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      Paddle making epoxy question     



12/31/2022 03:00PM  
Hi All. I will be starting to make a few paddles soon and want to put epoxy on the blade tip similar to the commercial paddle makers like Bending Branches, etc. Any suggestions of the product I should use? Is it the same epoxy that you use to fiberglass a boat, or something else? Many Thanks.
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01/01/2023 07:41AM  
I do not know specifically what sort of plastic they put on the tip of their paddles. However, having made plenty myself, don’t use liquid epoxy to form the end of the blade, use a solid piece of plastic of your choice. I do not have a recommendation to offer as I have not made enough paddles with resin blade ends to offer a good solution.

When I make paddles, I insert a thin spline of wood perpendicular to the wood blade at the end to prevent splitting of the blade. The spline is made from ash and about 1/8” to 3/16” thick. A cut is made across the bottom of the blade about 1” deep into the blade and the ash spline is inserted into the channel you cut and epoxyied into place then sanded and blended into the blade end.

If this is your first go around with paddles, consider skipping the plastic end on the paddle since paddle making is actually a rather tricky craft to master. Your first paddles will surely be challenging.

member (48)member
01/01/2023 10:09AM  
I use West System g-flex epoxy for all my edge guards on the paddles I build. I form a mold with aluminum foil and wax paper around the bottom of the paddle and pour the epoxy into the mold. I recommend you do this prior to adding fiberglass if you are going to do that as you will have to do some clean up after the epoxy has hardened.
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01/01/2023 05:15PM  
My preferred method now is to use round polyester cord for protecting the tip of a canoe paddle. Prior to final sanding and finishing I use a round file roughly the same diameter of the cord and make a shallow groove in the paddle tip. I stretch the cord and hold it down with a couple pins, then glue it down with unthickened epoxy. Once the cord and the end grain of the wood are saturated, I use thickened epoxy to fill in everything. The paddle can now be final sanded and fiberglassed, or not, to finish.

I have used epoxy as a wear tip before, but it adds little in terms of strength having broken a few paddles built this way. These paddles weren't glassed. The cord gives a substrate that gives the paddle tip a little more resilience to impact in addition to wear resistance. You can buy cord in almost any color, but I prefer a brown that is closer to wood color. Black looks nice also.

01/03/2023 07:37AM  
Thanks everyone for your help. It is much appreciated. Thanks for the picture of your beautiful paddle Stichy64.
I built a couple canoes but it has been many years. However, I am a carpenter and will be working with some avid woodworkers on the paddles so I am less worried about building and shaping the paddles than using the correct products. We will be making about 10 paddles.
I plan to fiberglass the blades with 4oz. fiberglass and west systems 105 resin and 207 hardener. Is that what you would use?
Also, I am in St. Paul and do you have a local shop that you would purchase the glass and epoxy at? Or is everyone ordering it on line now days?
I briefly checked out the West Systems offerings on line and it looks like I would have to buy much larger containers than I would need. (126oz.) Do they offer the epoxy in smaller quantities that I have not found yet, do I just have lots of left over or should I look at a different epoxy?
Many Thanks!
member (48)member
01/03/2023 10:01AM  
Northwest canoe is a good source for fiberglass. They are located in Clearwater, MN. They are online and do ship. I have actually been ordering epoxy on Amazon. Amazon seems to have the best price on the west system products. 105 and 207 would work for your paddles and a bonus is it can be used for repairs and refinishing on your canoe. I use 105 and 206 on my paddles only difference really is working time. Good luck with your paddle making and hope you share some pictures. Feel free to reach out with any questions.
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01/03/2023 12:19PM  
4 oz. glass is real heavy for a paddle. Stitch looks like he knows more about paddles that I do so he can chime in. I use 1.5 oz glass. You don’t need much. Most paddles don’t use any. West System sells ‘B’ size containers. Look for 105B and 207B size containers. You have to squeegee off the the excess on the first layer. And don’t push the epoxy into the glass with repeated strokes. Brush it on with one or two strokes and then let it just sit there for a few minutes. The squeegee will make it look right getting runs and bubbles out.

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