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Canoe Paddle Rack

A little over four years ago I decided to try my hand at making canoe paddles. This was before I started making youtube videos, so I do not have any video of making these paddles, but I do have a few website articles that you can browse here:

By the time I stopped making paddles we had more paddles than people in our family. This is not that surprising as I made some for my kids, and my kids insisted on growing up.

Darn kids.

In all seriousness, I had a ton of fun making these paddles. I'm sure that professionally built paddles from companies are better in many ways. Frankly, I don't care. These paddes are beautiful, and functional. We've gone on several canoe trips and they work fine, and have not fallen apart. And even more than that, I have made custom built paddles for all of my kids, which they have really appreciated.

Anyway, we had lots of paddles but not really a great storage solution. I kept them on top of an shelving unit where we stored our camping gear. This was fine most of the time, until you wanted that one paddle that was at the back... Or when they fell down when you were trying to dig through the pile... Or when they got stuck between the shelf and the ceiling joists...

There had to be a better solution!

A few weeks back I rearranged the wall above my workbench. (There was no website article for that, just a youtube video which you can access here: As part of that project, I took down this clamp rack and replaced it.

Today, I was doing some cleaning up downstairs, rearranging our camping supplies storage. As well, I'm planning a future canoe trip. So the paddles were on my mind as I entered the shop. I saw this old unused f-clamp rack and I realized that I could turn this into a nice canoe paddle rack with about 10 minutes of work.

All you need to hold a canoe paddle is a pair of dowels spaced an appropriate distance apart. With this rack I could quickly have a rack that would hold all our paddles and more!

This rack is just a piece of 2x4 with some pieces of 5/8" dowel inserted at an upward angle. My dowels were spaced about six inches apart, which seems to work. If you are starting from scratch, all you need to ensure is that two adjacent paddles would not interfere with each other.

I placed a canoe paddle beside each dowel and then made a mark to indicate where I needed to add a second piece of dowel at each position.


I then used a spade bit (also sometimes called a paddle bit -- groan) to drill a hole for another piece of dowel. I tilted the drill to try and match the angle of the current pieces of dowel.

As you might have guessed this is a project without many precise measurements or angles. In truth, a sixteenth or even and eighth of an inch error here or there was not going to make any major difference to the end result!


Once the holes were drilled I glued and hammered into place some sections of dowel. I left that to dry for a while and then installed it in the corner of my basement where we store our camping gear.

One added bonus, I think, is that the paddles are now nicely displayed. I think these are things of beauty, so I am well pleased with how this quick and simple project turned out.


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See Also:

Canoe Paddle

Canoe Paddles, Part 2

Cool Custom Beach Chairs

Basic Bike Rack