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Canoe Paddle Door Decoration


Here's a look at the finished project first.

Recently, my wife and I took a long weekend trip up north to Algonquin Park in Ontario. We rented a cottage and did some hiking and canoeing. On the drive home we stopped at a store to browse. While there we came across a pair of small canoe paddles arranged as a decorative door hanging. (Note these were of course not real paddles!) We thought this was interesting and my wife suggested that I make a set for us.

I've made a few real canoe paddles (most recently last year) so making a "fake" pair should be a piece of cake. In fact, this is an excellent beginner project, since it is a small decorative paddle, and not a full sized functional ("real") one. As well there is no fancy joinery or anything like that, we are just cutting out a shape in some wood.

I started with some pine that I had planed down to about 5/8" thickness. The exact thickness is not critical at all. I wanted the paddles to be about 14-15 inches long, so I used a piece of pine that was 31-32 inches long and about 3 inches wide. This would give me two small decorative paddles for this project. I used my smallest real paddle as a sort of guide and pattern to work from.

I first traced a line down the center of the board, and then two more lines parallel to that one and about 1/4" from it. This gives a "shaft" that is about 1/2" wide

(NEXT TWO PHOTOS) At the 14 inch mark I drew the rough shape of the hand grip for the paddle. I used a spray lacquer can to trace the corners to give the rounded end of the blade of the paddle. I used a combination of freehand drawing and some french curve templates to come up with the curve where the blade blended into the shaft of the paddle.

I used my bandsaw to cut out the shape of the paddle that I had drawn. You could of course use a hand-held jigsaw for this as well. Typically I try to stay just outside the pencil line while cutting.

I used the spindle sander and the disk sander to smooth the paddle back to the line

I now had one nice paddle, and used that to trace out an exact duplicate on the other half of the pine board. I then repeated the previous steps of cutting it out and sanding it to finished shape.

I put my smallest roundover bit (1/4 inch size) into my router table and used that to round over all the edges of the paddle.

We wanted to paint the Canadian Flag on the paddles. So, my wife took the paddles and painted red and white stripes on the paddle blades -- she is the better artist in the family, and we wanted this to be a joint project. Painting a maple leaf is tricky, so we found an image online and printed it out and then glued it in place with 3M spray adhesive.

I sprayed several coats of lacquer over the project but that was not quite enough protection for he maple leaf, so my wife also spread modge podge over the paper leaf, which gave a nice thick protective coating over it.

The two paddles were attached together with a #6 woodscrew. I of course predrilled and countersunk the hole. The paddles shafts are pretty narrow and delicate and we do not want them to break.

My wife added some fake greenery and christmas jingle bells (From the local big box craft store) to the canoe handles to complete the festive nature of this decorative project.

And here finally is our new decorative canoe paddle christmas door hanging thing. A quick, fun, and simple project. It's kind of nice to have a project like this every now and then.

Some of the Tools/Supplies Used In This Project: (Affiliate Links)


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See Also:

Headphone Holders

Custom Laminated Canoe Paddle

Dice Tower