12 July 2011

New Blog

I joked in my last entry about creating a new blog, just about kayaking. Well, since I'm in the middle of making a paddle for Donna and I wanted to document the process, I figured I'd go ahead and create another one. I'm also planning to build my own kayak, so the blog will also follow that. It probably won't be an ongoing blog, once the kayak is finished I don't plan to post anymore entries, unless Donna says she wants one too, or someone else asks me to build them one. That may change though, we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, if you're interested, have a look at A DIY Kayak.

10 July 2011

A new paddle

This blog seems to always be about kayaking just lately. Perhaps I should start another blog, just on that topic.

But seriously, as I mentioned in my previous post, I'm using a borrowed kayak at the moment, so I can go out for a paddle by myself during the week when Donna's at work. To buy a decent solo kayak I'd be looking at a decent amount of money, or I could build my own for around $300, or even less depending on the materials.

The hard part is getting the right materials. I could go to our local hardware and buy some cheap pine, but getting pieces that aren't full of knots is a problem. There's also the fact that most of it isn't long enough. So until I can find the time to drive out to Ipswich and buy some decent Western Red Cedar from here, I have to make do with working on little projects and relearning all my old woodworking skills from when I was at high school.

Sticking to the kayaking theme, I wanted to make a couple of Greenland paddles. To that end, I managed to find some decent timber from a timber yard nearby.

Two days later, here's the result.

As you can see, it's not like a Euro paddle, what most people would consider a "normal" kayak paddle. It has narrow blades that aren't staggered, and it's all one piece. The main reason paddles have staggered, or feathered blades is to reduce wind resistance on the blade that isn't in the water when you paddle. Because the Greenland paddle's blades are narrower, wind resistance isn't so much of a problem. Because the blade itself is longer than those on a Euro paddle, you still have a decent amount of surface area in the water for paddling. These paddles are really meant for endurance rather than power or speed. After all, once you get a kayak up to cruising speed, you don't really need to paddle all that hard to keep it moving.

The paddle is basically carved out of a solid 4x2 (or really a 95mm x 35mm). As you can see from the next picture, there's a lot of kindling removed from the blank piece of pine.

The original piece of timber I found was twice as wide as I needed, so I got them to rip it down the middle, so I had two pieces. Naturally, when Donna had a feel of the finished product, she was keen to have one of her own.

That's hers on the left, waiting to be carved. Now that I've got the third coat of Linseed oil on mine I'll get started on it.

If they ever break, we'll have no shortage of cricket bats.