The title of this entry is a line from The Godfather III. How does it apply to kayaking, you ask? Well, last weekend I offered to attend a session for those wishing to make their own laminated Greenland paddles. I've made a number in the past and, so I thought, was happy with my current paddle. After seeing Dean and Stan's new paddles take life on Saturday, I felt the urge to build yet another. Hence the title of this blog entry!!
A few months ago I started a paddle that was both very stiff/strong yet incredibly light. It was a laminated paddle made from spruce, Western Red Cedar and maple. I hollowed out the loom and added maple tips and blade edges for protection. Things were progressing fine until I realized that I made an error in marking out the shape and ended up screwing up the whole thing!! It never made it past the initial sanding phase!!!
Here's a picture of the damage. (The backdrop for this image is my dog's bed (Don't ask) and that's why it's so hairy and fuzzy.)
After watching the guys work on their paddles, the idea began to formulate - I want to try that last design just one more time because I know I can get it right!! Fast forward to today (Monday) and after a trip to the local Home Depot, I'm now face and eyes into another paddle!
I managed to find a piece of 2x6x12 Western Red Cedar that was not only blemish free BUT dry as a bone as well AND with near-perfect grain. What a find!! I'll have enough for at least two paddles from this one as there is so little wastage!!
So far tonight, I've cut the spruce centre lamination, plus the two smaller cedars as well. I hollowed out the centre lamination loom as per the image below and glued the three strips together. That's enough for now!!
The spruce centre lamination with, what I've decided to call "speed holes" that reduce the overall paddle weight.
For my first number of laminated paddles I used Interlux Epiglass epoxy. My problem is that I don't have a heated workshop so any gluing needs to be done in the comfort of my living space. Epoxy is not the best thing to be mixing and curing in your kitchen or living room. I did some research and came up with an alternative that is working great for me so far. I've switched over to Elmer's Waterproof Glue. It's a PVA adhesive very similar to the "white glue" we've all come to know and love. Unlike epoxy or polyurethanes, it cleans up with water (just like the stuff we used in primary school) Get it on your hands? No worries just wipe if off in your work pants!! Drip it on the floor? Wipe it up with a wet rag. And no smell whatsoever. High initial tack. Clamp for only and hour or so. 24 hrs for full strength. And ANSI Type 1 water resistant to boot. Did I mention that a 473 mil bottle (enough to do at least two paddles) only costs about 10.00. Hooked on Elmer's, works for me!!!
Applying the glue around the "speed holes"
The whole assembly is drying right beside me on the living room floor - right between the dog's dish and the rabbit's cage and none are the worse for wear because of it. No fuss, no muss and no funky and obnoxious odors to contend with. All is right with the world!!!
I'm not sure how much I'll get done tomorrow night. Tuesday's our night at the pool and I generally don't get home until 11:30 - although that has not stopped me from doing some nocturnal paddle work in the past!!!
We shall see what we shall see!!