Canoeing is an activity that many of us can’t get enough of. Your canoe can get you to your favorite fishing spot, a remote trail or through white water. Whether you canoe on open water or in rapids, you depend on your paddles to get you safely and effectively through the water. Making your own paddles will not only save you money, it will provide you with the right paddle for your own unique canoeing experience.
Difficulty: Moderately Easy
Things You’ll Need:
- Band saw Hatchet Carving knife Eye protection Ash or cherry wood plank (2 inches by 6 inches) Pencil Sandpaper Optional: waterproof paint Wood-burning tool
- Band saw
- Carving knife
- Eye protection
- Ash or cherry wood plank (2 inches by 6 inches)
- Optional: waterproof paint
- Wood-burning tool
Sketch out the basic form of the paddle on the plank of wood. The length of the shaft is determined by the distance between your nose and the seat of the canoe when you are in a seated position. The length of the paddle should be about 26 inches. If you are are canoeing for speed or maneuvering through rapids, the width of the paddle should be about six inches. For long distance paddling in open waters, design the paddle to be thinner.
Cut the form of the paddle out with a band saw. Wear eye protection and take safety precautions while cutting the wood.
Using the hatchet, cut eight sides on the shaft of the paddle. Use the knife to refine the shaft and create a round shape.
Alternate between the hatchet and knife to create the curve of the blade of the paddle. For maximum strength and maneuverability, the edge of the blade should be 3/32 inch thick. A thinner edge will make the blade easier to cut through the water, but it will also break more easily.
Sand the paddle smooth and make sure the handle fits comfortably in your hand. Make adjustments as needed.
If you would like to personalize your paddle, use waterproof paint or a wood burner to make designs and patterns.
Tips & Warnings
- Make a variety of sizes and widths of paddles for different canoeing situations.