Sunshine and paddle building – just like PB and J

bounced light reveals all – what’s gorgeous and what needs a redo or at least some sanding……

Hi paddlers – Jeff Bach here. I’ll be in the shop all weekend doing what I love best – working with hands and wood, coaxing out the beauty each piece holds. And of course – there are practical matters involved along the way, like what the final finish should be and how to prevent those super irritating drips off the underside of the blade. As in life, building a paddle has all sorts of little tricks that make the project easier.

I’m happy to talk through a paddle kit and what you may or may not want to include and what options you may already have on a shelf in the garage. Like mineral oil and a bit of beeswax. The final finish for a paddle, at least the shaft and handle, can be a simple rubbed in coat of mineral oil. I still hugely recommend epoxy for the blade and a tip guard to seal the end grains along the bottom of the blade.

happy trails and I hope they are wet! Jeff Bach owner, quietwater paddles.

Redwood and water go great together

curly reflections courtesy of redwood and H2O

A few years back, I got lucky and snapped up a piece of salvaged redwood joist that just happened to be curly redwood. Beautiful stuff. It’s also light and strong, especially when wrapped in the loving embrace of four ounce plain weave fiberglass cloth and my preferred MAS brand epoxy. Good stuff all the way around.

I went with walnut accent pieces along the shaft strip. A tip guard made from West Marine GFlex is protecting the bottom of the blade and sealing up the end grain as well. Sand and watere courtesy of a……lake. I can’t remember where I took this picture. Most likely Lake Wazeecha, up in Wood County, central Wisco.

Anyway, wood paddles are well within reach of an aspiring DIY’er. A quietwater kit simply puts all the pieces together for you, so you don’t have to start your project sourcing the materials and then cutting the wood. A kit comes with everything you need to build TWO paddles.

Or I can build one for you.

A one of a kind custom, with no epoxy stuck to your fingers and in your clothes.

Either way, a paddle is a means to an end. That end being the pleasure of a day spent paddling water somewhere. wherever you are…….Enjoy it!

New Dog and more Pleasant Paddling

I like pictures. I think they make a web page more interesting, especially if there is a canoe and paddles in the frame.

This time around though, there are no pictures, even though a canoe and paddles were involved. Water, too.

We took our young dog out on her first canoe (actually second) paddle. Just my wife and me. And the dog.

We put in on the Yahara River at the old iron bridge landing, just down from the old pioneer wood bridge and within sight of the 10,000+ year old native american fish weir remnants. It is said that this stretch of the Yahara is haunted. One of the many things I like about paddling this old slow river. This particular stretch certainly has the credentials for being haunted. I bet quite a few old bodies crossed the river here, whether it be fishing, or crossing a wagon or building a bridge.

Memorial Day weekend in the COVID era brought out surprising amounts of people. Usually, this stretch we have to ourselves. Not today. On the upside it kept Sula entertained. She has yet to meet a person she’s not immediately ready to run away with. Definitely a people dog.

All of which is a long way to write that I did not want to add an old expensive camera to the mix of young excitable dog, a wet river, and the first paddle of the year.

It was sublime. I do love getting out in a paddle-powered boat!

Nonetheless, there’ll be pics next time. This little dog is a happy smiley cutie. She adds fun and joy to the simplest of things!

Canoecopia 2019

Canoecopia-SeminarWhile Rutabaga Nancy has retired, that does not mean that Canoecopia has gone by the wayside. Nancy’s replacement, Amelia, seems like a great replacement, although she remains in the ‘mysterious’ category, as I have not met her yet. Her trial by fire grows daily, I’m sure, as Canoecopia 2019 approaches.

Rutabaga is the host/owner of Canoecopia. Rutabaga is one of the few full time paddlesports shops in the country that remains open year round, tempting paddlers every day to come in and look at the various gizmos as well as boats that fill the store. A great place. Owned and capably run by the ‘one of a kind’ Darren Bush.

And from that springs Canoecopia, an annual event that kicks off the start of the paddling season each year. Darren and his staff have carefully cultivated and nurtured this show, and the result has been a stellar production, a well run show offering a perfect oasis for paddlers tired of frozen water and ready for something warmer and easier to paddle than snow.

I’ll be up in the Atrium on Saturday from 1-3 (I think) talking about wood paddles and how to make them. Stop by and visit!

C is for Cadence

The bike world made this word popular. Most days if you go out and watch pedalers, you’ll see a bunch of them pushing hard down on each pedal their bodies swaying from one side to the other as the arduously mash each pedal. It looks like effort and it is, they get tired fast.

Likewise in paddling we can see this same issue, big slow arduous strokes with the body behind twisting and writhing to make it work. This would be paddling with a SLOW cadence.

Conversely, some people both on bike and in boats use gears and paddles that allow for a much faster turnover of foot or stroke. I think of this contrast much like two strokes worth ten each make 20, much the same as five strokes worth four each make 20. Quicker, easier strokes are much easier on the joints involved relative to big strong strokes.

Whether in bikes or boats, keeping things simple and quick makes you feel one way, while straining and grinding will make you feel another. Go for the quick and easy cadence, whether on bike or boat. Your major joints will thank you for it!