20" X 8" blades to paddle kneeling.
Canoe racer and designer Howie Labrant devised a way that people could make fairly light paddles with a modest 5 degree bent shaft. I made some, and found that 5 degrees is quite nice for cruising midwestern flatwater. While it is less than would be best for paddling in sitting position, it is just about right for paddling kneeling.
The paddles use douglas fir closet pole or "2 X 2" for shafts, and quality mahogany marine plywood for blades. The last ~20" of the shaft wood is scarfed in a simple jig, using a jigsaw. Then the face of the scarf is epoxied to the plywood blade with epoxy. I prefer to use 2 X 2 because it gives a better junction to the blade, but one must then round the shaft with spokeshaves or small planes.
This could make a good project for scout groups. I think these paddles are as good for covering flatwater as anything one can buy for less than $100.
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