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Thread: Best Glue for canoe paddles?

  1. #1

    Best Glue for canoe paddles?

    I am making my first canoe paddles, a pair of bent shaft paddles. The shaft is comprised of (9) 1/8" strips of walnut & cyprus. I am planning on using gorilla glue. I might fiberglass these, or maybe just eurathane.

    Any problem with using this glue for this?

  2. #2
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    I'd use epoxy. Either West System or System Three epoxy. If you decide to fiberglass, you will have the correct epoxy for that proceedure.

  3. #3
    You're going overkill from a waterproofing perspective. A paddle is going to be covered in varnish, so there should be no water hitting the glue anyways.

    Years ago I made a bent-shaft paddle using just regular yellow glue. I used it for years and it was fine. Eventually I broke it (not on a glue line) while fooling around. Mine wasn't a bent lamination though, so that would be the only reason why you might want to use something with a more rigid glue line.

    Lastly, you might consider only fiberglassing the last couple inches of the tip for protection. That'll keep the weight down a bit.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Conrad Fiore View Post
    I'd use epoxy. Either West System or System Three epoxy. If you decide to fiberglass, you will have the correct epoxy for that proceedure.
    I agree, epoxy would probably be better, but do you see any downfalls with using the poly glue. I ask, because that's what I have in stock right now.

    Thanks.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Friesen View Post
    You're going overkill from a waterproofing perspective. A paddle is going to be covered in varnish, so there should be no water hitting the glue anyways.

    Years ago I made a bent-shaft paddle using just regular yellow glue. I used it for years and it was fine. Eventually I broke it (not on a glue line) while fooling around. Mine wasn't a bent lamination though, so that would be the only reason why you might want to use something with a more rigid glue line.

    Lastly, you might consider only fiberglassing the last couple inches of the tip for protection. That'll keep the weight down a bit.
    I was actually thinking about only glassing the paddle portion, after adding an epoxy tip.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Brown View Post
    I agree, epoxy would probably be better, but do you see any downfalls with using the poly glue. I ask, because that's what I have in stock right now.

    Thanks.

    There was a test in last months Wood magazine on outdoor glues. The only one that failed to any significant degree was the poly glue. Pretty much every joint failed. If you don't want to use epoxy pick up some Titebond 3 from HD. I have had great success with it on outdoor benches and bird houses.

  7. #7
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    I would either use Titebond II or III if the blade is going to be fiberglassed and epoxy (West System) if the paddle is just going to be varnished (or similar finish). I've only used Gorilla Glue a couple of times and don't have enough experience with it to make a valued judgement call, but my gut tells me to stay away from it with this project.

    John
    http://denmankayaks.wordpress.com/

  8. #8
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    I just did a bent lamination for a custom tiller handle for our sailboat. I used west system with the hardner designed for use with wood. After I was done laminating I coated it with epoxy and then 4 coats of spar varnish.

    I hope that helps.

    Quinn

  9. #9
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    Allen, Gorilla Glue will certainly work but every woodworker should have a working knowledge of marine epoxy (emphasis on marine). This is a good project on which to get familiar with marine epoxy...West System products can be purchased in small quantity and I'm sure the other reputable brands can be also.

    Old, fat guy on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" October '09

  10. #10
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    Allen,
    I've built several bent shaft paddles with laminations as you are planning. I've used Gorilla glue and it has worked well every time.

    I usually coat the blade with epoxy and thin fiberglass, followed by some coats of spar varnish.

    One of the things I like about the GG, is that it comes off easily with a drawknife or spokeshave, and doesn't seem to take too high a toll on the blade.

    Ken

  11. #11
    Ken, by "thin fiberglass", do you mean about 3oz? Also, I have a couple of questions about the glass.

    Is the fiberglass more fore strength, or water protection?

    Can I put a couple of coats of spar varnish on now, then fiberglass over it later?

    If you have fiber glassed it, why do you need spar varnish over the fiberglass?

    Thanks for the info!

  12. #12
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    Allen, if I may answer your questions to Ken.
    The application of fiberglass should be for abrasion resistance only...3 oz or 6 oz will work...and no need to cover more than the blade edge. Remember that fiberglass and epoxy will add considerable weight to each paddle. A good quality marine epoxy will provide abrasion resistance without the fiberglass. The application of epoxy to coat wood or to "wet out" fiberglass is done over bare wood; do not apply varnish first. Varnish over the epoxy to protect the epoxy from UV as the epoxy will degrade with exposure to sunlight.
    Last edited by Nate Carey; 05-08-2009 at 11:05 AM.

    Old, fat guy on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" October '09

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allen Brown View Post
    Ken, by "thin fiberglass", do you mean about 3oz? Also, I have a couple of questions about the glass.

    Is the fiberglass more fore strength, or water protection?

    Can I put a couple of coats of spar varnish on now, then fiberglass over it later?

    If you have fiber glassed it, why do you need spar varnish over the fiberglass?

    Thanks for the info!
    Allen, fiberglass is for abrasion resistance. I don't remember what weight I use, but it is extremely light, I think in the range of 1 oz. A very fine weave, once applied, it is virtually invisible. In my opinion, it does not add significantly to the weight of the paddle, depending on your technique. My son's paddle weighs in at less than a pound.

    IIRC, the varnish over epoxy is for UV protection as epoxy alone may degrade in sunlight. And Nate is correct that you want to apply glass and epoxy on bare wood.
    Last edited by Ken Werner; 05-08-2009 at 11:56 AM.

  14. #14
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    Allen, after you've put all this advice to good use making a few hundred paddles, my friends at Mitchell Paddles will probably be sending you a recruiting letter.

    www.mitchellpaddles.com
    Last edited by Nate Carey; 05-08-2009 at 5:16 PM.

    Old, fat guy on the set of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" October '09

  15. #15
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    some paddles

    The two on the left are ones I've made. Butternut and bass on the left, redwood and bass on the right, they share the same bent angle of 14 degrees. I turned the left one to show the angle. The two on the right are Bob Zaverals, made of carbon fiber.

    I've shown the redwood on a scale. Instead of a fiberglass tip, I've epoxied a piece of kevlar roving across the end. The blade is covered on both sides with a thin layer of fiberglass and epoxy, under the spar varnish. This paddle has seen a few years of use, on canoe trips in the Adirondacks.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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