How to make a Canoe Paddle

How to make a Canoe Paddle

When you’re out by the lake, there’s plenty of lovely things that you could do. You could go for a dip, go fishing, or even go in a boat. One particular boat that you might enjoy is the canoe. The canoe is different to the kayak because the kayak had one double sided paddle, whereas a canoe has two single sided paddles.

How great would it be if you could get into your canoe knowing that you were the one who made the paddle. In this article today, we’ll be talking about how to make your own canoe paddle which you can use to float down the lake or river.

How to make a Canoe Paddle

Cut Long Wood

With the canoe paddle, there are two parts. The rod, and the paddle at the end.

The first step is to cut the rod. When you first cut it, it’s not going to be round. It’s going to be a rectangle. When you cut it, you need to make sure that it’s just the length you want it to be. Because if you get this wrong, it’ll be back to the beginning. It needs to be long enough to propel the boat forward, but also not so long that it’s too hard to control.

Cut Short Wood

The next thing you will want to create is the paddle at the end. This is the large, flat piece that will help you to push your canoe through the water. Getting the size for this is important. Too big and you won’t be able to control it, and you might even risk snapping it off. But too small and it won’t be able to use to push your canoe forwards.

A great idea to making your paddle look great is to use different woods of different colours. Just try to make sure they’re all fairly dense whilst still being lightweight.

Glue Short Wood

The next step it to glue all the bits of wood for the end of the paddle together. You need to make sure that at the end of this step you have two equally sized rectangles of wood. When you glue the wood together, you need to select the right kind of glue. All wood glue is going to be strong, However, you also need to make sure that the glue you’re using is waterproof because you don’t want your paddle falling apart when you get canoeing. And also, when you’re gluing the bits together, try to keep them straight. If you don’t, don’t panic, just cut the ends off.

Glue Short Wood to Long Wood

Once you have let them dry, it’s time to attach the end of the paddle to the rest of it. To do this, it’s probably best to use the same glue that you used to glue the different colours of wood together. This glue is obviously both strong and waterproof. When you stick them on, you will want to stick them at the very top of the rod and it’s particularly important to make sure that they are straight, you can’t have one side higher or lower than the other. If you do, it won’t be very stable at all.

How to make a Canoe Paddle 1

Create Silhouette

At the moment, you’ll probably have something that will work better as a pizza paddle than a canoe paddle. You will need to get it into a more curved shape to give it much better aerodynamic qualities.

The best way to do this is to draw a silhouette. To make sure that the shape of your paddle is the same on both sides, what you will want to do is to fold your silhouette paper in half, draw half it, cut it out, and then unfold. This will make sure the left looks the same as the right.

Once it’s cut, stick it to the wood.


Now that you know what shape you want to cut it into, it’s time to cut it. When you do this, it’s probably best you do it in your workshop using a table saw. If you don’t have a workshop, you could also use a handsaw.

Whatever type of saw you use, you need to always keep safety in mind. Obviously, these saws are sharp and dangerous, for that reason, it’s best if you wear gloves. You should also wear goggles to keep the sawdust out of your eyes.

Cut along the edge of the silhouette.

Sand and Smooth

Once it’s cut, remove the silhouette that you stuck on earlier. The issue now is that the edges of your paddle is rough and will probably give you a splinter if you pick it up. To sort this out, you will need to send it down. It’s almost impossible that you will be able to do this using a sanding machine, so you will instead need to use the good old fashioned sand paper. Just go around the edges and then around the front and back until it’s smooth all over.


The only issue now is that you paddle is not waterproof. If you use it how it is, the water will destroy the wood over time, and make it break. So what you will need to do is over the entire thing in an oil. You can buy special oils that are made for this very purpose. They will stop any water from penetrating the wood. But before you can use it, you will need to allow it to dry otherwise the oil will come off the paddle and stick to your hands.

And then, you will be ready to into your canoe with your new paddle. You can have a relaxing time just flowing down the river, or if you’ve been doing it for a while you can even have races with your friends.

Canoeing is a great way to get outside, get in the water, and become more at one with nature.

And making your own paddle is great because it’s the perfect balance between easy and challenging. Most people can do it, but it will take time and dedication. If nothing else, it’s something to put your mind to.

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