Friday, September 17, 2010

Greenland Paddles

Six paddles, left to right: #1 Well used red cedar paddle, no finish.  #2 New red cedar paddle with finish. #3 Red Cedar and Port Orford Cedar lamination.  #4 Red cedar with black locust edging and tip.  #5 Same, but with Douglas Fir lamination added. #6 Red cedar body, black locust edging, tip, and center lamination.  No finish.

I offer the nicest Greenland style paddles I've ever used.  Like kayaks, paddles are incredibly sensitive to small changes in shape and sizing.  I'll fit the paddle to you.  Contact me at for a fitting discussion.

They are built well, by me, a very experienced woodworker, but they are built for hard use.  If you are looking for fine furniture-like perfection, look elsewhere (or be willing to pay more money).  However, if you are looking an outstanding performing paddle, you'd do well to consider these.  I have worked hard on many prototypes to get the shape "just so", the weight to a minimum, and the strength and durability the match of any conditions you'll likely put them through.

This is the standard shoulder I prefer.  I can make a harder or softer shoulder as well.

This pic shows the color variation of Western Red Cedar.

The weak point of a Greenland paddle with added bone, plastic, or hardwood tips is the tenon cut at the end of the paddle to receive the tip.  Only about 1/4" thick, it can break if you lean on it too hard:

I strengthen the tenon by bringing the strong locust edging past the shoulder of the tenon.  Everything is glued with epoxy:

 This is the kind of hard use black locust will stand up to.  And unlike fiberglass tips, if you want to spiff it up, just sand it down and reapply the finish of your choice:

For the finish, I use my own recipe of raw tung oil, turpentine, pine tar and a dash of cobalt drier.  But, as long as its maintained correctly, almost any finish will work.  Don't get hung up on finishes. The only parts that really need finish are the black locust tips anyway.  The rest of the paddle can be left to weather gray with no loss in function.