Maple for a GP?

Paddle makers, ever used maple for a GP? Certainly dense enough. Kind of a silly question since I already have it.

Depends on your definition of

White Pine = 24# / cu ft

Sitka Spruce = 26# / cu ft

WRCedar = 30# / cu ft

Cherry = 36# / cu ft

Black Walnut = 38# / cu ft

White Ash = 39# / cu ft

Maple = 43# / cu ft


Regardless, I bet it is pretty. Besides some prefer the extra swing weight and find UL GPs just don’t seat well in the hands.

Jim, where were you when I was at

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 2:45 PM EST –

the wood store?How about really thin blabes.

Right here, amongst my
beloved reference books.

Thin blades? Yeah, maple would probably handle that. But if you use paddle building instructions such as Chuck Holst’s the paddle will have a thick spine and gently rounded edges. The thickness creates bouyancy and lift while sculling, and the gentle edges are easy on the hands when doing extended paddle stuff such as rolls and sweeps.

But if you are building it for the Rapidfire, there is no reason you couldn’t slim the design down.


Likely silver maple
String before you depair over your new maple paddle, you may have a real gem made of a good wood for a paddle. The figure Jim is quoting on LBS/CF is for hard (sugar) maple. The book he is likely using (Useful Woods of the World, Flynn and Holder, does not even list silver maple (or white maple, soft maple), which is a very commom hardwood in the East and Midwest especially in flood plains. Now if this paddle truly is made of sugar maple, you better start pumping iron to use it; it will weigh a ton. But if this is really a silver maple paddle, the specific gravity is 44, making this wood one of the lighter hardwoods at 33 LBS/CF and a very acceptable wood for paddle making. Further, silver maple is the preferred wood used for guideboat oars because of its springy nature.

Maple is fairly hard stuff …
… rather dense and strong . I think Sugar Maple is most common sold in stores .

GP for kayak stuff right ?? I’d think those are generally lighter anyway because of the small width blade , so a little heavier wood like Maple might be nice .

What dia. shaft do you have in mind ??

Maple should easily be able to accomodate 1" x 1-1/16" , I would guess at that the paddle might be moderate soft flex , but maybe more on the moderate side , I think a little flex is a good thing for noes but then again maybe not for yaks ??

I know one thing about the Maple , you can really final sand it with 400 and 600 at the end of build (before coating finish) , to a glass smooth surface !!

Many guitar necks (Strats) , and some baseball bats are made of it . It does explode well when broken under stress , unlike say Cherry , Walnut or Mahog. …

I think it is silver maple.

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 5:46 PM EST –

I have no way to compare but I think it is lighter than the walnut they had. And much cheaper.
I intend to use it in the Tarpon.

Take pictures…

– Last Updated: Jul-25-08 6:19 PM EST –

... and weight it when done. I'd like to see a Maple GP, and see just how heavy it turns out.

Exploding paddle potential? Be sure you carry a spare too.

Cherry would be interesting too if it were cheaper - but even 20% heavier than WRC it's getting borderline acceptable (but as already noted, might be able to carve it leaner to compensate).

I made a single blade out of Cypress - nice to work, and tough - but I think that wood's way too heavy to do a GP with.

All are probably better as core and edge laminates in smaller amounts - with cedar/spruce elswhere.

Greyak = 50# / cu ft

I will. Truth is I love to build stuff
out of wood. I think I’m going to run some walnut stringers between the maple loom and blades.If it is too heavy to paddle with, it will be a pretty thing;another one for the wall.

The weight and and feel …
… of a kayaking dbl. blade paddle , must be alot more critical to the paddler than it would be for someone in a canoe .

I know a canoe paddler has lots of options also , and I do like a lighter traditional style myself (54"-56" x 8" beavertail). But if it were nessasary to use a heavier and even awkward style paddle in the canoe , (which has been the case before), the penalty just didn’t seem all that terrible (extreme).

When I think of a kayaker paddling though , I’m thinkin the penalty has to be at least doubled and probably even more .

Yes , I have been spoiled by light weight and powerful blade , so I can imagine how easily the same can happen with kayaking , even x2 spoiled , lol .

Sounds like a paddle
I’d like to wrap my hands around for a couple of hours and would love to see it on my next trip to Jocassee.

Paddlin’ on


string–Mitchell hardwoods

That’s almost better than sex.
At my age , probably is.

Maple for GP?
I tend to pick more rot resistant woods for my GPs. Especially when doing laminated paddles. Stuff like purpleheart, padauk, black walnut, sassafras, WRC and white cedar.

I did use maple for a couple of paddles, but only for armour and tips. As far as I know it’s still going on strong. I epoxied the tips and applied a polyurethane coating.

From top to bottom:

  1. storm paddle -laminated white cedar with ash tips
  2. pine/purpleheart/cedar laminate with beech tips

    (very heavy, beech not so good for tips)
  3. white cedar with purpleheart armour, favourite

    cruising GP
  4. WRC, blk walnut with ash tips, narrow blade with

    soft edges for rolling
  5. WRC, sassafras and maple tips
  6. Early spruce 2x4 proto with plastic tips
  7. Take-apart proto with pine, WRC and maple armour

lignum vitae… Ha.

Nice looking work.
Have you weighed them?

GP weights

These are rough numbers taken with a bathroom scale:

  1. 24 oz
  2. 48 oz
  3. 32 oz
  4. 16 oz
  5. don’t know, this was a commission from a friend,

    probably b/w 16-32 oz
  6. 40 oz
  7. don’t know, I sold this one too

    Some other paddles I made are in the same album. The one that looks like a double bladed canoe paddle is a hefty 48 oz. In that same photo, the one on top surprisingly only came out to 32 oz, despite all the wood that went into it. Purely for decoration. The all cedar with white epoxied tips is 24 oz.

How do you attach the tips?

tip joinery
I used tongue and groove joinery. When I made my first paddle with ash tips, I used this page for reference.

You could use mortise and tenon to make the end look cleaner. But it’s slightly more involved. I opted for the easier and more straight forward method.