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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a kayak paddler and I love my old fashioned wooden paddles. I bought them over 20 years ago. They were too long so I cut a small section out of the middle and spliced them back together with cascamite. This lasted around 15 years but broke on me about 5 years ago. I need someone with much greater expertise than I have to make a repair. I could go out and buy a new pair but they're not the same - I love the feel of these ones. Hopefully you guys into wood will understand this slightly irrational attachment to an inanimate object! I did find one chap who inserted a hollow carbon fibre shaft inside both ends. This worked for a while. The carbon fibre shaft held OK but the glue in the joint to the wooden paddle gave after about half a dozen uses. Truthfully I really don't know how best to repair the paddles from here. My hunch is it would be best to remove the mid section (which is slightly ovalled and rather a mess now after the broken repair) and insert a new one with two joints, one to each of the ends?? I've contacted a couple of local joiners who aren't interested. I live 3 miles from Newbury, UK. Might anyone be able to offer advice or even be interested in taking on such a project?
I look forward to hearing from one of you enthusaists. (Hoping you're as enthsiastic about solving wood repair problems as I am about paddling!) If it would help I could try to post some pictures of the broken joint.
 

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Pictures would be great. The first thing that come to my mind was a long dowel but then you said you've tried that. The next thing that comes to mind is a dovetail joint with a good polyurethane glue. When the guy used the carbon fiber rod did he use a polyurethane glue or even an epoxy. I can see alot of abuse being given to this joint. I also wonder if it was refinished to protect the glue in the joint from water. So many questions and so little time.
 

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I'm thinking something like 2 floating tenons going along the oblong axis (square, not round)2 mortises in each end of the break. After that has dried, hand cut some 4" long x 3/8" wide grooves on the flattest portion of the oblongs (one on each side, 2" on each side of the repair) Install some splines into the grooves. Sand everything flush when dry. Coat with 3-4 coats of spar varnish. Use only expoxy for all the repairs. Make sure all your joints are well-made and snug.
A little work, but do-able.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Keep the ideas & comments coming please

Thanks for the responses. I'll try and get some pictures posted so you can see it. This may take a while as I need to work out how so please be patient - I'll be back!
Thoughts on Dave's comments:
The joint does take quite a bit of stress, mainly latitudinally ie: at right angles to the shaft.
Regarding the type of glue - sorry I don't know. It looked like some thermosetting compound to me. Something the guy who fixed it generally uses when fixing beams in houses. I fancy the salt water played a part in corroding this but I may be wrong. There was no "finish" to protect it and his compound may not usually be exposed to salt water.
In hindsight the guy that fixed it did a bit of a bodge and made up for lack of accuracy in the fit of the carbon rod in the drilled hole by using the glue as padding if this makes sense. After weeks of searching for help I was very grateful to find him so don't want to knock him. His trade is beam repairs in houses rather than close joinery.
Thoughts on Rob's comments:
:icon_confused: Please excuse my ignorance - I can't follow the description due to my lack of knowledge of your craft. It sounds a sophisticated repair the likes of which I was hoping I might find first time around. Might it still be possible over the broken first attempt? It also sounds the sort of thing that's way beyond my skillset - Wish I'd found someone like you when I was searching for local help. You're not exactly local to me! How much work is involved in your suggestion? (Time). Would it need specific timber type or would any old (reasonable grade) wood do? If I try and find someone local to do this what type of craftsman am I best looking for: Joiner, Carpenter, Woodworker, something else??
Look forward to hearing more and will research how to get the pics posted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pictures: Shaft construction

(See diagram below) The shaft is a round 3cm in section, circular in the middle and slightly oblate at the points where I grip it which are about 60 cm apart and feathered at 90 degrees.
It is a triple laminate. Can’t be sure of the woods but looks like Ash on layers 1 & 3 (see diagram), which are on the outsides of the oblate sections (I can’t quite conceptualise how they cross over in the middle section BB in diagram hence the “?”), and likely Ash again, or some tighter & straight grained wood, in the middle layer 2. You can see the laminate layers in the photo (and some of the other pics later) but don’t confuse the vertical grain at top and bottom of the photo – This is the background which is my kitchen table!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
A bit about the original repair:

(See diagram below) I made 2 parallel cuts around 20cm in length. I then removed part Y and stuck parts X & Z together with a couple of wooden dowels as shown in bottom of diagram. This wasn’t expert craftsmanship but it was “fit for purpose” and lasted about 15 years. You can see what would be a top view of the (now broken) repair illustrated in the diagram clearly on the left hand side of the pic below.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
The last repair

When my joint failed after 15 years the paddle snapped completely slightly off centre of my joint. The chap who repaired this for me drilled a hole about 20-25cm deep up each end of the shaft, entering from the broken middle. He then closed the shafts together around a single 45cm long (what I thought was carbon fibre but may not have been) rod joining the shaft ends together as neatly as he could around the broken joint and then padded/filled the internal hole with resin. It looks like he deliberately entered the holes he had drilled up the broken shaft ends at their “drill tip ends” in order to insert the resin. You can see the resin (sanded clean) at the top left of the photo below just under the words "attached thumbnails" if the preview is true to the final version. There is a complimentary one of these 45cm along the shaft on the other side. The rod is not perfectly aligned along the centre line of the shaft – whether this was deliberate or not I do not know. You can also see some more resin and the repair where the broken shaft ends meet at the other end of the same photo below. I would show a picture from further back but it’s too large to upload.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Final thoughts and last photo

I show below a photo that illustrates how my original joint broke. In the plane shown imagine the two ends of the shaft coming down and the middle staying where it is. The internal rod now prevents this from happening despite the fact that the whole assembly has now worked loose.
Part of me believes I should just give up, throw these paddles away and buy a new pair. Another (stubborn) part of me adheres to an older value set. I really like these paddles. I’ve cared for them and sanded and oiled them repeatedly over the years and I’d hate to throw them away just because the shaft is broken. I despise the “consumerist” philosophy of throwing away unnecessarily and buying anew.
My thinking (which I’m happy to modify if anyone wants to point out a better way!) is the middle section of this shaft is now shot. It’s a mess and has a (possibly carbon fibre) rod running through it so it’d be very difficult to repair. I have an idea which may be wrong that a good craftsman could make a joint just as strong as the original shaft. Rob above suggests some sophisticated joint which may be the elusive, stronger than the original shaft one I mention or now he can see the photos may not be appropriate? I’m wondering if it would be possible to take out the middle 50cm section of the shaft and inset a new section with a joint at each end back onto the blades?? I even started looking for another pair of similar paddles with a broken blade so I could use the middle shaft but didn’t get vary far.
Anyway – from a layman here over to you craftsmen. What do you think? I’m off on holiday now until next week so don’t be dissuaded by a lack of response for a few days. I would value hearing your opinions. Should I persevere with my desire to get this repaired or should I admit defeat and throw the paddles away? I hope you enjoy discussing it!
 

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