Step 8 - Attach the Handle and Epoxy the Shaft

Before attaching the handle to the shaft you need to determine what the overall length of the Stand up Paddle should be.  A general rule of thumb is that the paddle should be 10 inches greater than your height.  Because the hole that was drilled in the handle to attach it to the shaft was half of the depth of the 1 1/8” handle you’ll need to subtract 9/16 of an inch from the length of the blade and the shaft to end up with a paddle that is the correct length.  As an example, I recently build a paddle that needed to be 87” inches when finished (yes, that is a very tall paddle).  Therefore, 9/16 of an inch was subtracted from 87” and the shaft was cut at 86 7/16”.

Next, test fit the handle to be sure that it fits properly over the end of the shaft.  If it’s a bit too tight take some 120 grit sandpaper and give the end of the shaft a quick sanding all the way around to reduce it’s circumference.  Ideally, the handle should fit snugly - not too tight and not too loose.  Don’t worry too much if it’s a bit of a loose fit , you’ll just have to use a little more thickened epoxy to attach it.

Now lay the shaft down on a flat, level surface.  Use a level to assure that the blade is perfectly flat.  Tape over the hole in the handle and cut out the hole.  Again, the tape will keep the epoxy from getting all over the place and make clean-up and sanding a quick and easy.

Mix up a small amount of epoxy to attach the handle and the shaft together.  After mixing the epoxy, but before thickening it with wood flour, brush a small amount in the hole and on the end grain of the shaft.  End grain tends to absorb a lot of epoxy, adding a little extra now will prevent the joint from being starved of epoxy and creating a weak bond. 

Now thicken the remaining epoxy and place some in the hole of the handle and on the end of the shaft.  Attach the two together by pressing firmly.  Clean-up the epoxy that squeezes out.  If any epoxy gets where it shouldn’t be, it can be removed with lacquer thinner.  Lay the assembly down and check to make sure that it is exactly parallel to the blade.  This is done by placing a level on the blade and the handle.  Leave it to dry overnight.

The last thing that you need to do is to apply epoxy to the shaft and sand it down.  Two coats should be sufficient to protect the wood.  the first coat will seal the wood and the second coat will build up the epoxy enough for you to sand the shaft smooth without exposing bare wood.  Tape over the handle and hang the paddle with the blade up.  This will allow any excess epoxy to drip down to the handle where it can be removed by simply removing the tape about a half hour after the epoxy is applied.  Finish the shaft by sanding it smooth with 120 and then 180 grit sandpaper.

On to Step 9 - Varnish

© Gary Mastry II 2013