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Thread: Maybe more "Where do I" buy wood for a paddle?

  1. Default Maybe more "Where do I" buy wood for a paddle?

    Hi there.

    I had a search across the forum and couldn't find what I needed so I thought I would ask here.

    Where do people buy their wood from to make canoe paddles?

    I was thinking about making an ash one and need to source a big enough slab to make one from.

    Any advice gratefully received.

    I am a beginner at paddle carving but have quite a bit of experience in wood working. If anyone has a suggestion for alternative woods then I'd also be happy to hear it. e.g.: Could I just buy some pine or whatever wood B+G et all are selling? As long as the grain is right etc?

    I just bought the Canoe Paddles book by Warren and Gidmark.

    Thanks!

    GJC

  2. #2

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    I made mine from ash bought from http://www.arbortimber.co.uk/, if you are not in the North East this might not be that helpful! I laminated mine so less waste and no need for such a large piece of wood.

  3. #3

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    Depends where you live, up here in sunny Scotland I got wood from a timber merchant in Balloch but there are merchants all over.

    For a first one, I'd go for a cheap bit of pine and practice, almost make a pattern you like, so that when you get a nice expensive bit of ash or cherry which I used it is easier.

    Very satisfying.
    Chris


  4. #4

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    I think I paid about 40 for enough ash to make 2 paddles. It wasn’t so expensive that I felt the need to make the first one from softwood. It’s quite a time consuming process if you are using hand tools.

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    Thanks so much for the advice.

    I do think that grabbing some cheap pine might be the way forward.
    Some quotes for a slab of ash are way more than I anticipated and, as you said, not economically viable when a nice hardwood paddle will cost you a fraction of the price...

    So can I just grab some pine from a more general lumber merchant as long as the grain is nice and straight?

    Cheers.

    G

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Little Downham, Ely Cambs
    Posts
    59

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    You won't find any timber at Jewsons or Travis Perkins worth making a paddle from, at least not one to actually paddle with. Find a local hardwood supplier, tell them what you want it for. They often have odd left over lengths for sale. Ash is good. I've also used mahogany, oak and cedar in various combinations. Great fun. The time spent making the paddle makes 25 or so a good investment. And use a proper glue. I use Cascamite.

  7. Default

    Thanks...
    I assume you are about making a laminate paddle?
    I wouldn't mind doing this, but what would you suggest for the shaft?
    I know it's important to be knot free and straight grained....

    Thanks for all the advice.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Little Downham, Ely Cambs
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    59

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    Quote Originally Posted by gjclayton View Post
    Thanks...
    I assume you are about making a laminate paddle?
    I wouldn't mind doing this, but what would you suggest for the shaft?
    I know it's important to be knot free and straight grained....

    Thanks for all the advice.
    I like ash for a shaft, but oak is ok too just a bit heavier. Cedar is very light and good for the blade, though a bit easier to damage than some harder woods. If I was making a one piece paddle I'd probably go with ash. Laminated paddles are just pretty and fun to do, also you can use up smaller pieces of wood. I'd like to make my next paddle with cherry.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Robin Hood's Bay,Yorkshire
    Posts
    2,741

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    I'll second the advice about making your first one from a lump of cheap pine from a builders merchant. You'll learn soooooo much about woodwork/paddlemaking. This paddle will be a dog - and you'll be far too embarrassed to show it to anyone.

    But then you'll start to look up wood weights,chose a nice bit of timber and make one that you'll fall in love with. Three lovely light paddles I made are from Basswood (american lime) Western Red Cedar and 'Redwood'.

    Sorcing this sort of wood takes time but the internet or a local bespoke kitchen maker should be able to point you in the right direction.


    Worth pointing it out is that you don't need to buy a thick bit of timber. The shaft will be stronger if you buy say an inch thick plank or less and when you cut out the shaft/paddle shape, you'll have two very nice off cuts to then laminate/glue one of them to the shaft of the paddle blank you've just made.

    And unless you intend storing them in a pond you won't need to bother using waterproof glue either.
    http://www.davidwperry.blogspot.co.uk/

  10. Default

    Don't know if you've already sorted it GJC, but my suggestion would be to look up a couple of bespoke kitchen manufacturers in your area. In my experience they have lots of off cuts, extra boards, bits with strange grain or sap wood that they can't use (but look great in other applications). I'd give them a call and explain what you are doing and see if you can call to have a look at what's about. Depends on the owners attitude of course, but the place I work at now would have no problems with it. In fact there are a few people that come and get odds and ends frequently. You may be looking at a laminated paddle, but think of the interesting grains and colourations that can be put together. Just a thought.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Midlands, UK
    Posts
    1,937

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    Went through a stage of making a few, mostly laminate - wood came froma local timheryad : Sunningdale, in Leicester. They let me peruse off cuts, and if they are not too busy were happy to cut and wood I wanted into strips. They also do great fire logs!. So do a wee search for local 'family run' timber yard - they usually know their stuff and helpful.

  12. Default

    Thanks for all advice. I managed to get hold of some western red cedar offcuts so I'm going to try to get hold of some ash for the shafts and other offcuts for the rest of the paddle.
    It'll be nice to have a bit of contrast in the paddles.

    Thanks again.

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk

  13. Default

    I have now managed to get some mahogany.
    My major issue is getting a long enough piece of wood for the shaft....

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk

  14. #14

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    Remember we need to see some pictures.

    Chris


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Bristol, Avon, United Kingdom
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    14

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    Oh Yes! Pics Please!! Are you going to build your own canoe next? Where did you get the wood from in the end?

  16. Default

    I'll def post some pics.

    I now some nice, straight close grained western red cedar (it smells amazing) and some 30 year old aged mohogany, both from ebay....

    What I want now is wood for the shafts and some thin layers for transitional pieces.

    I suspect the longer shafts are going to be my main issue...

    Sent from my G3121 using Tapatalk

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
    Location
    Bristol, Avon, United Kingdom
    Posts
    14

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    How long do you believe the paddles should be? Do the length of the paddles depends on the kayak size?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    North Lancashire, South Lakes
    Posts
    115

    Default

    Before I splashed out on an expensive piece of cherry, or maple or whatever I bought a cheap plank from Wickes and using templates from Graham Warren. It went pretty well except the handle was a tad too thin, then, as I was shaping the shaft with the spokeshave it snapped across a knot. I now have a very short paddle and a T shaped stick. What's more important is I now know I can do it without making a mess of an expensive piece of wood. I just haven't made enough effort to find a local supplier.
    Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines!

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