I have built a few paddles and a very versatile kayak cart over the past couple of years. I have a folding kayak that is great for traveling, but it weighs close to 50 pounds. With my other kayaking gear and luggage I have about 100 pounds to carry. I wanted something that could be used as a luggage cart and a kayak cart, and was lightweight and compact. I searched for quite a while without finding anything, so I decided to build my own.
What I came up with is the cart shown above. It is a piece of plywood with wooden pillow blocks on the bottom for a 1/2″ aluminum axle. The axle accepts either the 6″ wheels shown, or larger 12″ wheels. There are two 1″ holes at the back of the cart that the blades from my three piece Greenland paddle fit into when I use the cart for luggage.
The loops of line on the four corners of the cart are used to strap baggage or the kayak to the cart, and to attach the cart to the deck of the kayak.
I have also added a fitting to the bottom of the cart for the mast of my kayak sail. This way the cart can be used as a mast base when it is on the deck of the kayak. I may also add attachments so my spare paddle can be used as a crossbeam for small outriggers.
I used the cart on a recent trip on the Mississippi River and it really came in handy. The Greenland paddle I made as part of the cart has ended up being one of my favorite paddles.
The blades are made from straight grained fir and encapsulated in epoxy. The shaft was made by wrapping two layers of unidirectional carbon fiber, one layer of biaxial carbon fiber, and one layer of fiberglass around a 1″ aluminum tube that had four wraps of wax paper around it. The cloth was soaked in epoxy, and everything was tightly wrapped in peelply. After it cured I slid the shaft off of the aluminum tube, cut it to length, and clear coated it. It weighs about 30 ounces.
Previously I had built an experimental paddle out of carbon fiber and balsa that has been partially successful.
The blades of the paddle are very thin but were formed over an 8″ diameter tube to to give them strength. The paddle has a balsa core with unidirectional and biaxial carbon fiber skin. The paddle weighs 17 ounces and is quite strong – when paddling forward. When back paddling the blades twist and if enough force is applied they will break. On a very windy day while paddling from San Francisco to Oakland I broke a blade while trying to keep from broaching while surfing waves in a heavy sea canoe. So the paddle is good for fast paddling on smooth water, but not acceptable for rough water.
The other paddle I built is for outrigger canoes.
I built it out of wood scraps. It is heavy and strong, and works well with outrigger canoes that are sailed and only occasionally paddled.