Contrary to popular belief, I do more with my life than experiment with Greenland paddle designs!! Unfortunately, these other things rarely make it into a blog entry. So, this entry is no different.
After the "catastrophic failure" (a fellow paddler'e terms" of my last paddle) I took a few week's hiatus from paddle making but now, with our club's annual paddle retreat being this weekend, I figured it's time I got back to making a new paddle to take with me. With the exception of my last failed paddle, all my others have been 88 long. Being 6'3" with a 22" wide boat, I figured I should give a 90" paddle a whir - just to see if it makes any difference.
As with my other paddles, I've gone with a laminated structure. This one has a pine centre strip. For some reason this piece of pine is much more dense and hard grained that other pine I've used so I feel quite confident that it'll be up to the task. I'm also using Western Red Cedar (WRC) for the bulk of the paddle with aspen for the tips and edges. Aspen is basically a soft hardwood. It is much MUCH harder than WRC and also harder than the spruce I've been using. It's pretty light in weight as well. It's also very light in colour - almost white - which works well for the tips and it gives a nice contrast for the edges.
I've gone with the hollow centre loom again on this paddle. I really like the lightweight that can be achieved by this simple process. In this case, I drilled a variety of different holes sizes (1", 3/4" 1/2" and 1/4") throughout the loom and shoulders. This knocked over 4 oz off the centre lamination alone.
I've decided to let the outer laminations extend to the end of the paddle to add support the attached tip. Here's the ends prior to the aspen tip being atttached. The added strength of the laminations should negate the need for any other type of supprt for the join - dowels, mortise and tenon etc.
Unlike with the laminations where I used waterproof glue, I opted to use epoxy to attach the tips becuase it has greater gap filling capabilities. The joins are pretty tight - eventhough it make not look like it in this image.
I love how what appears to be so rough and ugly can, with a few passes of the plane, become so much more beautiful as the epoxy is stripped and the true grain of the wood shows through.
But that's for another day . . .