the closer you get to the blade of it. All my thickness and depth settings were based off the thinnest part so as to guarantee not breaking through the whole paddle again.

The first place I started was finding a good picture of a Scilon from the show Battle Star Galactica and free handing it onto the paddle blade. (If you're not good at free hand drawling, you can print the picture and tape it the paddle and cut trough the paper)

My first cut was the eye slit. I didn't really measure, I just made it symmetric and ensured that it fit and used my routing bit to go all the way through. The bit couldn't do the tight corners so I sanded those out by hand with the sand paper.

Here's the basic shape I used for the eye if you want to use it as a template.

Step 3: Cutting the Mouth

The hardest thing that you will cut will be the mouth piece. Having not taken any photos of this stage, I made a few diagrams to help explain it more.

Start with a tall trapezoid shape with the smaller end centered just under the eye slit and the wide end down at the bottom.

I cut 4 flat steps of equal width (top to bottom). The steps will also be in the shapes of trapezoids with the bottom one being slightly wider than the one above it.

I then cut each one with a downward angle towards the top as shown in the second picture. The bottom of each step was level with the top of the one below it.

After that, I shaded the top have of each step with the wood burner to finish the illusion of the step effect seen in the picture I used.

After that, the rest of the outlines were pretty simple. You might have to sand the round part of the the head by hand to get a curved effect. I blackened all the deep cut outs to give it more shadow. The spine was just a extra, and probably would have looked better with out it.

Step 4: The Lighting

After everything was cut out and burned (shadowed) I cut out the cover for the eye piece. For this I just traced the opening onto the plexi-glass and used the cutting disc on the dremmel to cut it out. (Make it slightly larger than the opening)

Be careful when doing this because there will be melted bits of plastic flying at you, you will definitely want to wear eye protection if you want to retain your vision. I got the really thin stuff and it was really easy to work with.

After cutting out the shape, I went back through and sanded it down until it fit perfectly into the slot.

I then scuffed up the side that will not be facing out. This gave it a "frosted" effect and will make it looke better when the lights are off. (because it won't show each LED, Just a better look.)

I then replaced it and glued the inside the slit. Ensure that the glass is flush with the edge of the wood or you might have to sand the edges down so it doesn't look weird.

I then took the light strip and folded it like an accordion to reduce the space between the lights. I used about an 8" strip with about 15 or so bulbs. That gives it a much cleaner look. After wiring everything together (the light strip should come with some kind of instruction), I just used a lot of hot glue to keep it in place inside the eye slit and used a scrap piece of thin wood to create a backing. (also hot glued in place). Then I ran the power cord down the length of the handle and wrapped over it.

Step 5: Tying the Knot

To wrap the handle, I used black and silver 550 cord that I got at Wal-Mart for about $5 for a large roll of black and under $2 for 10 ft. of silver. (Check the craft section).

The black was really easy. I just wrapped around the paddle. Nothing special, just a single spiral wrap. I marked the middle of the paddle with a 6 inch gap (where the silver would go), then did 2 wraps. first starting from the top and again from the bottom. I secured it it place with heavy duty staples. You can use something else like mounting nails or even hot glue, I just found the staples to be small and easier to hide than anything else. Just make sure that the end of the cord is burned so that it does not fray and come undone. when finished with the black, you should have a 6 inch gap showing bare wood in the middle. When securing the cord to the paddle, do all the "messy work" on the back. That way when it hangs, all the staples and ends will be out of sight.

The silver handle was an extended Turk's head knot. it's kind of a weave. To tie this knot, just follow the video (I did not make this video, it belongs to "stormdrain". He's got a bunch of cool videos if you're interested in doing a different knot).

All that's left after that is to mount something to hang it by (in this case it was 2 eye screws and picture wire strung between them), then hang it up and plug it in.


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