Paddle: CNC Carving Greenland Paddle?

Submitted byPaul Harker onThu, 04/26/2018 - 09:57

I am currently carving my first Greenland paddle following the popular instructions written by Chuck Holst. I must confess I am not enjoying the process. The carving down to measured lines using spokeshave and other planes does not appear to be my forte. I find it tedious and far from exact in my hands. It is entirely possible I'm doing something wrong.

I'm sure I'll end up with a nice, usable paddle when I'm done, but I suspect I'll want to try variations on the theme, and don't trust enough repeatability in the shape carving by hand to reliably discern the differences. That, coupled with my the above issues, has led me to think that this might be a good application of CNC tech. 

My plan is, once finished with my current paddle, to CNC a paddle from pine, try it, see what I do or don't like, make changes, and repeat. The reason I'm thinking of using pine (SPF) is to make them fast and cheap until I have a design I like. Once I'm happy, I'll carve from WRC and/or a laminated paddle of some sort. (For lamination adhesive, I am assuming Titebond III etc would be sufficient as long as the paddle is protected with a varnish or similar finish?)  

I've modeled the basic Chuck Holst design (note this is one side only) as a starting point with an 84" overall length, 3.125" blade and 18" 1.5x1.125 loom.

Any thoughts, comments, and caveats much appreciated.  

Greenland Mockup

To save wasting wood, scraping away nearly a paddle's worth, I use a ~20 mm thick plank. I shape it with a hand saw and the bits from each side get split down the middles and what were the outer edges, glued. Each of those pieces is then glued, one to each side of the "plank". This gives enough wood to make a paddle out of yet waste very little.

Lots of work....before you even know that an 84 inch X 3.125 with an 18 inch loom is a good fit for you.  I have made a series of paddles that cover 3 different widths and between 3 to five different lengths for each width , all with variable length / adjustable looms just to determine actual  fit of any given person.  The anthroprometric method of sizing is only a ball park and gets you somewhat close.  I would suggest trying as many paddles that others have before doing all the set-up for the c-n-c.


Mon, 11/08/2021 - 08:46

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Wed, 01/19/2022 - 13:26

When shaping the paddle blades, clamp your work so you can work with both hands and the piece is stable, WEB DESIGN SERVICES  and instead of using small strokes with the plane, work along the entire length of the paddle blade with long steady strokes and shorter ones only when necessary.