Re: [baidarka] Wood for paddle

wayne steffens (
Sun, 17 May 1998 22:38:31 -0500

Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 17 May 1998 22:38:31 -0500
From: wayne steffens <>
Subject: Re: [baidarka] Wood for paddle
In-Reply-To: <>

At 07:28 PM 5/17/98 EDT, you wrote:
>In a message dated 98-05-17 14:32:33 EDT, writes:
><< I have practiced making paddles out of old scaffolding boards and
> feel happy that I have a good idea what I am doing now. Now is the
> time to spend some money on knot free close grained wood
> So what did the Aleuts and Greenlanders use for paddle wood? >>
>Driftwood :-)

This is true. I suspect that spruce (black?) made up the bulk of the
driftwood available to northern peoples although I could be wrong. I know I
read somewhere that the Aleuts used cedar at times. If chosen properly,
red cedar can make a pretty strong and stiff paddle, or it can be soft and

As for spending money, thats not always necessary. I paid big bucks for a
clear cedar 2x6 for my first paddle (and it was a poorly chosen, soft
piece), and I paid about 15 dollars for a clear piece of sitka spruce that
is my present paddle. But Ive made several equally functional paddles from
carefully chosen 2x4s that cost under $5. I paid the extra money at first
because I wasnt all that good at paddle making and wanted to give myself
the advantage of perfect wood. I hate to create too much of a demand for
premium woods when it isnt necessary though. Once you learn to make a
paddle and make a friend at your local lumber yard, he can pull the really
sweet clear pieces of wood from the knotty stacks (=cheap) when he sees them.