How To Make Hand Paddles

Posted on March 24th, 2008 by howtomakestuff

Hand paddles are long rods used to maneuver boats through waves. These rods are shaped like ladles so they can easily work around the weight of water and the force of waves. The blades of the hand paddles are usually made of wood or graphite. Hand paddles are strong and sturdy and do not break when faced with very strong waves. The best paddles are usually made of bamboo, high quality plywood, treated plastic or graphite.

If you plan to make your own hand paddles, make sure that you know how to work with wood. Making hand paddles will require you to cut, shape and join wooden layers. Once you are able to make a couple of paddles, you will find it quite easy to produce more and the best part is you can sell them to other outdoor adventure fanatics.

Wooden Hand Paddles

Wooden hand paddles are the most commonly used hand paddles. They are cheap and sturdy. Oftentimes, they come along with boats, but those of the best quality are sold separately and are covered with fiberglass coating for enhanced durability.

Materials Used:

  • high-quality plywood
  • handsaw
  • chisel
  • sandpaper
  • fiberglass coating
  • pencil/marker

To create your hand paddles, you must first outline the shape of your hand paddles on a board of plywood. Draw the appearance of the finished product on the plywood then cut it out using your handsaw. Chip out the excess pieces of wood using a chisel to precisely form the paddle’s blades. Then, use sandpaper to smoothen the surface of your paddle. You can now repeat this process until you have enough wooden layers to form your hand paddle.

After creating enough wooden layers, you can join them together with the use of wood glue. Cover the hand paddle with a thin strip of fiberglass coating then glue it to the paddle’s surface. When the glue dries, you will have new wooden hand paddles ready to help you barge through the toughest of rivers.

Graphite Hand Paddles

Graphite stands as the glossy and more durable alternative to wood hand paddles. Graphite paddles have better aerodynamics that lessens the paddles’ friction with water. It gives a stronger forward push to its users, which is why graphite hand paddles are often used in kayak competitions. If you see the activity of kayaking more as a sport than a recreation, you should definitely go for a pair of graphite hand paddles.

Materials Used:

  • graphite sheets
  • plastic molds (blade, bar)
  • graphite boiler
  • cleaning solution

The act of creating graphite paddles itself is easy. The real challenge here is to find the best tools and equipment to get the job done. You have to visit reputable boat shops to get the best plastic molds. Also, you can check online for top class graphite boilers.

Get several graphite sheets and place them inside the boiler. Set the temperature to about a thousand degrees Celsius to ensure that the graphite melts thoroughly. Once the graphite has liquefied, transfer it to the bar and blade molds. Check the consistency of the molten graphite in the molds to ensure it will generate the optimum density of your paddle. Once the molten graphite dries, out comes a graphite hand paddle built for the toughest rafting competitions.

Makeshift hand paddles are your best river rafting buddies. You get state of the art equipment without the hassle of glaring price tags.

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