Step 6 - Joining the Shaft to the Blade

The next step in building a Stand Up Paddle is to join the shaft and the blade together.  This is done using epoxy that has been thickened with wood flour.  But, before gluing, take the time to do a test fit to center the shaft on the blade.  Precise alignment is critical to the performance of the finished paddle.  The shaft and blade are fitted together by aligning the laminations of the handle with those at the center of the back of the blade (the beveled side). This is why it was important to insure the template was centered on the paddle blank in the first part of Step 5.

Use a clamp or two to hold the shaft and blade together while you draw a line on the blade around where the shaft comes into contact with it.  This will allow you to easily position the two pieces when they are wet with epoxy and time is of the essence.

Separate the two pieces and tape around the outside edges of the line that was drawn on the back of the blade.  Also tape around the bevel of the shaft.  The tape save a ton of time by keeping the epoxy from making a mess that will have to be cleaned up with a scraper and sandpaper after it has dried.

Now mix up some epoxy, thicken it with wood flour, join the shaft and blade together firmly with a couple of clamps.  Carefully wipe away any epoxy that has squeezed out onto the tape.  Then remove the tape and leave it to dry/cure.  If you leave it until after the epoxy has cured, the tape will be very difficult to remove and will probably require a lot of sanding.

The final part to Step 6 is to cleanup any excess epoxy that got under the tape and bevel the step on the face of the blade.  Some epoxy will make it’s way under the tape so you’ll need to go back with some 120 grit sandpaper to smooth that down.  Most types of epoxy continue to harden for about a week after it has dried, so the sooner you can get to sanding it after it’s initial cure time, the easier the sanding will be.

Now bevel the step where the face of the blade meets the shaft.  This can quickly and easily be completed by clamping a belt sander on its side, turning it on and holding the paddle square to sander while applying even pressure.

Move on to Step 7 - Glassing the Blade

© Gary Mastry II 2013