A New bent shaft paddle

I really like the looks of the Mitchell Leader Bent Shaft paddle. It has a wood grip and shaft and a carbon fiber blade. So I wondered if I could make something like this TWO YEARS AGO and made the shaft. I built the shaft and wood body of the blade and it sat until April 4 when I decided to work on it.

I constructed the shaft of two pieces of western red cedar around a 3/16″ thick ash strip. At the throat, I cut a the shaft at a 10 degree angle and attached two addition pieces of western red cedar to make the “wings” at the throat – ie the transition of shaft to blade.

shaft and throat

I rounded the shaft and throat area both in front and back (I should have kept the back flat!). I constructed a 3″ wide X 1/4″ thick center board and rounded the edges. I thought this would give needed support to the blade, though I’m not sure it is required. You can see this piece to the left on the photo above.

To make the blade, I drew out the blade shape on a piece of paper and taped it down to a flat surface, then covered this area with con-tact paper. I wetted out 2 sheets of carbon cloth on top of the contact paper, positioned my shaft, center board, filled that joint with epoxy putty, then put down two additional layers of carbon cloth on top and wetted them out.

blade construction with 4 layers of carbon cloth

I put a second coat of epoxy on top and let it dry overnight. The next morning, I lifted the paddle from the table, marked the blade outline, and cut to shape on a bandsaw. Here is where I found that I really needed to keep the back throat flat, so I ended up filling a the two cracks with epoxy/graphite mix. First impressions…it seems heavy – perhaps only one layer of carbon on each side? and no center reinforcement?

blade trimmed to size

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