I put this video together as a companion to the Chuck Holst's "Making a West Greenland paddle" PDF instructions so you'll need to download that document and read it through. I feel using the video and the PDF instructions you will have no problem creating a beautiful paddle. But when in doubt follow the links to helpful kayaking forums on this page to gain the knowledge of the collective.

To watch the 32 minute (widescreen) video you'll need the Windows Media 9 or 10 player. Mac users  can download Flip4Mac (Windows Media for QuickTime player). For the Chuck Holst PDF file you'll need the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

(Download Tip: right click, then choose "Save Target As")

Carving The Greenland Paddle video (211 MB 720x480)

Carving The Greenland Paddle video (70 MB 360x240)

Chuck Holst PDF file

You can also view the video at Google Video

A few things I'd like to mention :

  • Experiment with tools to find what you like. Some like all hand tools and some nearly all power tools. I enjoy hand tools but this project can wear you out without some power tools. Keep all of your tools sharp and they'll be a joy to use, including sand paper, change it often.
  • Your paddle doesn't have to built of pine, my choice is Western Red Cedar but it's costly and difficult to find in some areas. Pine, Spruce, or Douglas Fir makes a tough and inexpensive paddle which is perfect for your first or even fifth paddle. Try your best to find knot-free (very small knots are okay)  material and it will carve nicely.
  • The paddle shown in the video is a generalized shape of West Greenland paddles. Chuck Holst originally drew on an article written by John Heath in the 1987 Winter issue of Sea Kayaker Magazine. More info On John Heath can be found here: John Heath
  • My own paddles have a more "squarish tip shape" than most commonly found and it's my own personal preference (dinner plate radius with rounded corners). Chuck Holst provides templates for the tips in his PDF file for rounded tips. Most important for a quiet tip is that it be thinned towards the end. Please visit Gail Ferris' page and note the side views: Gail Ferris
  • Epoxy is commonly used to protect the tips (it's a good idea for Cedar). Traditionally the ends and edges were tipped in bone. Adding white pigment to polyurethane or epoxy can give the look of bone tipped edges.
  • Try your paddle before "finishing". Make sure your paddle performs on the water before you put on any protective coatings. This will also "raise the grain". Getting your paddle wet will allow areas that were dinged or smashed during the building process to rebound. A bonus is that much of the pencil marks will also rebound and make sanding them off much easier, so keep this in mind before sanding off too much to get rid of deep pencil marks.

Carve GP Forum

Carvegp.com's blog

Qajaq USA

Kayak Building Bulletin Board


Qajaq USA is a nonprofit membership organization that is officially recognized by Qaannat Kattuffiat (The Greenland Kayaking Association). Qajaq USA is committed to supporting Qaannat Kattuffiat and their efforts to preserve, study and promote the traditions and techniques of Greenland kayaking while seeking to further the appreciation and development of Greenland-style kayaking in the United States.

Qajaq USA provides a wealth of information on Greenland style kayaking. Please give them a visit at: QajaqUSA.org and consider becoming a member.

If you would like to purchase a hand crafted paddle here are a couple of companies that
make beautiful custom fit paddles: Midwest Kayak and Beale Paddles

Copyright Matt Johnson 2005
contact: gp_user@hotmail.com


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