Basswood or Cedar for Greenland Paddle

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Forum topic by Letorix posted 09-29-2011 06:03 AM 3104 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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119 posts in 2471 days

09-29-2011 06:03 AM

I’d like to make my Dad some Greenland paddles for Christmas, at the rate I move I need to get started.

Is it light enough? The ones I’ve seen are made of cedar.

Anyone have any really clear cedar or basswood for making nice paddles?

6 replies so far

View Arminius's profile


304 posts in 3771 days

#1 posted 09-29-2011 06:26 AM

Cedar is widely recommended, but basswood paddles are very well liked for the feel they develop – including for a Greenland.

By weight, red cedar will be a little lighter than basswood, white cedar will be a little heavier.

My preference is for beefier species like maple and ash for canoe and kayak paddles, but I have never made a Greenland, my use is primarily rivers.

View Letorix's profile


119 posts in 2471 days

#2 posted 10-01-2011 06:16 AM

Any other woods? My Dad showed me 2 paddles one was cedar and almost twice the weight of the other. He is trying to find out what type of wood it is.

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304 posts in 3771 days

#3 posted 10-01-2011 12:29 PM

Take a look at this blog, and some of the ones it links to…Paddlemaking

just on this page alone he has canoe paddles from cherry, birch, poplar, and walnut, including some multi-species laminates, and mentions a basswood kayak paddle. From softwoods, pine, spruce, and redwood have all been used. It all comes to balancing weight versus strength. Typically, Greenland paddles are made with lighter species because they take relatively little load, which is the case for most sea kayak paddles. If you use a lighter wood, you just need to look a clear straight grain board for the blank.

I have only ever made paddles meant for fast-moving rivers, where the paddle will sometimes have to take as much of your weight as possible plus momentum, as you reach into an eddy to pull the canoe across the eddy line. That can snap a lighter paddle, but unless you use a sea kayak in heavy tidal/wave conditions, you just won’t see those forces.

View Den's profile


91 posts in 3157 days

#4 posted 10-14-2011 10:22 PM

I have used cedar (red) and Redwood, and I think Redwood is lighter than Cedar. That’s just my opinion

View Letorix's profile


119 posts in 2471 days

#5 posted 10-17-2011 03:27 PM

Hi Den, Where did you get the red cedar?

View StumpyNubs's profile


7578 posts in 2768 days

#6 posted 10-17-2011 03:43 PM

I always use 2X6s for all my Greenland Paddle needs…

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