G P materials

How is Douglas Fir for making one?

I have seen douglas fir clear enough
and close-grained enough, but it has no particular resistance to rot. If you plan a finish that will protect it, OK, but western red cedar, perhaps selected from a deck wood supplier, would give you something with more rot resistance.

seems ok

– Last Updated: Feb-10-08 12:47 PM EST –

copied and pasted from a web site for builders..seems it would be adequate...

When architects and engineers look for the best in structural lumber, their first choice repeatedly is Douglas Fir.It is dimensionally stable and universally recognized for its superior strength-to-weight ratio.The species also enjoys a documented superior performance against strong forces resulting from natural phenomena such as winds, storms and earthquakes.

how heavy would the end product be ???? Good point about water rot !! I would also look at web sites that sell GP paddles and look at the wood they are using for ideas. ther may be lighter wood that would work as well for this purpose. good luck.

Made one,
Took a while to find a vert grain 2x4 at a lumber yard, but for 3 bucks it was worth it. I dipped the tips in epoxy, then applied tung oil.

It was an enjoyable project and I figured it was good practice in case I made more gps from more expensive material.

I prefer
white cedar, or foam and carbon :stuck_out_tongue:

It willl work fine, but
it will be a bit heavy.

A heavy greenland paddle is a bad thing. With the low paddling stroke and the buoyancy of a greenland paddle the weight doesn’t seem to be a problem. I have found that when I use my douglas fir paddle the kayak responds to correction strokes better than when I’m using a light cedar paddle.

The only benefit I feel from a light weight greenland paddle is that I can have a faster cadence to my strokes if I’m trying to catch a wave to surf. Douglas fir doesn’t have to quartersawn to get a good quality strong paddle either. Go for it.

WRC and Cypress
zre not what they once were. The oils that helped prevent rot and decay were found more in old growth forest.

Douglis Fir is dense and was often used for spindles on porh rail around here. (Raleigh, NC) I remember it being heavy for it’s size. It will rot if not maintained with proper painting and caulk

Western Red Cedar will rot and termites around these parts love it. I think people like the WRC due to weight and working ease.

You will be finishing anything you use and it won’t be in the water or exposed to the ground for long periods. Use what you want to.


I’d avoid Douglas fir
It’s heavy, brittle, prone to splintering and doesn’t work particularly well with edged tools. Western red cedar is a far superior wood for GPs, which is why most people use it. I’ve heard good things about Sitka spruce, but haven’t used it as it’s very hard to find and hideously expensive around here. If you can find suitable white or yellow cedar, they’ll work well.

Grain orientation is at least as important as the species of wood you choose. You want vertical grain (a.k.a., “quartersawn”) that’s straight from end to end.

GP Materials
Anyone every try laminating strips of marine plywood to use to make a GP? Too heavy?

I don’t know where you guys are
getting your douglas fir. What I have is no heavier than sitka spruce, though not as strong per weight.

I know for fact that a western harpsichord parts and wood stock supplier was offering douglas fir soundboard stock. That would not happen unless the wood was close to sitka spruce and European fir in weight and structural parameters.

Try using the cedar you find for fences. It will come in 2x4x8 is easy to carve and MUCH lighter than construction lumber. I’ve made a total of 3 GP’s and the 1 made from construction lumber which might be fur, might be pine or what ever is cheapest for your lumber yard to buy warped and is heavy. which is another problem with standard lumber iit is dried so fast that once carved it can warp. My storm paddle and standard greenlander are from cedar and I’m extremly happy with them. As one person posted use epoxy on the ends and you’ll have an awsome paddle for little money.

It would be heavy, weak…
… prone to delamination and difficult to shape. I can’t see any point in doing it.

Alaskan Yellow Cedar
makes beautiful padles which are very heavy :frowning:

Just finished
another white cedar gp today, has mahoganey tips, couple coats of varnish, nice and light, pretty stiff. I can post pictures if you want to see what it looks like.

Depends on usage
Of the many paddles I’ve made, I’ve found good old white pine to have the best combination of qualities that I Iook for – strength, weight, ease of carving. It’s not the lightest, but noticeably stiffer and stronger than cedar. It’s not the easiest to work, but easy enough. And, it’s cheap and easily available. Best piece I ever got was bought at Home Depot.

I have a gorgeous Sitka/Red Cedar/White Cedar laminated paddle that’s light and paddles great. But it’s a little flexy, and delicate in the cedar parts. Fine for everyday paddling, but if I’m going out in rough water or near rocks or ice, I take the White pine/Aspen laminated one. Considerably stiffer, and a lot tougher. Heavier, yes, but less likely to break.

Marine plywood should not be used in
applications where it would be flexed markedly and repeatedly. Now, this condition might not apply to GP construction, but it does apply to using marine or “Finnish” plywood for some kinds of paddle blades.

The reason is that flexing “rolls” the internal wood fibers in layers perpendicular to the line of flexing. Eventually this can break down the layers and result in failure.

I was given a bunch of sitka spruce and Finnish plywood by a pilot who had made an “experimental” biplane. The sitka was used for any strut or member that might be flexed, as well as subjected to compression or tension on its long dimension. The Finnish plywood was used ONLY for internal pieces, such as cross-sections of the wings, which were subject to compression or extension forces, but NOT to flexing. These “experimental” planes are inspected at intervals by an FAA rep to see that the materials are used and assembled properly.

Getting Wood
I have called/stopped by 5 lumber yards and even a saw mill. Every body tells me to go look somewhere else.

Is it possible to find quartersawn wood at a Home Depot or run of the mill lumber yard? I have a close friend who builds furniture for a living. He can get me what I need but I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to destroy a nice piece of wood on my first attempt at making a paddle.