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Old 04-09-2014, 09:57 PM   #21
Zach
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Glad to hear you were able to find some wood. I found a piece of white pine today in a pile of lumber I had cut last year that I think will work for the shaft of my double paddle since it has mostly straight grain and no knots. I'll be looking forward to hearing more once you get started.
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Old 04-27-2014, 10:30 AM   #22
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This isn't as exciting as building a wood strip canoe but I've made some progress with my first canoe paddle. According to the paddle making book I have you are supposed to let the wood hang for a couple of weeks. The cherry has been hanging for three weeks so the wood can conform to it's natural state. It was pretty expensive so I picked up some white ash a week later and it's been hanging for two weeks so I could start with a less expensive chunk of wood.

My little jig saw couldn't handle the 5/4 white ash so I used my circular saw for most of the cuts. To cut in around the shaft I taught myself how to plunge cut with my circular saw.

The chunk of wood started out at 14.5 lbs, the rough cut blank was 6 lbs and after I spent a lot of time with my plane, block plane, spokeshave and sandpaper I'm down to 5.5 lbs. I've got a lot of carving to do so I need to teach myself how to really sharpen the blades on the planes and spokeshave!



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Old 04-28-2014, 06:08 AM   #23
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Wow, you weren't foolin' around....You'll be "sailing by and ash breeze" in no time!
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Old 05-10-2014, 08:42 PM   #24
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update

Last weeks work on the canoe paddle. It's taking more time than I thought it would but it's coming along nicely. The chunk of wood was 14.5 lbs. The blank paddle cut out of the 5/4 ash was 6 lbs, trimmed up to the lines it was 5.5 lbs. After thinning the blade and shaping half of the grip it's down to 3.5 lbs. Taking off for vacation tomorrow so this little project is on hold for a week+. Hope all the campers are having fun!


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Old 07-07-2014, 10:31 AM   #25
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finally

The paddle has been done for weeks. Three coats of 100% tung oil finish and it looks great! I took it out yesterday and it was a pleasure to use and the canoe stayed very dry on the inside. It took a little while to get the feel of a single blade again but it was great. Now I need to practice different strokes. The length seemed about perfect for the low seat in my Rapidfire. I'm working on a cherry ottertail that's two inches longer so I'll need to get the higher seat from Joe. The low seat seemed a bit inefficient and it will be interesting to see how a higher seat feels. Here are some some pics:





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Old 07-07-2014, 11:13 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Vermont Scott View Post
The length seemed about perfect for the low seat in my Rapidfire. I'm working on a cherry ottertail that's two inches longer so I'll need to get the higher seat from Joe. The low seat seemed a bit inefficient and it will be interesting to see how a higher seat feels.
Congratulations on the finish....
What are the dimensions of your paddle - of the shaft, and overall? I had Caleb make a shaft 2.5 inches shorter than his standard for use with my Rapidfire, and it works great with Joe's highest rail seat, made even slightly higher with a rigid foam pad.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:59 AM   #27
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I'll double check when I get home but I'm pretty sure the shaft length is 34" and the blade length is 28". I'm 6'5" with a long torso and long arms. When I hold this paddle over my head with one hand on the grip and the other on the throat the angle at my elbows is a little less than 90 degrees. Two more inches in the shaft gives me 90 degrees at each elbow. It's time to get the higher seat from Joe. What are you using for your foam pad to get you up even higher?

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Old 07-07-2014, 12:54 PM   #28
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It looks very nice. What did your final weight come out to be?
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Old 07-07-2014, 01:30 PM   #29
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Hi Zach,
It came in at just a tiny bit over 2 lbs before the tung oil finish. I haven't weighed it since the finish was applied. Even though I wet the wood to raise the grain and sanded lightly several times before applying the oil I noticed that the grain on the blade had raised again just a little after yesterday on the water. Time for a quick sanding and more finish-I have to say that I love the tung oil!
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Old 07-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Vermont Scott View Post
I'll double check when I get home but I'm pretty sure the shaft length is 34" and the blade length is 28". I'm 6'5" with a long torso and long arms. When I hold this paddle over my head with one hand on the grip and the other on the throat the angle at my elbows is a little less than 90 degrees. Two more inches in the shaft gives me 90 degrees at each elbow. It's time to get the higher seat from Joe. What are you using for your foam pad to get you up even higher?

Scott
My shorter-than-standard Caleb paddle has a 30" shaft with a 25" beavertail blade. I've used my longer paddles, standard ottertail and narrow willowleaf blade, but this one fits the RF and my 6' height much better for recreational paddling and fun maneuvering, or when paddling along side non-racers.

When I'm solo using the RF to train for racing in other multi-seat boats, I use a 50" GRB carbon bent shaft. I don't do hit and switch in the RF, rather I use some fast combination of what works at the moment - pitch, J, or Canadian, even when distance training.

I sit on Joe's high forward-pitch rail mounted seat with his glued in pad, and I throw in a Skwoosh gel pad attached to a waffle foam seat pad.
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Old 07-17-2014, 01:54 PM   #31
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I got the high seat from Joe last Friday and realized that I had the medium seat not the low in the RapidFire. I spent about an hour on the water around noon on Saturday. I used the J stroke on the right side for the most part and a little bit of time working on a sculling draw. It was great fun! Went back to the water before dinner for another hour. I noticed a little bit of back pain moving the canoe to the water this time. I tried the J stroke on both sides, sit and switch and a lot more sculling draw. More pain moving the canoe back to the car. By Sunday morning my lower back was screaming : ( It's been slowly getting better all week but not fun.
I can think of at least four sources:
The new seat (I don't think that's likely)
The paddle shaft is too long
The J stroke vs double blade paddling
All the time working on the sculling draw
I had paddled the previous week with the medium seat using the J stroke for an hour and didn't seem to have any issues. Any thoughts as to what the source of the issue could be would be greatly appreciated.
Scott
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Old 07-25-2015, 09:11 AM   #32
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I have been trying to find a standing dead tree to split and use for carving a paddle. After 2 attempts I have a piece of maple that was rotten in the center and a peice of birch that wont be dry for a year or so.

Does anyone have some tips to help gauge the rate of decay and chose a perfect tree for carving?
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Old 07-25-2015, 10:01 AM   #33
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In my experience the rate of decay is highly variable. Some individual trees rot from the center out, some from the outside in. I think you would want to get it as soon as possible (like within a year, maybe) after the tree died for best strength, or to get wood from a living tree. Spalted wood is very pretty but tends to be weaker in my experience. I think for a paddle you want maximum "springiness" or elasticity since it will be subject to considerable forces especially around where the shaft joins the blade.
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Old 07-25-2015, 11:02 PM   #34
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Oops! Never wrote about the cherry paddle with shorter shaft and blade based on Wldrns Rapidfire paddle. I'll measure it and weigh it tomorrow and post some pics. All I can say is that I really love the single blade. Sad to say I haven't been on a long trip with it but for an hour or two it's fantastic. I thought I liked my Werner Kalliste but it feels 'dead' compared to the cherry paddle. Something about the organic feel of the wood and the slight flex makes the cherry paddle feel 'alive'. Love it!
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Old 07-26-2015, 07:40 AM   #35
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Quote:
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... I had paddled the previous week with the medium seat using the J stroke for an hour and didn't seem to have any issues. Any thoughts as to what the source of the issue could be would be greatly appreciated.
VS... did Joe install the high drop in seat in your Rapidfire, or the rail mounted seat? The rail mount is higher. I also most often use a thick stiff gel pad to get even more height. I like being high as it gives me a lot more control and power. Some would consider the boat tippy at that height, but I use it to my advantage.

Don't focus purely on the J stroke, especially if you end with a drag at the end. That may have something to do with your back problem. The paddle should always be in constant smooth motion throughout the entire stroke and recovery, even when doing the J. I use several stroke J variants, most often a pitch stroke, rotating the grip to thumb away early while still under power. With that there is little or no need for much of a noticeable J correction. Increase the pitch or J only as occasionally needed. It's a dynamic thing and becomes automatic without conscious thought. Like riding a bike.

The only time I would ever paddle any distance using hit and switch would be during a race. When not racing I despise that paddling method. Inelegant as that stroke is, it is unfortunately the fastest way to move forward. But not by a lot, and other traditional one-sided strokes are certainly a lot more fun and pleasant to do over the long haul.

Sometimes I heel slightly left, sometimes slightly right while padding on the same side, depending on the wind or other factors. There is no hesitation in any portion of my stroke, including in the little or no J portion at the end of the stroke. The Rapidfire has very little perceptible yaw during the forward stroke, though it will radically turn when I want it to. I only reach the blade much behind my hip when there is need for a more radical direction change or large correction due to waves or whatever. I might throw in a bit of a C stroke at times. Or the catch might be extended forward and out to draw the bow around. Or I move from the J to the Canadian stroke and its variants, which is essentially an elongated J (with the paddle always in continuous motion) for more variety. I find that with torso rotation, when unwinding the torso on the recovery that that motion itself provides some significant percentage correction to yaw. Give your back some variety of motion!
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Last edited by Wldrns; 07-26-2015 at 07:50 AM..
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Old 07-26-2015, 09:36 AM   #36
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I had the medium seat put in when I ordered the Rapidfire. Last year Joe sent me the high seat and I just drop it on top of the medium seat. I've got a pad I can use to get more height if I need but so far the high seat works for me and the canoe feels plenty stable underneath me. I like the idea of the pitch stroke, I'll give that a shot later today if I can get out on the water. I really like the Canadian stroke, the paddle feels even more alive with that stroke. I don't like sit and switch at all. I haven't had any back issues since I've been using the shorter paddle.
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Old 07-26-2015, 02:20 PM   #37
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Stats

Here are the paddle stats:
The cherry paddle shaft is 30", the blade is 26" and it weighs 24 oz. The ash paddle shaft is 35", the blade is 28" and it weighs 33 oz. They were both finished with multiple coats of pure tung oil.
When I try and upload images the link crashes my iPad and iPhone. I'll have to use the computer later.
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Old 07-27-2015, 10:21 AM   #38
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Pics

Just a little bit different in length



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