For most canoeists, using wood materials continue to be the choice. Wooden paddle looks good, has a natural flex that’s especially regarded towards the end of a long day, unquestionable durability, and can be made into earnestly light but sturdy paddles.
There’s a variety of woods and ways to make paddles when it comes to wooden paddle material. Classic paddles were shaped out using a piece of wood, usually, a hardwood like cherry, maple, ash, and these paddles can still be purchased up to present. These paddles tend to have longer narrower blades, ideal for deep waters due to the lack of availability of such woods in a larger size but not so good for shallow water.
Depending on the type of wood and the grain structure, there’s also significant variation in weight in these paddles. It can be markedly different but the same size for paddles produced of the same wood. In choosing one of these paddles, meticulous attention to grain is essential. Especially on the shaft or at the junction of the shaft and at the blade, consider for long straight grain with the slightest of knots. A simple thought: the presence of knots make weak spots. Creating the blade or shaft thinner or smaller, perhaps to the point where they are delicate, be also aware of the lighter of these paddles as about the only process they can be made lighter is to eliminate material.
The laminated paddles are the predominance of paddles presented today where the paddle makers use smaller pieces of different woods and glue them together to make a paddle. As the paddle maker can blend different hard and soft woods to get the optimal characteristic of each, this process has the advantage of creating paddles that are invariably lighter and durable. In addition, available adhesives in the market today are usually stronger than the woods they’re gluing, so that makes it beneficial.
Hardwoods provide stiffness and strength and durabilities like walnut, ash, maple, and cherry. On the other hand, softwoods offer lightweight and flex like cedar, fir, pine, and basswood. In the making of a laminated paddle, there’s no recommended or universal formula. Makers often utilize locally sourced woods.