Wood type experts

Can any of you woodworking guru’s tell what kind of maple I have here? More of a curiosity than anything. Not sure if you can tell by grain or not, googled it and came up empty.




Hardwood dealers only distinguish between two types of maple - hard and soft . I can’t tell which you have based on that picture (even in person it’s sometimes hard), but the two work very differently. If you shave the wrong way with a chisel, hard maple will split clean off in a sharp stiff splinter, whereas soft maple kinda tears away in a stringy strand that doesn’t want to separate completely from the board.

Neither do well when wet, and you won’t find much maple on boats. It turns black when the finish is broken, and rots more quickly than most woods. Ash is a very hard, strong, and rot-resistant species that has the same color as maple. I’d think it would make for good accent/protection wood in a paddle. White oak is also durable and holds up well around water. All the mahoganies are good slightly softer choices. They are very rot resistant, and very nice to carve (especially south american. african next, and asian varieties are the pithiest and cheapest).

Happy carving.


Nate. Learned something new! Slowly as I build the paddles I am getting quite a surplus of extra wood of many types left over. Can start being a little creative now with the lamination!

Thanks for the tips on the other wood’s. Every tip helps.

Might try looking at the excellent article on GlenL’s boat building site on boat building woods. Will find lots of good info there free.

Bill H.

roger that
thanks for the info. There pieces are for my greenland paddles. Im gonna go with ash I think for my kayak. I still have to buy a saber saw…so the kayak is sorta on hold until I can convince my wife I need more tools.

sure is a excellent resource. thanks again

I highly reccomend Bruce Hoadley’s

– Last Updated: Jan-07-10 7:56 AM EST –

books to anyone getting into woodworking, starting with "Understanding Wood".

Don’t forget curly and tiger maple
and birs eye maple. All have very distinctive grain patterns, very pretty. And expensive, you would know if you bought some by the sticker shock. All are not good for carving due to the wild grain patterns. But the sure do look nice.

concept…going to use the weaker wood for the spine (Red Cedar) and the heavy wood for the blades(Maple)

not too sure about the weight, but the thing should have some definate swing weight to it

Best wishes


understanding wood
gotcha. I’ll check out my library tomorrow and see about getting that one.

yeah I’ve been experimenting with pretty well anything and everything. I don’t have people to learn from really. Just a novice paddle builder learning by trial and error.

is probably something You should buy …

old news for some, but sounds like it’s just what You need.


Best Wishes


yes many figures
But they’re still either hard or soft maple. Birdseye, tiger, quilted, straight, etc - all are grain variations of the same wood.

Thanks roy
I have searched everywhere in Ontario for it,and have not found it. Prior to starting making my first one I stumbled on the website but was a bit weary of sending someone money in the mail to someone I didnt know. Now that I know Bryan is a real person I may just buy it.Paypal and internet buying from sites other than MEC I cant bring myself to do…a lil old fashion I guess.

Does the book expand much more than Chuck Holst’s PDF or Matt Johnson’s video?

Not only is B Nystrom a real person,
he also often posts on Paddling.net!

on this forum…He wrote it a very long time after I had any need of a how to book. So I have never read it. It just seems to get good reviews from people starting out making their own paddles.

I’ve heard coments from people that I know, like “it has the things we already know”…but You are not at that stage and need to know “what everybody else already knows” It could save you a lot of time and money just to figure it all out.

It seems that , for You , it is the book.(from what I’ve heard)

This is a good time for other people to join the thread. People that actually have read the book.

I have no vested interest in this book, It just seems to apply to Your situation.

and it’s winter, good time to read and make paddles.

Best wishes


maple paddles
They are heavy, but with t nice grain can be breathtakingly beautiful. I have one of bird’s ey maple that rarely gets used but makes me smile every time it look at it hanging on the wall. It makes me want to go pick up one of my cherry, spruce or cypress paddles and hit the water!

I’d like to see a pic of that paddle
It must be stunning.

GP Book
It’s a very well done book and useful resource - from selecting appropriate lumber to the final finish. I made a jig to hold the paddle following a template in the book. I had already made 6-7 paddles before getting the book, but still found it useful.



GP Book
I bought Brian Nystrom’s book last year. I agree that if someone has already made Greenland paddles it may not give the best bang for your buck, except maybe a tip or technique slightly different than what you had been doing. You can carve a paddle without the book. I would describe it as more of a manual than a book. It is instruction. If you have never carved a GP (like me) I definitely recommend it. The transaction with Brian was easy. It will save you hours of spinning wheels or making mistakes which you can avoid and and you will probably end up with a better paddle IMHO. It is like starting with experience even though you have none. I carved my first GP for my wife, who now has zero interest in her all-carbon Werner Kalliste. A happy wife is a happy life. It was definitely worth it to me. Good luck. Steve

what I had heard…

$22.50 with shipping is a lot cheaper for someone just starting, than the cost of buying many pieces of wood, just to end up with several wall hangers. (this is experience speaking)

if a person would like to learn the hard way…after all…it’s the way we all started before there was much to read.

I just think the entire value of this book for the OP would be small compared to the expence of trial and error.

doesn’t take much wood to amount to the cost of knowledge in a book.

Brian did a lot of study and leg work to put all the stuff in print…I’m sure like everything in the Greenland side of things, He’s making his fortune on this one book…:>)

Best Wishes