The first thing I did was to watch the How it's Made video on canoe paddles. It turns out this is Grey Owl's facility, and I think they are making the Voyageur in this video. I mostly did it the way they do it, with some adjustments to suit my tool availability.
I also watched this video from Sanborn Canoe Co. I mostly didn't do what they do, but I really like the way their paddles turn out, and I would like to incorporate more of their techniques in my future builds.
First, I glued up the blade halves. This looks like it's going to end up as a single glued piece of wood, but there's no glue between the two middle pieces of walnut. For my blade I used walnut closest to the shaft, then cherry, then some more walnut, then maple on the outsides for impact resistance. My paddles get beat up on the sides of the blade the worst.
|Gluing the blade halves|
|Gluing the shaft|
|Gluing it all together|
|Thickness planer action|
|Mostly cut out on the bandsaw|
|Cutting straight lines on the shaft was hard for me|
|Beginnings of a nice shape to the walnut piece|
|Basswood burns badly when routering its endgrain, apparently|
|On the CNC!|
|Still with the leftover on|
|Looks like a paddle!|
|Walnut brings out a nice shape|
|Half of the ash tip guard|
|Cutting half the tenon|
|Will the gluing never end?|
|2nd half of the tenon|
|Final blade shape|
|More tip guard wood|
|Here's how it will fit.|
|Gluing never ends|
|Belt sander ftw|
|It ended up looking pretty good|
|You can't really see the glue line between the two pieces of ash|
|Laser cut fiberglass cloth.|
|Don't do this|
|Laser cut fiberglass equals misery|
I was also distressed to find that the epoxy resin darkened the basswood significantly. I lost a lot of the contrast in the wood that I liked, but I guess I should have expected it, as it ended up similar in tone to my current basswood paddles. I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that in the future.
|White wood is now tan wood|
|Before the final epoxy coats|
|A tad on the heavy side|
Since I built this one, I mostly completed another paddle, made mostly of western red cedar, but the CNC gave up in the middle and plunged a giant gouge right down the middle of my blade. Another reason to switch to hand tools? We have a new control board and everything seems to be back to normal. I have also purchased the book Canoe Paddles: A Complete Guide to Making Your Own, and I would recommend it.