The winter months in the Northeast are a great time to go over all your gear and make any repairs or replacements before the next camping and fishing season. I chose to take some time and restore an old Old Town wooden canoe paddle I purchased a few months ago.
First I sanded the damaged area to smooth it out – I wasn’t sure if I was going to leave it like that or fill it in.
Next I sanded the entire paddle with120 grit sandpaper on an orbital sander. I just wanted to remove the old urethane so I did not press too hard so I wouldn’t damage the shape of the paddle. Then I used 400 grit sandpaper by hand for a smoother finish.
I decided to fill the damaged spot with Dap wood filler. I let it set up, then sanded it smooth.
Then I taped the grip (I will use linseed oil on the grip) and applied Minwax “Early American” stain to the rest of the paddle. My favorite parts are the nicks and dark spots that seem to tell the story of the paddle, if only it could talk!
I then applied two coats of Minwax Helmsman Urethane to the entire paddle to make it water tight. I used steel wool in between coats for a smooth finish.
I hope this inspires you to take out your old paddle or maybe buy one and refinish it yourself. I plan on using this paddle as my primary paddle for next season and keeping a plastic blade paddle with me as a backup.