Variations on a Theme

Blades and shafts can, of course, be made to look however you want them to look.  You don’t have to stick to the method described in steps 1 through 4 for making them. 

Shafts can be made of any number of laminates that you choose.  It is not recommended that you use a single piece of wood for the shaft, however.  By laminating multiple pieces of wood together you are creating a much stronger shaft than if it were constructed of only one piece of wood.  The reason for this is because when wood breaks, it does so along (or between) the grain.  When multiple boards are laminated together the grain does not line up, so if one piece of the laminated shaft is inclined to break, it will be supported by the adjoining pieces.

Blades also can be constructed of any number of pieces of wood that you like.  I like to use the offcuts from the shaft as the center of the blade on all the paddles that I build because it lends continuity to the overall look of the paddle.  The remainder of the offcuts aren’t always used to compose the rest of the blade though.  The blade can consist of any number of different combinations of wood that you like.  One thing to keep in mind is that soft woods (like cedar or bass) sand down much more quickly than harder woods (like maple or walnut), so you need to take care when sanding the blade to be sure that it is flat and not wavy. 

Be creative and do whatever you think looks good.

Here are a few examples of shafts and blades that don’t follow the straightforward methods described in steps 1 through 4.

Anik's 15IMG_0997IMG_1002IMG_1005

© Gary Mastry II 2013