Maintaining a paddle is really quite easy. Repairs can be from easy to it is time to send it back to me. Every couple of years a re-coat of varnish is recommended. Get some 220 grit wet and dry sandpaper and give is a light wet sanding. I typically spend no more than 3 or 4 minutes wet sanding for a re-coat Then get a can of Minwax Helmsman spray varnish from the local hardware or Walmart and give it several coats waiting for it to just dry before re-coating If you wait over 24 hours a light sanding will give the next coat more bite. If there are slight dings in the shaft or blade I normally fill them with 5 minute epoxy. Let it dry overnight the wet sand it with 220. I apply the epoxy with a flat blade toothpick and try not to add to much as the wet sanding can get tricky, many times 2 thin coats is easier to work with then one thick one. If water has been allowed to get thru the finish, make sure it is as well dried as possible before re-coating Moisture trapped in the wood is the primary cause of the fiberglass lifting from the wood.
The Gemini and Honey Island paddles have a unsealed grip, I use Watco exterior oil which is a mixture of varnish, thinner and oil which penetrates the wood quite well and then fish with linseed oil. A re-coat of linseed oil at least once a year is recommended. I don't use tongue(gun stock) oil as although it is more waterproof it also gets gummy with too many coats so needs being scraped off.
I like for people to be able to do their own minor repairs and am quite willing to send some fiberglass or Dynel. With the cost of shipping these days it is very easy to have $50 invested for something you you can do pretty easily. If you have questions please call or send an email and we can discuss what is needed.
I believe almost all of the boat building epoxies are compatible with one another(Belief, not tested). So I you get West, System 3, Jamestown Distributors generic they should all work. Make sure to get the dispensing pumps as the mixture is critical, unlike polyester where a little extra hardener won't hurt unless it is really warm. Making repairs with polyester resin will not work in the long run.
If the fiberglass bubbles up, wears off or gets rough on the shaft I typically sand it clean then re-coat with epoxy and fiberglass. In any case please get the paddle as dry as possible before repairing. I have a small closet that I can warm with an oil filled electric heater. A large cardboard box could do the same, just make sure you don't have a heat source that can start a fire.
I the Dynel edge breaks free it can many times be repaired with some 5 minute epoxy, Saran wrap which won't stick to the epoxy and spring clamps. Tongue depressors from the Walmart craft section and a couple of spring clamps can work wonders. Questions? Get in touch.
If the wood blade splits it can be repaired in a similar fashion although at that point you might want to send it back to me. You do have to work the epoxy into the joint, a surface coat is not good enough.
If the Dynel completely breaks off off it is probably best to send it back to me as with the thin blades it is quite easy to damage it further. The picture below show what a paddle looks like before I start thinning down the blade, the wood is 3/8”-1/2” thick. Think about getting having a glob of Dynel on a blade that is 1/8-3/16” thick and grinding it down without damaging anything, it is tricky.
I have repaired most kinds of paddles and raft oars. From Silver Creek, Mitchell, Blackburn, Nimbus, Sawyer, even a New World one time. I have also repaired a few fiber/composite boats, although I'm by no means a professional at it.