Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Canoe Paddle II

     Things don't always go as planned.  Hah, that's sure an understatement.  Would've helped if I'd had a pattern before sawing and glueing up the stock.  But I didn't and life is too short to wait, so I did what I do best, I guessed.  My first choice for paddle design couldn't be made.  So it's choice number two and that's okay.  If this one works out another can be made to match the beavertail I really wanted.  If that one works out, number three will be an ottertail.
     Yesterday I traced and sawed the rough shape.  Oddly enough the paddle looks as it should.  Still a club but more streamlined.  Easier to get a solid swing should any ETs invade my garage.
     I've no more than a general idea of where to go from there.  No two methods I've looked up carve paddles the same way.  Same goes for sealing the finished product, varnish, oil and how to apply them.  Guess I'll have to do it the old fashioned way, try something and see if it works.  If it doesn't I'll let you know.  I've been known to screw up once in a while and expect I'm not done.
     One of the videos I watched used an industrial band saw to shape the paddle.  Sure worked slick.  I do have a band saw but it's a few horsepower short of industrial.  Still considered using it even though I knew the saw wasn't up to clawing through an inch and a half thick ash slab.  Turned out a little saber saw did the trick.  Even better when I installed a new blade.  Thank God I had a clamp to hold the blank in place.  Two of them came with my body.  I call them knees.  Better than nothing even though the vibration from the saw nearly jarred the fillings out of my molars.
     Several of the carvers used a spoke shave for the handle and even the blade.  The shave has a long history behind it.  Works like a plane, looks like a tiny draw knife.  Draws through soft wood like a knife on warm butter.  Would it work on ash?  A moot point unless I want to order one on line.  The man at a local big box tool store didn't know what one was.  Instead I grabbed a surform.  Works something like a coarse file with itty-bitty knife edges to cut through the wood.  The idea is to remove all that's not the paddle and leave all that's knuckle and finger.  Don't want to stain perfectly good ash.

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