Price of Western Red Cedar 2 x 4 x 8 ft for Greenland Paddle?

I checked with a local wood dealer for Western Red Cedar for Green Paddle blanks - they only had them available in 2 in. x 4 in. x 4 in. for $13.30 + 8% tax / linear foot - once cut in half, each blank will cost $53.20 + tax. These are quality pieces with vertical grain, but I was surprised by the price. Is this typical today? Only a short time ago I recall the price being half that.

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We have a wood shortage in the US. Logging is challenged constantly by environmental groups. We import a lot of wood from Canada. Western red cedar is rarely planted and hard to find with old straight grain. If you think it is expensive, try buying some straight tight grained northern white cedar.

I bought a WRC 2x4x8 a few years ago and it cost $50. It is the last clear one I’ve seen. Made a nice GP that Castoff has.

Yep. Recently did buy some for bending (canoe ribs for sof project). It is beautiful wood. Easy to plane and bends very well to shape.

Local yard boss advised that part of their problem for getting good quality WRC is because of forest fires out west. A decent 2”x6”x12’ acquired last week for only $60 bucks. Yeah, I know… but can also remember carbon fiber, 30 years ago, when it was only $5.00 per lb. Supply-demand.

My prime wood dealers don’t normally have western red cedar. However they do have “spanish cedar” which has similar properties. It isn’t from Spain or cedar . it is likely from Gahana and us a actually a mahogany. It has a rich red tone like cedar and is resistant to moisture.

I often get 6 or 8ft lengths.

Jumping in with a further question.
I found some tongue and groove 1x6x8 WRC that appears pretty straigt and clean. Could I laminate two together to shape down for a Greenland Paddle?

With 1X you are probably better off ripping into 1 1/2" strips and then gluing up a stack maybe 3 1/2" or more wide (1.5" X 3.5" blank). Ideally you would want to run the glue faces through a planner (if you have access to one).

The advantage to rival51’s method is you don’t have to cut away as much waste wood, and you only need full width strips out at the tip of the blade. Laminating the paddle using Titebond III can take advantage of wood of different weight, strength or contrasting color.

Thanks for the advice.
I do have a nice planer. And, I was going to sandwich in some thin walnut strips I have from previous projects. I will just need to borrow a few clamps from friends (never enough clamps).

You’re in business. Walnut is great. Consider laminating along reference lines, that way you can use the different colored wood instead of having to draw lines that get shaved away. I’m sure you’ll have as much fun making it as you will have using it.

Thank you for confirming that price is in the ballpark, much appreciated. For anyone in our paddle-making group who is making a paddle for the first time and would like to practice by making their first paddle out of a less expensive wood before they attempt a Western Red Cedar one, which woods would you suggest and about what would they run for a 2 x 4 x 8 ft, or 2 x 4 x 8 ft cut from larger pieces like 4 x 4 or 2 x 12?

Although it’s not likely to be the cheapest way to get paddle blanks, finding a 4x4 that can be resawn to get two blanks with good grain is often the easiest way. Regardless of how you do it, be picky, as good grain is critical to making durable paddles.

If you are going to laminate I’d go with a resorcinol glue over Titebond III. Truly waterproof, you can immerse it forever. But it will show as a dark line which you may or may not find decorative. I don’t know how marine plywood is made now but back in the day the plys were glued up with resorcinol.

You need to make sure the tongue and groove stock is not already glued together (lots of solid wood lately is advertised as solid but is not) but if it is solid wood it should work. I use West Marine GFlex epoxy instead of glues. If you have not laminated large pieces before practice on a small test piece and check how flat you are getting the faces for the lamination, and keeping the joint uniform when you clamp and the wood skates around. With T and G you probably only need to lightly sand the surfaces to be joined with 60 grit sandpaper and a block.

Douglas Fir, heavy 5/4 x 4 inches by 8 ft, $31.80.

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If they can get it the price is “good”. A lot of places either won’t or can’t. But they can get zebra wood. :thinking:

Before you start getting into other woods it is best to look up the densities of those woods…
Take a look at the chart a page or two into this web site…


Agreed. Douglas Fir is heavy and in my experience, quite brittle. I’ve had it shatter when using a router to round edges and I avoid it like the plague these days. That shouldn’t be an issue when making a paddle, so It will work, but it will weigh a lot.

That price is just crazy!

Agree. Every wood has its positive/negative. If I had a choice, I’d pick Stitka Spruce for strength/weight. WRC seems soft, but it probably doesn’t shed Ling shards of grain that splits off. If that happens, I’ll work it down and cover it with fabric. I’ve worked with Douglas Fir. It came in at 8/4 and it’s clean. I believe I’ll make a laminated paddle. $31.80 is acceptable to me. I can lighten the blades with Spanish Cedar or Sapele, which is available in scrap. It’s an adventure. This will be the cheapest paddle I own.

If you want to see brittle, work with Wenge it’s like little toothpick.