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      Finish on paddles?     

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overland
member (32)member
 
08/15/2017 10:51AM
I'm building some paddles that will have light fiberglass on the blades. (See below!) Thus they will have epoxy and will need UV protection. Should I use spar varnish, or is there something better? I recall reading somewhere that spar varnish is a little soft for a canoe paddle.
 
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Sven83
member (33)member
 
08/15/2017 11:45AM
Spar varnish is what most boat builders use on wooden craft. I personally prefer helmsman spar urethane since you can do multiple coats in a day.

No matter which top coat you use, it is sacrificial. Plan on having to sand and redo it when the scratches and such start bugging you.

On another note, make sure you do at least a single fill coat with epoxy after laminated with glass.
Cedarboy
distinguished member(3375)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2017 11:48AM
When I have built or rebuilt paddles I have covered the blades and shafts with epoxy up to the bottom of the grips. Blades get fiberglass before epoxy. Then they are sanded then 3-4 coats of Hellmsman spar urathane. I havent had any issues with it being "too soft". If my canoes I build can get Hellmsman over the epoxy then why not my paddles. has worked just fine.
I sand and dip the rips in a good oil finish. I just like the feel of the wood on the grip.
Traditional paddles, beaver tail solid ash paddles, get an all oil finish, blade tip to grip tip and they do not get the fiberglass on the blade.
CB
dew042
distinguished member (149)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2017 12:01PM
quote Sven83: "No matter which top coat you use, it is sacrificial. Plan on having to sand and redo it when the scratches and such start bugging you."

This. Rocks trump any finish. Spar Urethane gets prettier the more coats you put down IMO. For things like paddles that aren't flat, I prefer coarse steel wool to sand paper for preparation of the surface. I've been spraying Spar Urethane the last few days, man it dries fast.

Daniel
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/15/2017 02:07PM
I use Helmsman Spar Urethane. Put at least 3 coats and sand between.
Cedarboy
distinguished member(3375)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2017 02:11PM
quote Savage Voyageur: "I use Helmsman Spar Urethane. Put at least 3 coats and sand between. "


Wow was my spelling off.
CB
overland
member (32)member
 
08/15/2017 04:26PM
Thanks so much for the advice. Here's other, related question. I've made two of my paddles according to the "bird's mouth" method, which involves putting together eight notched strips of cedar to make the shaft, which is oval in shape and hollow inside. The problem is that these strips of cedar don't fit together precisely, so that there are thin gaps between them in places that run longitudinally along the shaft. Should I apply a coat of epoxy to the shaft in order to fill these gaps?
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/15/2017 04:41PM
To join the wood I used a marine grade wood glue to join wood joints. I'm not exactly sure of what you are talking about, please post a picture.
overland
member (32)member
 
08/15/2017 04:45PM
I don't know if this will work, but here are some photos. The wood strips are glued together with Titebond III waterproof glue, but as you can see, there are some gaps.

WHendrix
distinguished member (271)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/15/2017 06:51PM
I use Titebond III for a lot of things, but not for canoe paddles. For things that are meant to be IN the water I prefer epoxy. I have used West System epoxy for the paddles I've made and I've had no problems.
Sven83
member (33)member
 
08/15/2017 09:06PM
I used titebond III to glue the blade together for mine. It is supposed to be waterproof, but with some coats of glass and epoxy it shouldn't matter. Don't know much about hollow shaft paddles, mine are done the way Gil gilpatrick specified in his book. Handles are solid laminated pieces. Hardwood spines and softwood outer. In the end it's all coated with epoxy.

Most important thing is making sure water does not seep into the wood core!
Grizzlyman
distinguished member (401)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2017 06:32AM
quote overland: " I don't know if this will work, but here are some photos. The wood strips are glued together with Titebond III waterproof glue, but as you can see, there are some gaps.


"


I've done a few this way. It's a great way to make a strong and light wooden paddle. i did have gaps- but just a few smaller sporadic ones. The small ones are not noticeable in feel. Yours look pretty large. Only two things I could see to fix. Either fill with thicker epoxy and then sand the bejeebers out of it (this will suck and will never look perfect) or just try again now that you know how precise you need to be. Trying again is probably WAY less work.

Another thought- Frankly- it's almost impossible to get a perfect sharp edge with cedar since it's so soft. It's will inevitably flake or string out during the cut and that leads to the gaps. Since you cant really sand with this method before assembling the shaft it's tough to get perfect. You may want to consider hardwoods for the shaft- this's will have a better cut edge. I've used maple, cherry, and walnut. And every shaft I made was better than the previous.
This method is still very light even with hardwood. . I even have a 60" 21 oz paddle with hardwood shaft.

Lastly- this isn't anywhere in the directions but I drill a small hole in the shaft below where the handle is inserted just for drainage should any water get in.

Good luck!



Duluthian
member (35)member
 
08/16/2017 07:41AM
I've used both marine spar varnish and spar urethane. I liked the finish on the urethane much better because I was after a high gloss. Both get the job done just fine.
Grizzlyman
distinguished member (401)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2017 10:15AM
quote Duluthian: "I've used both marine spar varnish and spar urethane. I liked the finish on the urethane much better because I was after a high gloss. Both get the job done just fine."

I agree. I prefer the spar urethane. It's got a more natural wood color to it than the yellow hue of varnish. I think it feels better too.
O
Podunk
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
08/16/2017 03:56PM
I'm with Sven83. I use titebond 3, cover with glass and a couple coats of epoxy. Sand between coats, l'd stay away from steel wool, use sandpaper or scotchbrite pads. Finish with Epiphanes varnish. I've used hardwoods and cedar in shafts, both either inside or out. Alot of it is personal preference. Making paddles is a good way to work up your woodworking skills. Doesn't cost much either.
dew042
distinguished member (149)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2017 04:58PM
quote Podunk: "l'd stay away from steel wool"

What's your logic/experience on this point?

Thanks,

Daniel
Grizzlyman
distinguished member (401)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/16/2017 05:27PM
quote dew042: "quote Podunk: "l'd stay away from steel wool"


What's your logic/experience on this point?


Thanks,


Daniel"


Lol. Was thinking the same
Podunk
senior member (51)senior membersenior member
 
08/16/2017 07:40PM
Steel wool will leave small pieces in soft wood and when glassing will cause air bubbles. At least that was what i was told when building a wood stripper canoe. Can't say from experience cause i've never used it. Could be wrong but it would be the first time ever ;)
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(12242)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
08/16/2017 10:02PM
quote dew042: "quote Podunk: "l'd stay away from steel wool"


What's your logic/experience on this point?


Thanks,


Daniel"


Don't use steel wool, it leaves steel inbeded in the wood and then it rusts if exposed to water. Just use 400 grit sandpaper and you will get it smooth a silk.
dew042
distinguished member (149)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/17/2017 12:17AM
quote Savage Voyageur: Don't use steel wool, it leaves steel inbeded in the wood and then it rusts if exposed to water. Just use 400 grit sandpaper and you will get it smooth a silk. "

Okay, that makes sense. I've never heard anyone using it on raw wood, nor would even cross my mind, it would be pretty ineffective to boot. I'd never want a super smooth surface for a first coat anyway.

On the flip side after a sanding sealer or finish coat is on steel wool becomes remarkably effective and roughing the surface for another coat without the hotspots and gumming that sandpaper can easily develop, even at a high grit, and takes very little of the finish off.

Daniel
 
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