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Thread: Hollow Greenland paddle

  1. #1
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    Default Hollow Greenland paddle

    My spruce stock weighs about 50% more than what the specs suggest it should. If indeed it is spruce.

    The various recipes for calculating paddle length all point to 8ft. A solid paddle would tip the scale at over 3lb.

    I hope to shave off at least 1lb by building a hollow box structure. The last 8" at the tips will be solid. This leaves the option open for trimming the length if needed.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    My greenland paddle is solid made from spruce. Never weighed it, my elbows would give up before my shoulders even if it was half the weight. Its snowing outside, but i can weigh it and measure it later.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Flobart View Post
    My greenland paddle is solid made from spruce. Never weighed it, my elbows would give up before my shoulders even if it was half the weight. Its snowing outside, but i can weigh it and measure it later.
    Thanks. It should be interesting to compare weights when all is done.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    I'm interested to see how it works out.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Is the spruce moisture content high? 50% seems beyond typical range.
    Interested to see how you make the hollow paddle.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    The inspiration for the paddle came from a friend who recently carved one from solid Kiaat (Muninga).
    His paddle is wonderfully light, partly because it is very short but his Kiaat stock is also a good deal lighter than typical. Even lighter than my spruce!

    He donated a plank for my paddle which will provide nice colour contrast to the spruce faces.

    Some assembly required...

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    I made a paddle (solid!) which is 3.4lb - it's too much! Works well, I've paddled 16 miles (flat water) once, but anything you can do to get the weight down is going to be worth it. Have shamefully got a carbon one at 1.3lb now..

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    I just carve mine from solid cedar (usually a carefully selected 2x6). I don't remember what they weigh, but in use they actually feel lighter than my $300 Werner carbon paddle. They may or may not be heavier, but if you have thinned the blades out sufficiently, then the Greenland's weight feels like it is in the shaft (which doesn't move all that much with a proper stroke) and the swing weight is low. By comparison, even the carbon paddle feels like a stick with a weight on each end that you have to swing around. It almost never gets used any more, whether in single sea kayaks or our 21' double because the Greenlands are more comfortable. My suggestion would be to keep the shafts plenty strong and nicely oval in the grip area and concentrate on making the blades as light as possible.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Lighter blades will have a lower moment of inertia, making them easier to turn (on either axis.)
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

    Grieving love unsaid. | Tomorrow will fail someday. | Tell them today, OK?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    I just carve mine from solid cedar (usually a carefully selected 2x6). I don't remember what they weigh, but in use they actually feel lighter than my $300 Werner carbon paddle. They may or may not be heavier, but if you have thinned the blades out sufficiently, then the Greenland's weight feels like it is in the shaft (which doesn't move all that much with a proper stroke) and the swing weight is low. By comparison, even the carbon paddle feels like a stick with a weight on each end that you have to swing around. It almost never gets used any more, whether in single sea kayaks or our 21' double because the Greenlands are more comfortable. My suggestion would be to keep the shafts plenty strong and nicely oval in the grip area and concentrate on making the blades as light as possible.
    I got a carbon greenland paddle. I have no doubt that a competently made wooden one with the correct wood would be better in many respects though. I'll try again some day!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    I've made a half-dozen paddles of western red cedar, white pine and Alaskan yellow cedar. They are all less than 2 pounds, the yellow cedar just barely so, it being the denser of the three woods. If your stock really is spruce, a properly shaped blade wouldn't hit 3 pounds. How did you calculate the weight?

    The longest one is an Aleutian pattern, western red 8' long. Still under 2 pounds.

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    -Dave

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Todd I know exactly what you mean with low swing weight. It is something every flyfisherman appreciates in a rod!

    Dave I am glad to see your yellow ceder turned out light. The average density of my spruce and kiaat is roughly the same as yellow cedar, so building hollow would make up for the extra weight of the longer blades.

    I estimated the weight from a cad model that I based on the building guide by Chuck Holst. The solid model had a volume of 2.7l, so WRC with an SG of 0.37 would yield a solid paddle of 2.2lb. My spruce has an SG of 0.55, hence the estimate of 3.3lb if solid.
    The model still has rather thick tips. With the spruce being so heavy, I assume it would also be proportionately stronger and allow the tips to be thinned out quite a bit.

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  13. #13
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Sorry for the late response, somewhat lazy with so much snow about. My paddle is 6ft 11in long and weighs 2.78lbs. The shaft (to suit my grip) is 1 1/2in thick and 20in long before it flows into the blades which are 31in. Maximum blade tip is 3 3/4in wide.

    My elbows give up before anything else, so maybe a paddle of this weight would be more noticable to someone who can paddle 10 miles non-stop, but i find at this weight im just waving my arms around without any effort, its the draw stroke that i notice; it might be possible to thin the blades some more, but i use it mostly just to be "out there", rather than any destination.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    My greenland paddle came in at 2 lb, it is 6'6". Solid spruce.

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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    This is not a Greenland paddle, but its construction might be of some interest. The shaft is hollow (birds-mouth construction), from Spanish cedar. The blades are built from a lamination of two 1/16" veneers of red cedar (I'm guessing, it's ten years since I built them) over a curved form and backed by a layer of fiberglass. The overall thickness of the blades is 5/32". The paddle is 8' 6" long and weighs 28 lbs (CORRECTION: 28 oz). It is clearly quite light, but what is really nice about it is that the feather-light blades produce a swing weight that is almost nothing.

    I'm not a serious kayaker, my mode of transport is a double paddle canoe, 13' Sassafras, but for my needs this paddle is perfect and has lasted well, with an occasional touch up, these ten years.

    Andrew

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    Last edited by akitchen; 01-06-2021 at 04:01 PM.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by akitchen View Post
    This is not a Greenland paddle, but its construction might be of some interest. The shaft is hollow (birds-mouth construction), from Spanish cedar. The blades are built from a lamination of two 1/16" veneers of red cedar (I'm guessing, it's ten years since I built them) over a curved form and backed by a layer of fiberglass. The overall thickness of the blades is 5/32". The paddle is 8' 6" long and weighs 28 lbs. It is clearly quite light, but what is really nice about it is that the feather-light blades produce a swing weight that is almost nothing.

    I'm not a serious kayaker, my mode of transport is a double paddle canoe, 13' Sassafras, but for my needs this paddle is perfect and has lasted well, with an occasional touch up, these ten years.

    Andrew

    IMG_1992.jpg
    typo?????????????

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by ulav8r View Post
    typo?????????????
    Oops! 28 oz! I will correct.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Gee, it looks like karla14 inserted a casino ad into a copy (post #14) of my post (#8) from above as if it is part of the text. That's a form of spamming that I haven't seen before. I think it's time to push the button on that one.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Todd Bradshaw View Post
    Gee, it looks like karla14 inserted a casino ad into a copy (post #14) of my post (#8) from above as if it is part of the text. That's a form of spamming that I haven't seen before. I think it's time to push the button on that one.
    Not something I’ve seen before either... a worrisome sign of the degree to which spammers will corrupt legitimate on-line content.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by akitchen View Post
    This is not a Greenland paddle, but its construction might be of some interest. The shaft is hollow (birds-mouth construction), from Spanish cedar. The blades are built from a lamination of two 1/16" veneers of red cedar (I'm guessing, it's ten years since I built them) over a curved form and backed by a layer of fiberglass. The overall thickness of the blades is 5/32". The paddle is 8' 6" long and weighs 28 lbs (CORRECTION: 28 oz). It is clearly quite light, but what is really nice about it is that the feather-light blades produce a swing weight that is almost nothing.

    I'm not a serious kayaker, my mode of transport is a double paddle canoe, 13' Sassafras, but for my needs this paddle is perfect and has lasted well, with an occasional touch up, these ten years.

    Andrew

    IMG_1992.jpg
    8+’ long & just 1-2/3#’s weight? Outstanding job!

    So your fiberglass-backed WRC veneer blades’re a ‘monocoque’ construction done on a curved form then both halves were joined together before the birdsmouth handle was added in between? Labor of love that, an excellent undertaking!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by whiskeyfox View Post
    My spruce stock weighs about 50% more than what the specs suggest it should. If indeed it is spruce.

    The various recipes for calculating paddle length all point to 8ft. A solid paddle would tip the scale at over 3lb.

    I hope to shave off at least 1lb by building a hollow box structure. The last 8" at the tips will be solid. This leaves the option open for trimming the length if needed.
    Where the shape has form stability, such as a round shaft, a hollow structure can be self-supporting. But large thin flat sections, backed by hollow, might not be stiff enough to resist fatiguing over time. Skinny internal ribs may be difficult. Then there are water intrusion issues. Of course, you could fill the hollows with structural foam, and then to seal out water, 'glass cloth and resin over the outside...
    When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for you to leave.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob (oh, THAT Bob) View Post
    Where the shape has form stability, such as a round shaft, a hollow structure can be self-supporting. But large thin flat sections, backed by hollow, might not be stiff enough to resist fatiguing over time. Skinny internal ribs may be difficult. Then there are water intrusion issues. Of course, you could fill the hollows with structural foam, and then to seal out water, 'glass cloth and resin over the outside...
    A friend had a fancy fiberglass paddle that got a small hole in it. It was translucent and you could see the water sloshing around inside the blades, but the water did not want to drain out.
    -Dave

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Geez. I guess I’ll have to go weigh and measure mine, now.

    ETA: 8’ long, and 2lb 4oz. Sequoia heart wood. The shaft is 19” and 1-1/2” x 1” oval. The blades are 1/4” thick at the edges/tips, and unbound/untipped; just redwood all the way down.

    On my other paddle, made from a nice chunk of pine, I epoxied some polyester cord around the ends of the blade, to reinforce them from possible splits; lighter and much quicker than a hardwood or bone cap type reinforcement.
    Last edited by amish rob; 01-07-2021 at 11:09 AM.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    A friend had a fancy fiberglass paddle that got a small hole in it. It was translucent and you could see the water sloshing around inside the blades, but the water did not want to drain out.
    Needed a second small hole on the other end, to let air in?
    Await dreams, loves, life; | There is always tomorrow. | Until there is not.

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  25. #25
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Quote Originally Posted by htom View Post
    Needed a second small hole on the other end, to let air in?
    Possibly. Or maybe it was a small crack that only let water in when the blade flexed. Everyone was laughing except the owner.
    -Dave

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Piece-wise progress. The Kiaat frame got its two spruce faces to form the sealed box structure.

    One blade has its edge strips glued and clamped. These strips cover the glue lines between the internal kiaat frame and the spruce, so I hope it provides enough redundancy to prevent leaks. The blade tips will eventually also get a wrap-around piece of hardwood.

    I will just have to seal the loom as best as possible.
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Nip and tuck lines drawn.

    Time to go under the knife!

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  28. #28
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    The thinning process is kind of cool. As you do so and mimic paddling motions you can actually feel the improvements in balance and swing weight as you go. Do keep in mind that a proper stroke with a Greenland paddle is generally closer in to your torso than that made with a euro-paddle. There is a lot less arm movement, more torso rotation, and most of it can be done with your elbows close-in and bent about 90 degrees. Another neat one to build some time is a Greenland storm paddle. It's the same basic deal, but the loom between the blades is only a few inches long. In use you paddle in the extended position, gripping the loom with your lower hand, the upper blade with your upper hand and you shift the whole paddle side to side as you paddle. It basically eliminates the windage on the up-side blade. It can also make a pretty good spare paddle as it is shorter and may be easier to stow on deck.

    I have usually oil-finished mine with Watco or Deks Olje #1 for a nice natural look. However if the shafts are softwood the grain continues to raise every time they get wet for an awfully long time. You sand it back down, oil it again and think you are OK, but may not be. After doing this half a dozen times, I usually get fed up with it and just varnish them, as paddling using a shaft with the grain raised is really uncomfortable. The neatest thing about using a Greenland paddle is being able to use the entire length of it, as needed, as a gripping surface - from normal paddling position, all the way to having it fully extended with your upper hand gripping the end of the high-side blade. A nice smooth surface feels a lot better for this.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Shaped and sealed.
    It shed a lot of weight in the process, especially after trimming the blade width down to 78mm (3 1/8").
    The spruce faces gave nasty tear-out near the small knots, even when using a low-angle block plane.
    The main box structure is glued with TBIII. A poor fit on the edge strips made me revert to epoxy. It is sealed with one coat of epoxy - enough for initial trials. It leaves a back-door open just in case I need any glass reinforcing later.

    I nicked 1" from each blade tip.
    Weight is 1kg (35oz).

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  30. #30
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    First sea trials were on a glassy bay. 5nm on a heavy, beamy SOT fishing ski.

    It paddled better than I thought it would. I tried various grips, blade angles and stroke techniques and settled on an outside-in slice stroke with the blade leaning forward.
    I swopped it for the euro-blade for a short while, the round shaft felt unusually thin after getting used to gripping those full blade shoulders!

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  31. #31
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Today I tried it out on the estuary, using an 18ft x 22" plywood kayak. The cockpit sides are a bit high and I busted a few knuckles initially.

    The narrow beam and lower seating offered even more stroke options than the SOT. I don't know what the ideal technique is (feel free to describe your preferred technique) but I am sure I covered it among all the other options!
    Most performed roughly the same on moderate effort. I found myself again settling on the outside-in stroke, blade leaning forward. This automatically draws the blade down and towards the boat as I simply let gravity pull the paddle down.
    Once down, I let the blade's buoyancy push it back up and outwards, no lifting required. I also discovered that by keeping the blade canted forward during the rise, it continues to produce thrust! Talk about a free lunch!

    I averaged around 4kts with very little effort. Trying to go much faster felt awkward and might require some modification to the technique (or trimming down the cockpit sides!)

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  32. #32
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    Very nice! I'm glad it worked out.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Hollow Greenland paddle

    You do need good knuckle clearance for the best stroke. Think about driving the upper hand down and across the deck to put power into that angled blade as it lifts through the water. It can work like a propeller blade, which I think you've already discovered. The lower hand is just a pivot point, you don't draw the blade back by bending the elbow.
    -Dave

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