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.
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
- 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
- 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.
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:
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