I built these kayak paddles for my double paddle canoes very quickly out of inexpensive, readily available materials. The shafts are ordinary closet rod (which usually seems to measure 1 5/16 inches in diameter). For the blades I used 1/4 inch (nominal-5mm) luan. The luan is lighter than 1/4 plywood, but it has very thin outer veneers. For my application in protected waters I think the luan should be sufficiently strong. If it isn't then I don't plan on being in a remote place where I couldn't get home!
I slotted the ends of the closet rod with repeated passes on the table saw to get to the thickness of the luan. At first I experimented with dado blades to cut the slots, but decided the jigs to safely stabilize the round closet rod for the job would take longer to fabricate than it would take for hand-holding against the fence with the repeated pass approach. Once one end was slotted I stuck the paddle cutout in it hanging down, with a spring clamp for additional weight. This kept the shaft oriented so that the slot at the other end was cut in the same plane. Note: these are intentionally NOT feathered paddles! They were designed for protected waters where windage won't be a problem, but obviously the slots could be in different planes for feathering.
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