Making a Bent-Shaft Canoe Paddle

The thought of making a canoe recently became a reality. I purchased Graham Warren and David Gidmark’s book, “Canoe Paddles: a complete guide to making your own” and decided to make a bent shaft paddle for an upcoming Boundary Waters canoe trip.

The authors give good instructions on paddle making and with the assurance that “Making a bent-shaft paddle is really no more difficult than making a conventional laminated paddle. In fact, the greatest problem is deciding what angle to build into the shaft.” I was up for the challenge and made the “Sugar Islet”.

The instructions and photographs are of my third bent shaft paddle. The authors warn that paddle making is contagious, and I agree! I have now made over twenty paddles. You can see some of them in the Paddle Gallery link from my home.

After using the paddles on a trip, I added an epoxy tip to the blade and fiberglassed the blade to increase paddle durability. Instructions on how I do this have been added to this site.