Two Part Greenland Paddles – Debut

two piece on baidarka

Two friends asked me to make a two part paddle with a carbon fibre ferrule. One of them refused to take no for an answer. He showed me where to order the ferrules and told me to stop making excuses. I really had to think about this one for awhile. I like oval looms and insist on making a strong paddle that won’t break way out in the wilds where you really depend on your paddle. I looked at the large ferrules and the regular size ferrules and really expensive oval ferrules from France. I wasn’t comfortable with the transition from an oval loom to a circular loom. I’d heard about two piece paddles breaking. I almost decided to forego the challenge.

Then I had a good look at my favourite storm paddle. It had a round loom, no shoulders and a very strong yellow cedar loom. I studied jigs for making a perfectly round loom to fit inside the ferrule. I thrashed and turned and lost a lot of sleep. I gradually became comfortable with the idea of a shoulderless two piece paddle with a 15 mm wide yellow cedar centre section. Yellow cedar is very strong and rubbery compared to red cedar. I have seen it bend 30 degrees without breaking. It is also much less stable. A 30 mm thick loom section cut from red cedar will stay perfectly straight but the same size loom section cut from yellow cedar may imitate a dog’s hind leg. It needs to be laminated to remain straight. To make this paddle work it needs to be laminated from 13 pieces of wood and have a strong wood in the centre. Fortunately I found a retired yacht builder to who sold me the last of his 10 foot pieces of 30 year old air dried clear yellow cedar.

A full length paddle does not stow well on the deck of a kayak and not everyone warms up to the shorter storm paddles. This paddle is a good option for kayakers who insist on stowing a full length paddle on the deck or need a two part paddle for flying to a kayaking destination.

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