Cedar Strip Canoe Paddles

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Project by farmerdude posted 10-26-2014 11:20 PM 3547 views 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Cedar Strip Canoe Paddles
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Finally found the time to post these up. I made these earlier this summer. I used some leftover strips from the last canoe build so they are all white cedar with the exception of a “cross” of hardwood in the center of each paddle for added strength. The hardwood cross is made from White Birch I had laying around. First move is to staple the strips to the jig, the jig is marked for different lengths.

Next you remove the strips from the jig after one hour so that the back side can dry quicker, that keeps it from cupping as it dries. After removing the staples when dried the paddle blanks weigh just 10 oz. each.

Now to make the spines. Two for each side of the paddles for strength. These spines are cedar with a strip of Birch between them. The glue I used is made from the fiber glassing epoxy mixed with cotton fibers. It makes a really strong and waterproof glue. There are four spine pieces in the jig separated with plastic.

Now the spines are removed from the jig and cleaned up.

Now to shave the ends of these spines down to a point on the end where they overlap the paddle blades.

Here the table is ready to make more glue to glue the spines to the paddle blanks.

The spines are glued, and clamped, and are in the holding jig. The jig is a great help as the pieces are really slippery and hard to control. This step is somewhat aggrevating. A great sense of victory follows the application of the last clamp.

Everything is looking good, time to call it a day.

Now it is the next morning, out to the shop to check my project…......................... OH CRAP!!!
One of the spring clamps slipped out of position after I left the shop last evening. The spring clamps are working together with strips of ash I had around, and they have wax paper between them and the paddle to prevent sticking. With the wax paper, and the fact that the spines are tapered, when it slipped it put pressure on the 1/4 inch thick cedar and a crack resulted.

A little TitebondII and some tape and after drying it is good as new. I’m not concerned about this repair affecting the strength of this paddle because it will get both sides covered with a layer of 6oz. glass cloth.

Now to add some wood to the ends to give me enough material to shape the hand grip.

Next step, shape the hand grips, and smooth the paddle shaft. When this is done the weight comes in at 1lb. 5 oz. Not bad.

Here you can see the cross made with the Birch. You can also see that the strips have a bead and cove so they fit together nicely. This cross adds enough strength to make the paddles shaft very rigid.

Time to begin glassing.

OK, glassing is done, sanded, filler coat of epoxy, sanded, 2nd filler coat, sanded, one coat of spar, sanded, 2nd coat of spar. Finally done!! These paddles finished weight is 1lb. 10 oz. each. Can’t complain about that.

I hope you all can stand one more pic. I drug out my first canoe build and took a picture of it with my new paddles. I had a ton of build pics of this first canoe and somehow lost them in cyberspace. So here goes…......

-- Jeff in central Me.

6 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1682 posts in 3024 days

#1 posted 10-27-2014 12:27 AM

Very, very cool. This is something I have always wanted to do even though, at the moment, I do not own a canoe. What did you use for your being pattern/layout? Thanks for the step-by-step very inspirational.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View farmerdude's profile


666 posts in 2573 days

#2 posted 10-27-2014 12:39 AM

Thanks Northwest, I got the plans from the book, Building a strip canoe by Gil Gilpatrick.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View BusterB's profile


2088 posts in 2542 days

#3 posted 10-27-2014 04:28 PM

Jeff is in the house…woot woot. That’s really a nice build. Great craftsmanship buddy. Does this mean that someday you actually plan to put that beautiful canoe you built in the water??? Amazing…lol
Fine work as always my frozen friend.

-- Buster, Ocoee TN (Critics are men who watch a battle from a high place then come down and shoot the survivors - Hemingway)

View farmerdude's profile


666 posts in 2573 days

#4 posted 10-27-2014 10:35 PM

Thanks Buster. The last trip with this canoe all I had was a broken paddle I found in the road. I was in the middle of the lake when the wind came up. What a sight it must have been for anyone watching me fight the wind to get to shore with a broken paddle that was only about three feet long hahahaha. Enjoy that weather ( wise guy ) I’m sure this cold will work it’s way down there sooner or later.

-- Jeff in central Me.

View CFrye's profile


10762 posts in 2374 days

#5 posted 01-22-2015 08:51 AM

First paddle build I’ve seen. I really like the bead and cove joinery. (Hmmm future cutting board/pizza peel…) How did you accomplish that? Have you made any offset kayak paddles? Thanks for sharing.

-- God bless, Candy

View farmerdude's profile


666 posts in 2573 days

#6 posted 01-22-2015 10:51 PM

Candy, I use two different router bits. One does the bead, when all the pieces are done I change bits and do the cove on the other edge. It makes for a really strong joint. I have not done a kayak paddle, but would like to. Someday I want to build a cedar strip kayak. Thanks for commenting.

-- Jeff in central Me.

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