29 July 2013

how to - shorten a kayak paddle!

Okay so last post I told you about the sleeping monster.
Now you'll know what I meant!

Jakob & new/old paddle

Our biggest problem was multiple boats,
3 paddlers and only 2 paddles.
A quick craigslist hunt came up with a $40 score.
(thanks CL seller!)
big and little

That's the white one on the left.
The brownish one is my old faithful Merv Larson stick.
Being cheap has some drawbacks.
This 230cm/90" paddle was almost a foot longer than we needed it to be.

So here's a "how to - shorten a fiberglass kayak paddle".
The popular paddle size is 220cm/86+",
which is good for fat wide kayaks.
Hey that's not a foot difference you may wonder.
hot rod work bench

I put some time in an OC-6 team,
those long 6-man outrigger canoes using a single blade paddle,
and learned shorter paddles allow a snappier vertical stroke,
using less arm and more torso strength.
It will also be better for the kids and strong winds.
We're shooting for a 208cm/81+" length.

About 10 inches were cut out of the center.
Then a 5 inch section was cut out the scrap,
and sliced up to use as a ferrule for joint.
Here I realized I was sparse on fiberglass resin,
so we took a trip to my parents house over the hill.

The first thing to do was set up the feathering angle.
That is the offset angle of the two paddle blades.
There's a ton of argument on the correct angle and control side,
but really it's up to the individual.
We're going for 60-70 degrees.
real work bench

The easiest way is to make a mark at the split,
when the paddles are at 0 degrees,
then another when they are at 90 degrees.
The center of those marks is 45 degrees,
and the quarter of those marks is about 70.

All the materials were collected.
I had some carbon fiber lying around.
It's important to use epoxy resin (or vinylester) or it will crack.
Time to preposition the clamp spot.

A couple wood blocks were needed,
and it reminded me of some friends recent blog post...
shinya kimura @ chabott engineering: DIY: work desk for #12 mezzanine...
Jaxon - child labor

My dad had one hand saw in his stash,
an old tree branch saw he's had for years.
Jakob - child labor

The kids and I all had our go at sawing away.
Must have been in the planets so similar to that link.
(see we read and learn shinya and ayu!)

Resin mixed and the ferrule glued up...
checking feathering angle

...and the last double check for a decent feathering angle.
This is why it's hard to know an exact number,
it's all in the feel.
My personal paddle is a left hand control,
due to that bike fall I told about last post.
This one will be right hand control.

The layup is easy,
similar to paper mache.
The carbon fiber is first,
and a layer of fiberglass cloth covers that.
Should have used gloves here!

It looks nasty and goopy and it is.
This is a little too wet with resin as well.
cheap vacuum bag

The trick is to get that plastic bag scrap,
and wrap it around the seam.
tape wrap

Masking tape is then wrapped around the repair,
squeezing out the extra resin,
and compressing the layup like a vacuum bag.

The paddle is blocked as straight as possible,
clamped up,
and left to harden.

After a bike ride and some chores,
we couldn't wait to see how it turned out.
time to unwrap

Jakob unwrapped it,
and it looked about as good as expected.
Shiny smooth with no sanding needed.

Time for a little rattlecan customization.
Only right side painted so it's easy to recognize,
and bright enough to be visible far away.
shorty paddles

Here's a similar repair on that right paddle.
It's held up for at least 15 years now,
using only one wrap of fiberglass tape.
Long ago someone had made this a two-piece paddle.

The boys couldn't stop and added some stripes...

And finally the paddle was finished.
perich brothers - Jaxon & Jakob - 2013

Time to test it out!


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