Care and feeding of greenland paddles

I have a greenland paddle, love it, but wasn’t sure if there is anything I need to do to it to keep it in great condition. Am taking it to NC this summer and wanted to know if anyone has advice for post-salt water care of a greenland.

More salt water then followed by more river water, then lake water then salt water then lake water, then creek water, then more salt water, then pool water for practice then more salt water then more sweet water. for years!

somewhere in between you may want to wipe it off occasionally.

oh yeah, depending on what kind of oil (Teak, Tung, etc you may want to apply a light coat every year or so



– Last Updated: May-29-11 4:00 PM EST –

- this is what I'm using before every season. It's an exterior wood finish. Like any oil, it transfers onto your hands or gloves for the first 10-15 days. I notice this on gloves, but not much. It doesn't protect from mechanical damage - for this I painted the tips with epoxy. Also, every spring I sand all rough spots and cracks, and fill with epoxy those most terribly looking.

The amount of wear that my GP got after 7 years is depressing, but my area is rocky. Wood is a terribly soft material. Composite GP would've been better but they cost more.

I Sand Out the Dings Occasionally
then apply some Formby’s tung oil finish. I rub off the gloss with some fine steel wool.

Salt water, nor fresh water, nor funky water have ever done any harm to my paddles. Rocks on the other hand…

Care of the paddle…

– Last Updated: May-29-11 4:45 PM EST –

...depends on what it's made of and how it's finished. What brand is yours (or did you make it yourself)?

Mine is Mitchell
bought it from a friend.

Care of a GreenLand paddle?
Go with BB on this one, for sure! It will break before you wear it out! Whether you bought it, or made it. If you like it, take a few measurements, and start on another. I buy 1 or 2, 2 x 4 's a year, work on them occasionally, and never run out of paddles, for wife or self. Another thought; buy Nystrom’s book. Sorry, but I had to say it!

If it is finished with …
epoxy/something permanent (as opposed to just oil), what you need to do from time to time is to check for dark spots indicating leaking areas. Re-paint a layer of epoxy there and sand a bit if desired and you are good. I think Mitchell’s paddles are usually epoxy finished but if yours is just oiled, you need to re-oil it from time to time. I used Tung oil on my wood paddles and that works well and is easy to apply. $10 for a 16oz or so bottle in the better hardware stores and that would last you many years for a couple of paddles…

Southern greenland paddles eat grits.
They thrive when you call them “Sugar”.

“Sugar”? Really?
I think mine is just “Shug”!

Trailmom, if you ever get . . .
. . . a plain wooden (Western red cedar) GP, you’ll find it needs little to no maintenance, in contrast with fancier laminated and epoxied paddles. My professionally made wooden GPs came with a lovely oil finish. That degrades over time and could be renewed by me with more oil – but I’m lazy. And I don’t think it’s necessary. One GP I made myself has no finish at all and is none the worse for it. It probably will never be oiled in its lifetime. I like the ease of these plain Western red cedar paddles.

G in NC

Aleut paddle
I made mine from plain WRC and it’s new.

But I did the tung oil finish (probably tung, varnish and solvent mix) and 5 coats, with very fine sanding between. I let it dry thoroughly between coats, and it dried thoroughly before use the first time as well. This finish seems extremely durable and I use it in salt water.

All I plan to do is re-oil it periodically.

BTW, this finish does NOT come off on my hands at all that I can see.

Paddle with a Beale

– Last Updated: May-30-11 11:03 AM EST –

Western Red Cedar GP and maybe 2-3x a summer, i will rub on and quickly off with a cloth Formbys Tung Oil Finish. You need to wipe off pretty quickly as it gets tacky if left on too long.

Oh, yeah, it’s "give me some sugar"
instead of give me a kiss. Either will work to keep the paddle in good spirits - call it sugar or Shug or give it a kiss.

Just don’t be “ugly” with it.

Tung oil every year
My gp was made by Alan Mapes and is Western red cedar with epoxy tips. I tung oil it and wipe it down using extra fine steel wool about once a year - sometimes twice a year if the salt water seems to have bleached/dried it out. Al redoes the epoxy tips for me every couple of years as they get pretty beaten up on the rocks of Maine etc…