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My First Try

Discussion in 'Making your Own paddles' started by FlaMike, Oct 24, 2013.

  1. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Here I go again, trying to learn something new! :)

    Since I did threaten to do this, I thought I'd go ahead and make good on it. What I'm going for is something like the paddles I've seen in pictures on the LA Folk museum web site, a couple of which have been posted in this section of the forum. Kind of wish I'd gotten a 10' 2X4 when I picked up the other cypress, but it was an 8 footer. And I'd decided on a 5 ft. paddle, so that leaves 3 ft to make a mud bug paddle next. (Oops! Should have done that one first! :oops: ) Oh well.

    There are some tools I'd like to have, but don't, so I just drug out what I do have and put them to work. Here is how it looks, so far:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Nowhere near done, of course, but I got a late start this afternoon. I'll be thinning down the handle as seen in the pic on the left, leaving it relatively thick as seen in the pic on the right. I'm looking to get an oval cross section here. Of course, I will get to work on the handle end, that's still only rough cut and there's been no shaping done otherwise just yet. The blade will get smoothed down some more, and where it seems to be a little out of balance in the side view, I will make an effort to even it out a little, but I don't think I want to risk making it any thinner.

    When done with the shaping and final sanding, I've got some boiled linseed oil to finish it with. Then I'll post pics of the finished paddle. I wanted a long, narrow blade with soft shoulders and a pretty much squared end. This one comes kind of close, but still. . . Not quite right. So, along with that mud bug paddle, there's another paddle build in my near future.

    OK, now let me have it, right between the eyes! How am I doing so far? :shock:

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  2. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    You deserve a ( new ) good paddle to go with your new boat. :D

    Chuck.
     
  3. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Mike, how will that long, thin paddle work in your shallow, muddy waters?
     
  4. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Jack, I don't think I've ever described any place that I've been paddling as being "shallow, muddy water."

    All the pics I posted of the Pirogue were taken in either crystal clear water with a sand and lime rock bottom, or nearly as clear salt water with oysters covering the bottom, or turtle grass and sand. Some places do have a softer bottom, but seldom a really muddy bottom. Now when we move into the local swamps, the water is tannin stained, but hardly "muddy." And here, you will find soft, muddy bottoms. Then again, that's what I'd expect to find in a swamp.

    In what's left of the River of Grass, the Everglades, I have seen video's posted by Mack's Fish Camp, of children running through the shallower parts of the 'Glades, not sinking up to their knees in it.

    I guess if the only thing you went by was the pics of where I launched the Glades Skiff, you might think that shallow, muddy water was what I normally have to deal with. But even that wouldn't be correct. The push pole had no problem finding a good purchase on the bottom to move the boat, and after traversing a narrow, weed-choked channel, the water opened up to a good-sized clear space and the 12ft. push pole no longer found a bottom to push on.

    So, for that, I decided I needed a paddle. If "shallow and muddy" was the rule, instead of the exception, I think I'd probably make a paddle with a much shorter blade, but also much wider. But since I do live in an area blessed with excellent paddling conditions, I have no need of such a paddle. Also, the local waters don't freeze solid once a year, so paddling is something we do year 'round down here. :D

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, Fl
     
  5. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    You have deeper water than I've paddled in, while in the South. Your paddle will serve well.
     
  6. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    FlaMike.........

    Jack likes to think all the water down here is MUD and he does not realize that for the most part the water is clear and nice.
    Swamps and rivers associated with them have tannic acid in the water from the decaying vegetation which makes it Tea Colored or Bourbon colored. Fact is that even in those areas if you get to the head waters you could locate a crystal clear spring.
    The water coming up ( feeding the lakes and rivers ) from the aquifer is gun clear water.

    The one area where I would think it would be black water is the Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades.
    From what I can find out from folks who have walked that Part of the Florida Trail threw the Big Cypress National Preserve ( A 34.5 mile hike , Loop Road to I-75 ), in ankle to waste deep water , is all crystal clear water. The person taking the lead is walking along and seeing the bottom , the ones following see dirty water from the turbulence caused by the leader string up silt and vegetation from the bottom.

    Chuck.
     
  7. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Pretty Much DONE!

    I'm going to call this one pretty much done.

    Kind of made my switch to a daylight schedule a lost faster this time, so I was able to finish making my first paddle. There is only one coat of boiled linseed oil on it right now, and there will be several more, but it'd done enough to see what the end product looks like.

    I know this paddle isn't exactly symmetrical, so I KNOW what I need to do a better job of NEXT time. But I'm fairly happy with the way it came out, as is. It will get the job done. What I'm not sure about, is how many applications of the oil I should do before using the paddle. I'm guessing maybe three, at least?

    Here is what it looks like now, with just the first coat of oil on it. Got to say, I really like working with cypress! :)

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    No, that isn't a glue line on the blade in the left hand picture, the paddle was cut from a single rough-cut 2X4 piece of cypress. It's just the way the wood took up the oil.

    Here's my attempt at shaping the handle end, using mostly a belt sander:

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Next time I make one, I'll use some more pencil marks and pay closer attention to them. Prob'ly make a gague out of some scrap wood to check it with, while I'm at it. I did let my impatience rush me through building this paddle. Next time, I'll raise my standards up. But, it was FUN! :D

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  8. oldsparkey

    oldsparkey Well-Known Member

    When a new person and sometimes the ones that have been here for quite a while get impatient and start rushing I like to tell them to put it down , go relax someplace and then come back and start out slow without changing gears.

    Two things that are needed when building a boat or the accessories that go with it..... Planning and Patience. By the way they are the hardest part of the building process that you have to learn. :D

    Chuck.
     
  9. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    "Two things that are needed when building a boat or the accessories that go with it..... Planning and Patience. By the way they are the hardest part of the building process that you have to learn. :D"

    Aaaaaa-Men! :lol:

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  10. Wannabe

    Wannabe Well-Known Member

    Mike,
    As for an oil finish my Dad told me how to do it many years ago. Oil it once an hour for a day. Once a day for a week. Once a week for a month. Once a month for a year. Then once a year there after. That is for furniture. If you use an oil finish I'd oil the paddle after each use instead of only once a year.
    Bob
     
  11. Kayak Jack

    Kayak Jack Well-Known Member

    Looks pretty symmetrical to me, Mike. Nice job.
    Bob, I like your Dad's formula.
     
  12. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the comments, guys!

    Bob, what your Dad told you is just what I've heard, elsewhere. The last time I heard it was when I made a wood pallet for oil painting. And of course, it worked just fine.

    But today, I think I might try something different. I've read that just the boiled linseed oil is perfectly fine for indoor use, it might not be the best way to go for outdoors. found out about what used to be used, before all the store-bought finishes came out. And most of those were (and still are) the same products wood workers made themselves, they just used a lot of advertising hype to make it sound so much better.

    The finish I think I'll continue with was used to give the oil a more durable finish, one that would "fill" the wood grain better and allow you to "build up" the finish, as well as making it more "waterproof," was simply boiled linseed oil, varnish, and some thinner. About 1/3rd each. Since I only have about $2 invested in this paddle so far, I'm willing to risk it. :)

    I know I'm not blazing a new trail here, as there are many who've made there own paddles posting here, and have it down pat. But I haven't found too much posted on the finishing details. So, I'll give this a try and see how it works out.

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     
  13. Wannabe

    Wannabe Well-Known Member

    Mike,
    Back when I was playing with the lathe quite a bit I would use the 1/3 oil, varnish, thinner mixture as a finish. It worked well for what I was using it for.
    Bob
     
  14. FlaMike

    FlaMike Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the info, Bob. I heard the same thing from multiple sources, so I had no problem, using the equal parts of boiled linseed oil, varnish, and thinner. Seeing the results, that is now my "usual" finish for such things! :D

    Pardon the "turned on it's side" editing, but here is the finished paddle:

    [​IMG]

    I had no idea how many coats to use, so I quit after eight. Seemed to be enough. . . Time will tell. If that seems like a lot, the coats were applied very thinly, and I spent more time "rubbing it in," than "rubbing it on."

    This is one more project I can check off my list, before my trip out into the middle of nowhere, this coming Tuesday morning. I guess it qualifies as "morning," even though I'll be leaving the house about 3 AM.

    More on that, when I get back! 8)

    Mike S.
    Spring Hill, FL
     

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