Poplar for a GP ?

Fate has delivered unto me several 5"x5" x 8’ timbers of what appears to be poplar. Has anuone carved a GP out of this wood?


I have not, but…
I considered it once because it was very clear grained. I was told it’s too brittle and would most likley snap under normal use. Now, if you wanted to use it like a foam core and glass it, I think you’d be well off. It would add weight without much in the way of adding structural integrity though.


Which poplar do you mean?
So called yellow, or tulip poplar would be ok for a GP. It is not “brittle” but one has to inspect the grain of the length chosen for use to make sure there are not any anomalies in grain direction. Once dried, it is not particularly light. Usually yellow poplar carves and “works” fairly easily. It would not equal cherry as a paddle wood, but it might be a good “learner” wood for one to work out the kinks of one’s paddle making technique.

Basswood and yellow poplar have sometimes been used for the interior bracing of harpsichords, because they are fairly stable woods.

I’ve used it
sandwiched between slats of red cedar. I actually did it out of necessity: couldn’t find any red cedar 2’x4’s that were worth a darn at the time, so I went to Home Depot and found WRC slats that were 1 1/8" X 8’. I got 3 slats in WRC and put them around 2 equally-sized slats of poplar.

Glued them together with Titebond marine wood glue and clamped, then carved out a GP like any other. Works and looks great and seems just as light as one made out of a WRC board.

I like that plan

– Last Updated: Feb-07-09 8:42 AM EST –

That's probably what I'd do too. Generally Longshadow is right as far as I know But I don't have experience with other species like G2d.

Or glass the paddle. Adds little weight
and should eliminate snapping worries.

Carbon hides the pretty wood, but it is
a good deal lighter than glass.

It should work…
…but I haven’t actually tried it, mainly because I usually don’t have trouble finding cedar locally. A poplar paddle will be heavier and stiffer than cedar. It may be more brittle as others have suggested, but I couldn’t say for sure. If it’s strong enough, that really shouldn’t matter. Poplar is known for being very stable, which is why it is commonly used for drawers, casework and shelving, and that’s a desirable trait for paddle wood. It has low rot resistance, so you will want to finish the paddle, rather than leaving it bare and make sure it’s allowed to dry between uses, especially if you paddle fresh water.

Let us know how it works out for you.