Monday, December 3, 2007

Carving Her Own Paddle

My back has been ever so slowly healing from injury & re-injury to my back & pelvis over the last 2 years. I'm not the most patient monkey and the sitting around the sidelines as everyone else got to play really got to my spirit. Finally, my body is strong enough to return to my traditional qayak training, along with my mountain play. Though, not completely healed, I'm optimistic and looking forward to returning to being able to train as intensely as I did before the injury. I'm now clumsily working away at my qayak rolls and other techniques, however, I'm thrilled that I'm not having to face a week of screeching back and screaming abductors as result of a day on the water.
I've been whittling away a stick to make myself a Inuit qayak storm paddle so I can fully advantage of the winter storm paddling conditions and not be stuck treadmilling on the waters of Piper's Lagoon. A "Me" sized storm paddle will also make it easier on my body to paddle in the bluster and waves as my body finishes healing and to maintains it's healthier state.
My wonderful DH went and bought us his and her's cedar 2x4s to make new paddles with. He paid a stiff $$ for local cedar clear of knots but he insisted, being the cool, romantic water jedi that he is. This will be my second paddle but my first cedar storm paddle. Not only to I get to use local fibre to make my paddle but I also get to make it sans power tools.
Here's my stick. It happens to be the perfect length for a storm paddle for me. Basically it fits nicely in my hands with my arms stretched out to either side.

With a string, pins, pencil and ruler, I map out the shape of my paddle.

Here's the paddle all mapped out. Quite frankly, this whole drawing lines part is the hardest for me. Somehow I always manage to mess it up. This time, all my lines crossed as they should with each other but they crossed about 4 inches short of where they should have crossed, which is supposed to be the middle the paddle. Thank goodness of pencil and bulk packages of erasers and for husbands who will gladly run down out to procure such supplies as I have a meltdown over my wonky, unexplained mess of paddle layout. Double thank goodness for husbands who don't make fun of you for said meltdown or paddle layout mess.

That's me armed with a hand saw cutting kerfs to shape the loom. You see those $50 Canadian Tire boots on my feet. Those are the boots that took me up Liberty Bell in the North Cascades and numerous climbs in Squamish, including the apron on the Stawamus Chief and a couple of seasons of ice climbing & mountaineering. I love those boots just for those awesome memories and experiences as a novice climber and great adventures that my DH took me on. Of course, now those boots would probably not make it up Mt. Benson they're so pooched.

Kerfs are basically notches cut into the wood. In this case they're used to make chiseling out the excess wood easier.

With a chisel and rusty old hammer, I knock off all the excess wood from the loom. See how the kerfs are make this an easy and simply job.

Loom's basic shape is finally taken form.

Here I am working with a block plane to shape the edges of the paddle blades. Instead of having it clamped down onto the workbench, I opted to work the paddle freely in my hands. The yellow foamy protects the end of the paddle and also helps provide some friction as I work the plane. By working it in my hands, I can rotate and whittle away with ease.

Here's my view. All that wood on the side with scribbles over it needs to come off.

It's starting to look like a paddle!

A bit more planing and the beveled shaping of the blades is starting to take form. Mind you there's still lots of planing and sanding down before I can take this baby out for a ride!

Here's the mess I made: bags and bags of shavings. These cedar shavings will find a new home either sewn into little sachets for moth repellent cedar pockets or as tinder for a good friend's wood stove.

In case you wondering, I have managed to squeeze in some knitting in, mostly charity knitting.
Here's my wonderful DH showing off one of my EZ inspired baby jackets.

My weaving and spinning guild is doing a charity knitting project and so I'm knitting up a bunch of EZ based baby things and socks. This one is based on EZ's Practically Seamless Baby Jacket from the Knitter's Almanac. Mine is completely seamless.
I opted to do EZ patterns as a way of commemorating the anniversary of her departure to the Great Big Yarn Stash in the Sky.
BTW, in the background of the above photo, to the right of my handsome husband are a couple of our finished qayak paddles.

Have a great week everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Holy woman! Is there anything you can't do???
Great play-by-play for paddling making. You've definitely got me thinking about making my own.