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New grips for wood paddles?

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He . . . . laughed when I mentioned throwing in the “vintage” 270cm (!) Klepper paddle, saying he had the same-useless several. Can’t give them away. (I might cut the ferrules off one, cut the shafts down a touch and add single blade grips

I have two of those unvaluable Klepper 270 wood doubles. The shafts are round, not indexed, a hair over 1 ¼” diameter and the (lack of) balance-in-hand is weird. Both have carbon fiber tow & epoxy edging around the blades for wear prevention.

P4290006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

One still has the original square tips with metal bang tips. 62 freaking ounces.

On the other one I removed the metal bang tips and reshaped the blades tips. Of course that’s the one with the PITA tight ferrule connection that takes two people twisting and pulling to get apart.

P4290007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I’m never going to use either of them in their current guise (might try to foist off the one with working ferrules again on the next boat buyer). So I cut the PITA ferrules off the one with the reshaped blades, and now hhave a grip-less 51 incher that weighs 24oz, and a grip-less 48 inches that weighs 23oz.

P4300009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I may cut the two halves down shorter still, so they are 46 or 47 inch from grip to tip; shorter single blades work better in a decked canoe. (Well, IMHO, “better”, in descending order, a long carbon double blade, or a filled downwind sail combined with a single blade or bent shaft).

That was my usual long way of asking the original question. I want to add grips to those reshaped, shortened Klepper halves. With the cupped blades preferably something directional, a modified pear grip or the like.

Not DIY carved. The only thing I have is a 2 ¼” thick slab of 18” x 6” red oak, a already a kiln dried end scrap slab board from the mill when I scavenged it 10 years ago (thanks Nightswimmer). Tt has rested unused in the shop ever since, and is enough to cut and carve and file and sand a half dozen wood grips.

P4300011 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That sounds like a tremendous amount of effort to shape grips two junk paddles, so I’m looking for a source to buy new ready-made grips. I don’t care if they are pear shaped, symmetrical or even tee grips, nor if they are plastic or aluminum (don’t think I’m paying for carbon fiber for those POS’s).

But, for my simplistic grip replacement they need to be hollow shaft, so I can shave down the top of the Klepper paddle blades to fit inside. Close to 1 ¼” inch outer diameter, but I could taper the top of the stuffed inside shaft a bit of need be.

Not these, too slender a “neck”, not hollow enough,

P4300018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kinda not these. If I’m going aluminum tee grip I’d rather have the wider female ends of those aluminum Mohawk tee grips. I don’t believe Mohawk’s plastic bent shaft Pear Grip is hollow shafted, but $2.75 for six or more the tee grips would be a rudimentary solution,

P4300021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Anyone have source ideas for a ready-made hollow core pear grip?
 
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Anyone have source ideas for a ready-made hollow core pear grip?

I have now searched far and wide, and I think that is a nope. Every non-tee canoe paddle grip I have found has a solid or too-nearly solid “neck” to install on a wood shaft.

I had hopes for Indian River (Mohawk) Paddles bent shaft pear grip, but Indian River responded to an e-mail - it’s solid. Too bad, that’s a comfortable, power-face directional asymmetrical pear grip. And at $35 for an indestructible bent shaft those clunkers have their place, at least in deciding is a bend shaft works for you, and finding the length you prefer.

https://www.mohawkpaddles.com/produc...-canoe-paddle/

We have one. It’s no ZRE; 47” length, 1lb 9oz. But you could dig holes or shovel snow with it, so there’s that.

No freaking way I’m hand carving wood grips for a couple modified/antique Klepper blades, I have a few spare hollow core aluminum Mohawk tee’s. Some hacksaw work, some sanding and epoxy work and I’ll call them good. Eh, maybe not “Good”, but at least more useful than a 270cm Klepper double with a recalcitrant ferrule.

I’ll keep looking for hollow core pear grips; I have a second 270 Klepper, a 210 Kober and, sadly, a couple of (way too long, think nearly 300cm) beautiful DIY’ed solid cherry doubles in the Nashwaak style.

All unloved, and long unused as double blades.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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There are paddle makers who carve wooden grips with a hole in them, into which you insert the top or the shaft. I know because I used to buy Mitchell whitewater paddles that way. The shaft was made long to be cut down to the customer's preferred length, and then you would epoxy the t-type grip onto the shaft. It was usually necessary to rasp or sand the top of the shaft so it would fit in the grip's hole.

Here's a picture of a 40 year old paddle with such a grip I put on myself:

View attachment VA0tDBgiGm6AG-DDaSAzmhqVn9GoXGOImgDaT1xDq-OmGN8gFKhiuJidIyiFcsVcKKzVpPmh1jRHvP799xN-mwR-rJ-6H91qvDQC

You might try contacting Mitchell to see if they still sell wooden t-grips. They weren't very expensive 30-40 years ago.

Alternatively, you could buy a big dowel and drill a big enough hole in it to take the shaft of your Klepper paddles, thus making a crude t-grip. Then you could shape the dowel to be somewhat more ergonomic.
 
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Glenn 5521b

There are paddle makers who carve wooden grips with a hole in them, into which you insert the top or the shaft. I know because I used to buy Mitchell whitewater paddles that way. The shaft was made long to be cut down to the customer's preferred length, and then you would epoxy the t-type grip onto the shaft. It was usually necessary to rasp or sand the top of the shaft so it would fit in the grip's hole.

You might try contacting Mitchell to see if they still sell wooden t-grips. They weren't very expensive 30-40 years ago.

30-40 years ago a gallon of gasoline was pocket change, a pack of smokes was 45 cents and a case of Yuengling Porter in waxed box, returnable bottles was $12.88. Those were the days (Gee our old Lasalle ran great, etc)

I sent a paddle grip query to Mitchell. I have no problem rasping the cut-to-length shaft to fit into a wood handle, although I’d use the 1” belt sander. A wood grip would look much nicer than plastic, even on those junky reworked Kleppers.

Alternatively, you could buy a big dowel and drill a big enough hole in it to take the shaft of your Klepper paddles, thus making a crude t-grip. Then you could shape the dowel to be somewhat more ergonomic.

If I was going with a to-be-shaped hardwood dowel I might as well cut, carve and sand new handles from the 2 ¼” thick slab of oak I already have, and produce my preferred asym directional pear shape grips. Wayyy to much work for those inelegant sticks. Maybe for the solid cherry DIY’ed Nashwaalks; those are some beautiful paddles.

Wait, wait, wait. . . .Glenn once owned a wood rasp? So you do, or did, have some shop tools after all!
 
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My dreams of a no-work, slip-on, hollow tube handle was for naught, so I went with Glenn’s suggestion and e-mailed Mitchell about replacement wood handles. Never received any response.

As an experiment I cut a couple of superfluous Mohawk T-grip adaptors off at the aluminum throat; I really didn’t want plastic grip to aluminum to wood shaft mixed media fugly.

P4300021 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The plastic tee-grip handles, cut above the aluminum tube, have a solid core. Yes I saved the button clips; those things are $2.50 apiece and I’ve used them for adjustable double blade, tarp poles and etc.

https://www.mohawkpaddles.com/produc...p-replacement/

Hell, I saved the cut off aluminum tube. Never know.

I cut the bad ferrules (and some additional shaft length) off the 270cm Klepper double to make a pair of short (45” and 48”) single blade paddles for decked boat use.

P4300008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

A spade bit drilled a 5/8” hole in the center of those Mohawk tee grips, and rounding off a 5/8” diameter insertion “peg” at the tops of the shaft was easy enough.

P5080003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I tried a wood rasp, meh, that was rough, and easily over-aggressive. The 1” belt sander made short and perfectly rounded work of it.

P5080005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The bad ferrule Klepper double long ago had the metal bang tips removed and the square blades reshaped round, with carbon fiber tow and epoxy blade edging already installed.

P4290006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I G/flexed the core drilled tee grips on, and ran a bead of thickened G/flex around the grip to shaft seam to fill any slight void. When that thickened G/flex cured I painted a black band around the transition and called ‘em good.

P5110022 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I learned a few tricks on those two, enough to improve the next handle installs, and liked those first-attempt tee grip installations enough that I ordered a half dozen Indian River/Mohawk pear grip replacements. Had a wonderful conversation with owner Ruell Holeton, talked boats and paddles and such, and the pear grips went out in that day’s mail. Friendly customer service ranks high in my book.

At $2.75 each I don’t have much to lose, and I’d rather have an asymmetrical pear grip for tactile directionality with the antique spoon blades.

I have another un-refinished, still square metal bang tip 270cm Klepper, an untouched 210 one piece Kober, two 300cm (what was I thinking?) DIY’ed solid cherry Nashwaak-style doubles and a couple other double blade oddities

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, I got me a detail oriented shop project to occupy idle hands, and foresee turning a number useless length doubles into short, or not so short, singles.

Eh, as an inveterate double blader, just what I need; more freaking single blades; I envision some shortie give-aways for decked boat friends too frugal to spring for a 45” carbon bent shaft.

Might be handy in tight mangrove tunnels in a sea kayak or Sawyer Loon, or in a Roy Roy with a higher seat. Y’all know who you are.
 
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210cm Kober first. Even the shorty no-ferrule 90 degree offset the Kober, shaft cut in the center with a grip added, would be decked canoe appropriate length with a grip added. And the Kobers have a beautiful wood grain laminate on the blades.

P4300017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Once the fugly old school metal bang tips are removed from those antique doubles, the square tips shaped rounder and carbon fiber tow and G/flex edging installed, they should be some unique sticks. I’ll leave the ’72 World Championships logos intact for historical and curiosity purposes.

Time to cut that vintage ’72 World Championships Kober in half. Well lookee there, the shaft is five pieces of wood, laminated together, arrayed – and | for strength.

After drilling out the rivets the metal bang tips came off easily. The aluminum blade guards were an ounce apiece, maybe closer to two with the flange head rivets. Every little bit helps; without the blade guards each Kober half still weighed 1lb, 9oz.

I don’t like the square blade tips, but a little saw work rounded the ends off, easier once I finally put a new blade in the coping saw. A couple minutes with the 1” belt sander rounded over the flat sawn tips.

P5100010 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I wanted as much of the blade length intact as possible and cut the curve with two rivet holes remaining; a piece of tape on the backside and drip dabs of G/flex does the trick to fill those holes. Gotta love those cheap sleeves of 100 graduated medicine cups for mixing teeny amounts of epoxy.

P5100013 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Having rounded off the once-square ends left raw wood and exposed the blade laminate. I needed to seal the fresh cut areas on those blade tips; a couple coats of varnish (er, spar urethane) would do. A bead of G/flex would be better, but if I am painting on a bead of epoxy I might as well add some. . . . .not cloth. Not glass tape or cord. Something narrow and thin, something that wraps and curves well.

P5100014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Carbon fiber tow. That tow is 3/16” wide, made up of 24,000 individual/unwoven filaments. It lies down well atop a bead of G/flex, with a little babysitting to keep the ends from lifting.

P5110018 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

After a couple hours, once the carbon fiber tow was adhered a bit, I laid down a topcoat bead of G/flex and called the blade tip reinforcement done.

As I hung the Kobers for the carbon tow G/flex to cure USPS showed up with the Indian River pear grips. Friendly customer service and fast shipping, but I only received five of them, not six. Good excuse for another friendly conversation with Ruell.

The Kober gets two of those grips, which when cut at the neck are the exact diameter of the Kober shafts.

Time for a looksee at what other useless double blades we have racked in the gear room.
 
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We have another 270cm Klepper, complete with square tips, aluminum bang edges and a working ferrule. Not yet, but maybe.

Two uber-long solid cherry Nashwaaks. I almost hate to cut one of those up; beautiful sticks with carbon fiber ferrules. They were a lot of work to DIY, enough that I never made another paddle, a from-scratch woodworker I am not.

What else. Aha, a 204cm/80” double. Offset one piece no-ferrule, with heavy duty plastic blades and an aluminum shaft. A blotchy colorful Ainsworth, stamped “Made in Great Britain”. One blade was missing a chunk at the tip when I got it, so I cut out that missing section and matched both blades asymmetrically. Not the greatest blade shape for a single, but we have zero use for an old school 204cm double.

Hacksawed in half, aluminum shaft edges cleaned up with the, you guessed it, 1” belt sander and, dayum. . . .the neck on Indian River pear grips slip inside the tube sung as a bug, with zero sanding or surgery. The pear grip even seamlessly matches the dimensions of the shaft.

P5120003 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That was too easy, meant to be, even if the results are only 43” long. I needed to mix up another small batch of epoxy anyway. Done in minutes.

P5130009 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Each 43” long, 1lb 9oz

I guess I oughta take a look and the pair of cherry Nashwaaks next.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Nothing beats a 43" metal and plastic paddle with a lopsided blade. And it's heavy, to boot. Glad you're keeping active, Mike.

Next year, you should turn those singles back into shorter doubles. Then back to even shorter singles again the following year -- ad libitum, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Eventually and asymptotically the length of the paddles will become a singularity, heretofore believed only to exist at the center of black holes and the Big Bang.

A dimensionless paddle will have zero value, of course, but that's no significant change. The joy is in the journey and not the pecuniary destination.

And it certainly beats having no journeys or destinations.
 
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Short, heavy and irregularly shaped. I have friends like that and they are still semi-useful. Unlike lumpy friends it wouldn’t take much work to re-reshape the blades to symmetrical.

A lot of decked canoe paddlers use 44’ to 46” paddles. Of course they use carbon fiber bent shafts, and I haven’t yet figured out how to make a short carbon bent for $2.75.

The dinky sticks might be most useful in a sea kayak navigating mangrove tunnels, where using half a take-apart kayak paddle still leaves something to be desired. Short enough to stuff under bungees, durable enough to fend off alligators or bull sharks, cheap enough that if it falls off the back deck the only regret is littering.

Next year, you should turn those singles back into shorter doubles. Then back to even shorter singles again the following year -- ad libitum, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. Eventually and asymptotically the length of the paddles will become a singularity, heretofore believed only to exist at the center of black holes and the Big Bang.

Thanks Glenn, you have given me an idea for a unique paddle design.
 
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I guess I oughta take a look and the pair of cherry Nashwaaks next.

The cherry Nashwaaks are not both 290cm. One is 293, the other is a more useful 263. Solid cherry, neither is light, but both have carbon fiber ferrules, and the 263cm is worth saving as a weirdo double blade. The 290, as a double, is pretty useless. Jeeze Louise, a 9 ½ foot long, 3lbs 10oz double blade. Again, what the hell was I thinking?

P5130005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

We all make mistakes, time to move on.

If I left the carbon fiber ferrules intact I might be able to find a handle neck that sleeved inside, but adding a grip on the end of the ferruled halves the paddles would result in 60” and 64” long paddles; neither a length I want or would use.

With the (long) ferrule cut off they would both be 53” long with grips added. Damn shame to waste that carbon fiber ferrule, but I can live with that in hopes of releasing the Hanger Queen 293cm Cherry Nashwaak from paddle rack bondage.

I gotta ponder handles for those paddle halves before I do anything rash. A wooden palm or pear grip with a near matching 1 1/8” diameter neck, pegged and epoxied in place or even a wood tee grip, would look so much nicer than a chunk of black plastic.

Something with attractive grain, lovingly hand carved, detail sanded, stained cherry and oiled. Yeah, probably not happening unless I find an easier way than those excessive labors.

First things first, a bottle of liquid courage Hop Devil and it’s time to get on with it, and cut off those precious ferrules.

P5130008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I don’t like the idea of putting a black plastic grip on those lovely cherry sticks. Anyone have a suggestion for a company or manufacturer selling “replacement” wood paddle handles?
 
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I don’t like the idea of putting a black plastic grip on those lovely cherry sticks. Anyone have a suggestion for a company or manufacturer selling “replacement” wood paddle handles?


Even if you can find one, a solid cherry handle it isn't going to be a perfect match, so I'd approach this like folks who make paddles with strips/scraps. Square off the ends and then build up with epoxy and some hard/soft wood scraps, then shape.
 
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Even if you can find one, a solid cherry handle it isn't going to be a perfect match, so I'd approach this like folks who make paddles with strips/scraps. Square off the ends and then build up with epoxy and some hard/soft wood scraps, then shape.

A manufactured wood paddle grip such as in Glenn’s photo would be easiest. I could reshape it if desired, stain it cherry, and drill it to accept a pegged end as I’m doing with the cut apart wood doubles.

P5080004 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Lacking a manufactured handle I could cut a grip off an old broken wood paddle, refinish it and plug it in. But we have no broken paddles, or even paddles I’m willing to sacrifice just for the handle. I’m not in a hurry to finish the cherry sticks, maybe I’ll get lucky and find a busted paddle in the river.

As a last choice, before I resort to sticking a piece of black plastic on those pretty paddles, I could take a slab of wood, use an intact grip I like as a pattern, carve, rasp and sand a handle and stain it cherry.

Come on river gods, daddy needs to find a busted single blade in a strainer.
 

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I'd call Mitchell rather than email, which lots of small businesses don't respond to. Sawyer and Bending Branches also make attachable T-type grips.
 
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It was past time to cut, drill, peg and epoxy handles for the Kobers. I had three pear grips left, and a variety of tee grips

P5140005 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

I am not a tee grip fan for mildwater paddling, but am reluctant to use two of the three remaining pear grips for the Kobers; if I don’t find a better wood grip solution for the cherry Nashwaaks those black plastic grips will have to do, provided the plastic neck is a good fit for the shaft.

First things first, cut the insert-able handles off some tees and pears, punch a centered aiming hole in the solid plastic throat, drill the grips for a shaft peg, and see how well the remaining handle diameters fit the cut off Kober and Nashwaak shafts.

P5140007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

That exercise was no help; the cut-down pear grips and various tee grips all have a 1 1/8” diameter, matching the shaft ends of both the Kobers and the Nashwaaks. Dang, I was hoping fate would decide which grips went where.

If I don’t find (or make) suitable wood grips for the Nashwaaks I’d rather have pear grips versus tee grips on those, so I guess fate did decide; one Kober gets a pear, one gets a tee, so I’ll have two pears left for future use.

The newly gripped Kober’s still need some touch-up work, but for the cost of three Indian River pear grips, some old shop stock tee grips and a bit of epoxy, under $10 in total, I now have a collection of decked canoe or kayak shorties to pass along to interested friends.

P5150015 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

P5150014 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Two 43” Ainsworths
45” Klepper, 48” Klepper
Two 44” Kobers

I still have five handles left; two pear grips and three tee grips. And a carbon fiber ferrule, which I think I can salvage for some future double blade.

P5150017 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Time to get the letter punch set out and stamp the shortie paddle lengths on the shafts. Except the plastic and aluminum Ainsworth; I don’t think I’ll forget asymptotical 43 inches.

Time to think hard about wood grips for those cherry Nashwaaks.
 
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I'd call Mitchell rather than email, which lots of small businesses don't respond to. Sawyer and Bending Branches also make attachable T-type grips.

OK, I called.

Mitchell. Got a recording saying that there is a wait list for paddles, and to please send an e-mail with any questions. Already did that weeks ago, and never heard back. Strike one.

Bending Branches. To their credit BB answered the phone on the first ring. They sell only one paddle handle, the one for their $215 Sunburst. Beautiful blade, simplistic plain Jane grip; symmetric palm/tee grip in pale wood. $25 each plus $10 shipping and handling. $60 for two paddle grips? Strike two.

https://bendingbranches.com/collecti...ts/sunburst-st

Sawyer. “Leave a message”. Did so, never heard back. Strike three?

With manufacturers sold out and unable to make paddles fast enough I realize this isn’t the ideal time to be asking about buying mere constituent pieces.

. . . . .wooden t-grips. They weren't very expensive 30-40 years ago.

Thinking about BB’s now $25 tee grip, call it 40 years ago, so 1981-ish, a little reverse inflation calculator and presto, $8.50 in 1981 costs you $25 today. Would I have paid $8.50 for one of those T-grips 40 years ago? Probably not.

I’d like to say that the 2” thick slab of kiln tried red oak is looking better for cutting and shaping a DIY, but for my simplistic shop tool efforts that solution seems unlikely.

I returned the two sections of the cut-apart double blade cherry Nashawwks to hanger queen status; I just can’t (yet) bear to put a plastic handle on those.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Times change. Almost always for the worse, in my cynically atavistic opinion.

Peggy Mitchell always used to answer the phone every time and chat and even recognized my voice. This was before even answering machines. I visited them many times and got tours of their shop, and brought paddles back for repair and customization. When David and Peggy retired, their son, Peter, took over and may be alone and less available. Presently, I can't get a house painter or carpenter to answer the phone or emails.

I used to have a Mitchell paddle grip on my desk at work for decades -- just something to fondle while reading footnotes, like those squeeze balls that used to be popular. If I find it, I would be willing to sell it for the original price of about $4, plus $29 shipping . . . if you can get in contact with me. Meanwhile, those asymmetrical and even symmetrical T-grips are available from the U.K., at probably a lower shipping charge than mine.

Actually, I'm not philosophically in sync with this thread. As unmarketable as old double paddles may be, they are still historical icons and once cutting-edge classics. They should be preserved in the timeless shapes of their youths, as Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot should be. Even me too: Let me die but don't saw me in half. (Speaking of which, I highly recommend binge watching Bron/Broen).
 
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Actually, I'm not philosophically in sync with this thread. As unmarketable as old double paddles may be, they are still historical icons and once cutting-edge classics. They should be preserved in the timeless shapes of their youths, as Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot should be.

We have different philosophies when it comes to derelict canoes and unusable paddles. There are already museums for displaying those historical icons and once cutting-edge classics; my boat racks and gear room are not meant to be an exhibit of the old, battered and unusable. 40 years past their prime even Sophia and Brigitte weren’t seeing much action without some significant touch-up work.

My intent wasn’t to make those vintage double blades “marketable”, but simply to make them at least modestly more functional. The Kleppers and Kobers aren’t carbon bent shafts, but are now a usable decked canoe length.

When I sneakboated ducks from an open canoe I grabbed a very short single blade for the last few yards of creeping unobtrusively into range. The shorties may be useful in a stealthy approach guise when hunting, fishing or bird watching as well.

Even the dinky 43” Ainsworth halves will eventually find new homes, either for sea kayak-in-mangrove -tunnel passage experiments, or as kid-sized paddles.

For funsies I grabbed my son’s childhood single blades, ancient refinished/refurbished youth size Featherbrands which, for (loudly) expressed sentimental reasons, perhaps because they did the prepubescent sanding work and hand painted their names on them, I was not permitted to pass along the last time I purged the paddle racks.

The Ainsworth halves are damn close, 1” shorter and 2oz heavier; some bow backwards youngster would probably be delighted to receive an indestructible black/blue grey fade paddle from the old country.

Beyond creating some useable giveaways the task of adding grips to old sticks this was a new, never done that shop experience for me. I learned* a lot even undertaking that seemingly simple task. The first attempt Kleppers came out acceptable if slightly inexact, the plug-and-play Ainsworth too easily and very well, and the Kobers are near impeccable, and actually quite striking with the intact logos.

The last two, the cherry Nashwaak halves, will be left a more standard canoe paddle length and, given what I have learned* so far, should be far more useful than a 300cm double. And, I hope, will be strikingly handsome paddles.

Those can fortunately eager-hands wait in the wings ‘til I find, or break down and make, new grips; I have two 18+ foot sea kayaks arriving in the shop on Monday that need repairs, re-outfitting and repainting first.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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Mike, I fully understand what you are doing and why. That's why I wrote earlier that the joy is in the (DIY project) journey and not in a pecuniary destination. And it's also true that one always leaves McCrea Boatworx & Tavern with generously more than one expected.

N'ertheless, as one currently without many current canoe journeys or destinations, I become wistful as old things decline and disappear, even if reincarnated anew, and sometimes interject threads tangentially by saying so. It is, however, joyful to know that because your . . .

boat racks and gear room are not meant to be an exhibit of the old, battered and unusable

. . . I will not be exhibited in those places when I next travel 30 miles south of the home of the Articles of Confederation, the Peppermint Patty and Animal Crackers.
 
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when I next travel 30 miles south of the home of the Articles of Confederation, the Peppermint Patty and Animal Crackers.

Don’t overlook 30 miles still further south; the Star Spangled Banner, Babe Ruth, Berger Cookies and corrupt Mayors (stealing gift cards meant for the poor may have been a Mayoral low point).

When you next travel to Freeland maybe you’ll find a dinky short paddle hidden in your van after you leave, much like the tradition with DougD of hiding a bag of too short to use rope scraps under his passenger seat.
 
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The first shortie paddle recipient was delighted, for exactly the reasons I had anticipated; without any prompting or pre-knowledge Joel declared one short paddle desireable for single blading the Loon, and for maneuvering through tight mangrove paddles. At his height he preferred the 44” versions, and it didn’t take much urging to convince him to take two, one Klepper, one Kober.

P5240012 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

the joy is in the (DIY project) journey and not in a pecuniary destination.

The DIY journey is the most fun, most challenging and most educational part of any shop effort. I still learn new tricks with every project, and managed to improve my technique with the paddle grips.

As expected the little 1” belt sander was the ideal tool for shaping the shaft-end peg. Even there some lessons were realized; I caliper marked the matching depth of the spade-drilled handle hole on the shaft, for perfect peg length fitment.

The 120 grit belt sander was faster and more aggressive than I wanted for going slowly, a wee bit narrower, test fit, a wee bit narrower, test fit. The 1” sander with 220 was ideal, sometimes slower is better.

After belt sanding the peg “near” perfectly test fitted a few minutes spent hand working a file, assuring that the shaft peg was tight and, especially, right angle |_| square at the base, was worth the extra effort. Since the grips had their own same-diameter plastic neck that seamless joint was important in the next steps.

Seamless or not (the first Klepper attempt was not) I wanted a bead of G/flex as filler for a smooth grip to shaft transition.

When applying that tiny bead of colloidal silica thickened G/flex to the grip/shaft transition it helped to rotate the paddle every few minutes. Even thickened the G/flex wanted to gravity sag, but rotating the held-horizontal shaft distributed the epoxy uniformly around the circumference of the shaft neck/grip, so the transition was seamless.

OK, even occupied a mere 6 feet away in the shop I waited a bit over-long to rotate the shaft a few times, but caught most drip/sags on the bottom side in time to flip the paddle and allow the epoxy to creep back in the other direction. That kind of dedicated babysitting means don’t wander off too far, or get distracted and involved with other things.

That is a tough challenge. Pay attention to the oft overlooked shop sign that reads “PAY ATTENTION!”.

I improved my technique for applying carbon fiber tow and epoxy as blade edging, something I had not done in years. Tougher, less drippy G/flex as the epoxy this time, not thickened, (unthickened105/206 the previous applications); first a bead of G/flex around the blade edge, allowed to set up a little, then a pre-cut length of carbon tow laid on that, with repeated gloved hand smoothing application around and over the blade edges.

Best done with the blade held vertically, and lots of babysitting the tow, keep the gloves on for a while and wrapping the carbon fiber around the blade edge. That un-woven 24,000 strand stuff will wrap even the thinnest blade edge with some gloved attention.

Then, later, a more strategically held horizontal (and occasionally flipped) topcoat bead of G/flex, producing far fewer epoxy drips to sand off the blades once cured than the held vertical top installation.

Hell, I installed all of the grips in flush alignment with the blades, and even managed to get the pear grips all facing in the correct orientation.

I know me, and had a disturbing image of picking up a curved blade pear grip after the epoxy had set, and discovering it was facing in the wrong direction. I checked them repeatedly, even are-you-really sure? while the epoxy was setting up, before I was fully convinced that I hadn’t effed something up. I’m still amazed that I got on all of the grips on just right, even the tees grips are in perfect alignment.

I got better with practice. Klepper grips. Not bad; first I have ever done, and I was learning. Punching an exact center hole for spade bit drilling the core for the shaft peg is critical.

P5230006 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Ainsworth grips. Easy peasy perfect fit slid into the aluminum shaft and epoxied. Didn’t even need an epoxy bead at the transition, completely seamless. I think Glenn gets one of them, maybe for the granddaughter.

P5230007 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

Kober grips. Pretty work, well pegged and well fitted.

P5230008 by Mike McCrea, on Flickr

The Kobers came out the best so far, still historically ’72 World Championship logoed, attractive enough that I laid a couple coats of spar urethane on the blades, 320 sanded in between.

I also learned something non-paddle-grip related. I needed a new can of Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane. Usually cheapest at WalMart; none there to be found.

OK, off to Home Depot. Back and forth where it used to be on the shelves. Maybe I’m just not seeing it, or maybe Minwax changed the design of the can? I asked at the HD paint desk.

The big-box contract for Helmsman Spar Urethane is now with Lowes; the nearest Lowes was an hour in the other direction. Local True Value had it, should have gone there first.

More I’m sure when I decide what to do with grips for the cherry Nashwaaks.
 
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