DIY Projects & Crafts Canoe Paddles This handmade canoe paddle from "Parks and Recreation" actor and talented woodworking hobbyist Nick Offerman is the perfect weekend project for experienced woodworkers. By Martha Stewart Editors Martha Stewart Editors Facebook Instagram Twitter Website An article attributed to "Martha Stewart Editors" indicates when several writers and editors have contributed to an article over the years. These collaborations allow us to provide you with the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information available.The Martha Stewart team aims to teach and inspire readers daily with tested-until-perfected recipes, creative DIY projects, and elevated home and entertaining ideas. They are experts in their fields who research, create, and test the best ways to help readers design the life they want. The joy is in the doing. Editorial Guidelines Updated on September 20, 2018 Share Tweet Pin Email The best canoe paddles are as lightweight as possible but still have the strength to cut through all kinds of bodies of water. When selecting the wood for your paddle, be sure to consider the difference between hardwood and softwood: Hardwoods can be shaped thinner and have more strength but are heavier. Softwoods, as the name implies, can be damaged more easily but are lighter and easier to use without fatigue. What You'll Need Materials Wood plank Pencil Existing canoe paddle Band saw or jigsaw Sandpaper Block pan Spokeshave Rasp Epoxy, varnish, or oil Instructions Measure the distance from the ground to your chin: This will be your paddle length. Select an appropriate wood plank, approximately 1 1/4 inches thick and at least 6 to 7 inches wide. Draw a centerline down the length of your plank. Use an existing paddle as a template: Center the paddle on your plank and trace the outline on one half of your centerline. Flip the paddle over the centerline and trace again, to ensure symmetry. Cut out paddle outline on a band saw or with a jigsaw. Using sandpaper, clean up the cut so that all edges are smooth. Draw another centerline down the edge of your cut plank. Use a block pan to taper one face of the blade, from shaft end to the tip of the paddle. Shape blade from center spine down to quarter-inch edge. Using a spokeshave, sand with 80-grit to refine the blade shape. Repeat for other face of blade. Finish with epoxy, varnish, or oil.