How they are made - New Project 1

Cricket Designs
Canoe and Kayak Paddles and CNC Wood Carving
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WOOD: The woods I use are primarily western cedar and ash in the flat-water paddles and clear eastern pine and ash with some use of alder in the the whitewater paddles.  I used to use quite a bit of black willow both in shafts and blades, but it is no longer available.

GLUE: Over the years I have found that Titebond II has been the best for me.  Years ago I used some of the 2 part quick cure waterproof glues used for building beams but it is only affordable in 55 gallon drums and then has about a 3 month shelf life.  I have also used Titebond III but prefer the type II.  Sealing the paddles in epoxy provides the waterproofing required . If you decide to make your own paddle and not finish with epoxy I recommend using a true waterproof glue.

EPOXY RESIN:  I have used WEST SYSTEMS since I started making paddles in 1978. At the time it was the only boat/paddle building epoxy that I could find.  Now there are quite a few brands, If starting again I would also look at System 3, my friend Ray at White Salmon Boatworks has used it for years.  I currently use the slow hardener, I have used  the fast hardener, but always had  problems with epoxy blush. I prefer the slow over their special clear because I the like the amber cast that it gives the wood.

FIBERGLASS: I get fiberglass from Sweet Composites another home based business. They also have Kevlar, Carbon Fiber and Dynel for edging as well as resins and equipment.  I primarily use the 1252 weave 2 oz weight fiberglass, I also use some 4 oz and  2 oz kevlar for whitewater paddles.

VARNISH: Over the years I have used several finishing processes.  When I made paddles in larger batches I had a dip tank where the varnish was thinned about 10%.  Three coats and done, with the thinner it dried pretty quickly.  I currently use a HVLP spray gun and spend a  lot of time cleaning it.  I never have had any success using a brush and spray can coats are way to thin to be cost effective.

I currently use Minwax Helmsman varnish.  I have to let the epoxy cure about 4 days before application to make sure it is cured.  Otherwise the varnish doesn't want to dry.  Varathane varnish never dried when applied to the WEST epoxy., some sort of chemical incompatibility.
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