My kids in Sweden recently bought a cottage (stuga in Swedish) on an island in a neighbouring lake and so travel forth and back to their place in a motor boat or canoe. My two year old grand daughter wants to help paddle, and so needs a mini canoe paddle with which to do the job.
I have never made a canoe paddle and certainly never imagined making one kiddie sized. However I didn't let either of those things stop me.
Making one paddle is not really very time effective, so I made a couple of compromises. To make a really good, commercially saleable product it would have to be perfectly symmetrical in every way. Symmetry is comforting to the eye and more comfortable in the paddlers hand. Since this paddle is going to be used by a three years old when she is paddling next season I was not too concerned about the paddle having the most efficient shape or grip. To make a fine paddle I would have had to spend time creating a fine pattern from plywood so that I could use a pattern cutting bit on my router table to shape the paddle. To make one paddle I chose not to spend the time and effort to make a pattern that would only be used once. I also decided that light weight was more important than strength so I chose white cedar from which to make the paddle.
My approach was to draw a pattern on card board, cut it out and trace it on a piece of cedar board. I cut the paddle out on my band saw,and so the result was acceptable but not perfect. I chose cedar because it is pretty good in wet environments. Were I making a larger paddle I would look to either re-enforce the shaft or make the whole thing from a different wood.
Once the paddle is cut out I abandoned my work shop for a table in our garage. Cedar dust is very hard on the lungs and so I took the sanding part of this project outside into the summer breeze.
How its Made: Canoe Paddles.
Check out how the real paddle makers do it.