a word about wood from Bruce
the woods I use...
One of my favourite paddles of all time was made
from a northern tamarack tree or larch that came from the woods around Atikokan, Ontario. It was strong and very unique. It frayed a bit around the throat from normal paddling friction so I had to varnish it regularly. It was strong, flexible and dynamic in the water. I am using european larch now (which is grown in North America,
despite its name) when I can find it clear.
butternut is very light weight and has
nice grain as well. It is becoming very
rare because of a disease that is killing
the trees. I have a Butternut paddle and
I love it for certain light-use situations…
not tripping though. I often like to
laminate a stronger species like cherry,
maple or walnut on to the shaft to give it
We come across pieces in all woods where the grain has quite a bit of figure, is curly or wavy, or has unusual blonde or dark streaks. This also puts them in the Specialty Woods category.
shaft laminations are recommended primarily for recreational paddles. They are available in almost any combination of woods. black walnut, black cherry and bird's eye maple create some favourite colour contrasts. I use the highest quality waterproof urethane glue to add these laminations, but regular maintenance is recommended.