WRC bugs me. It makes great ,lite

paddles but dents so easily. I use polyester resin on the blades but like the loom finished with spar varnish.Any finish that limits denting that has good feel?

WRC quarter sawn is more …

– Last Updated: Dec-19-12 10:22 PM EST –

..... resistant to denting than flat sawn . Also cost signifigently more . Quarter sawn is often called VG (vertical grain) .

Covering the blades with cloth and resin improves impact resistence to denting . Also allows for a thinner blade (maybe less weight but can't say that for certain) .

I was a skeptic about cloth and resin covering at one time , a wood must be wood only purist ... but my cloth and resin covered paddle blades have changed my purist attitude . I'm a fan now !!

Poly is soft
And a full cure can take a long time. Even green commercial paddles can dent easily before full cure.

WRC is soft too, so look at your grain. Look for tight grained quartersawn if that’s what you’re going to use.

Don’t rule out other woods.

Also, you can try an epoxy base layer covered with varnish.

Costs more???
How so? In any pile of 2x4s you’re going to find flat sawn, rift sawn and quarter sawn boards. No lumber yard that I’ve seen charges different prices for different cuts. If you’re getting screwed price-wise on quarter sawn 2x4s, buy 4x4s and rip each one into 2 quarter sawn paddle blanks.

some dents will "heal"
You have to see it to believe it but oil finished (and bare) quarter-sawn WRC paddles do dent easily, but unless the wood fibers are actually cut, even large dents often swell back to normal after letting the paddle soak.

On several occasions I have had GPs with deep dents that “healed” perfectly. Now you can’t even tell where the original dent was.

That’s another reason I prefer oil and soft finishes on solid WRC GPs.

To facilitate this, I will put a wet rag on the damaged area for a few days.

You can make an unfinished WRC paddle tougher by taking a metal rod and “burnishing the surface”. Pro baseball players used to do the same thing to their wood bats with a piece of smooth bone to harden the surface.

Greg Stamer

yes , cost more definately …

– Last Updated: Dec-20-12 12:10 AM EST –

...... we aren't talking SPF framing lumber here , 2 x 4's and such ... we're talking select clear vertical grain WRC .

I've purchased so much cedar in my time I can't tell ya how much . Am just about to finish using up the last bit of the most recent $11,000. order of select clear VG WRC .

Flat sawn cost less per BF . Flat sawn weighs less per BF as well . Flat sawn is more compressable , softer . Flat sawn's bending moment isn't as structurally strong either . Quarter sawn VG has always been more expensive across the board in any lumber type ... but it's doubtful you'll find a framing 2 x 4 that's quarter sawn select VG anywhere .

Rift sawn is the most expensive .

You ask "how so" about the different mill cuts being more or less exspensive . Flat sawn has the least amount of waste per log , and the fastest mill time labor wise . Quarter sawn has signifigently more waste per log and takes more labor time per log . Rift sawn has the greatest ampount of waste per log and the greatest labor time to mill produce . Then there is the deminsional stability of the different cuts to consider . Flat sawn is most unstable , where as quarter and rift are the more deminsionally stable . Then there is the structural ratings of different mill cuts , again flat sawn would be the least ... some would say the rift has the highest structural rating , but my money is on the quarter sawn as being equal to it or greater .

Good application for penetrating epoxy
Have you considered it? Give the paddle a first coat with penetrating or thinned epoxy, maybe even warm the wood first to help draw the epoxy in.

I have used Smiths on loose fibers of water damaged wood with good results. The stuff is like water. Watch the fumes though…

Beauty and Beholders
A WRC paddle with just enough oil on it to give it some color is a beautiful thing… to the eye and the hand. Sand out the dings every year or so and re-oil.

A slick, shiny, plastic looking paddle is just butt ugly.


– Last Updated: Dec-20-12 10:47 AM EST –

Take a whale or seal bone and start rubbing.


WRC has only one advantage - weight.

I like pine for a GP and I laminate them. I have WRC too and you have to make them thicker otherwise they are not strong enough. So, it’s weight vs. shape.

Why don’t you think there are commercially made wood paddles out of unfinished wood? They all have glass and polyester coatings.

On the other side of it all, I don’t mind dings and bruises because that’s what a GP is to me. Here’s a shot of my most used GP:


Isn’t it beautiful!

That paddle’s got some stories to tell
Yeah I can almost hear it talking!

Polyester resin on wood??
Never worked for me. West, Raka, System 3 epoxy. Is there any commercial paddle maker that uses other than epoxy and high quality varnish?

I would like to hear about anyone who has used quality vinylester resin on wood. However, polyester and vinylester resins don’t “keep”. Epoxy keeps for a few years.

I’ve removed dents in wood by wetting a cotton gauze pad, placing it over the dent, and then holding a hot tacking iron on top of the gauze. But WRC dents are less likely to come completely out.

Back in the early 60s, when Pocock rowing shells were made of western red cedar, Pocock started putting a very thin layer of glass on the outer surface of the hulls. That made them less likely to dent, or crack. One can use other, lighter cloths for surfacing, but carbon cloth doesn’t look that classy.

Thanks; I’m just going to use the
paddle and touch it up as needed.

I don’t build GPs but I do use WRC
for most of my single blades. Almost all of my blades are sheathed with FG and epoxy.

My epoxy of choice is West. Standard resin with 207 hardener.

I toughen the shafts by coating them liberally with with the same resin/hardener. If the shafts are warmed under heat lamps prior to coating, the epoxy thins considerably as it is brushed on. The heat lamps are then turned off, allowing the shaft and epoxy to cool. This seems to draw more of the resin in and eliminates any out-gassing. A light sanding, prepares them for varnish. If a mat or “natural” look and feel is desired, the varnish is sanded to 320 or 400 grit. If a gloss finish is requested, the varnish is sanded to 1200 then buffed appropriately.

Marc Ornstein

Dogpaddle Canoe Works

Custom paddles and woodstrip canoes

Epoxy Resin on…
…the blades only works for me - I like the feel of bare wood on the shafts. I coat about 2/3 of the blade area - seems to give good protection.

I agree but…
Polyester is a huge catagory of finishes far beyond the fiberglass laminating stuff with the little bottle of hardener available at boating stores. I can’t remember the exact brand but I ran into paddles and canoe wood parts coated with polyesters that were like wood coated in plastic. I’m not a chemist but if you do a search, your computer will explode with all the hits and various polyester coatings out there. They are usually not for the home builders because they get sprayed and can kill you.

Light as I can find
What 's the big deal with a few dents? I look for light 2 x 4’s or 5/4 clear cedar, rip it down the center and laminate a piece of lattis down the middle, Mine have very small diameter looms, thin blades and are around 3" wide. I finish them by rubbing in a light coat of epoxy. Haven’t broken one yet. Buy my stock from a local lumber yard. Clear cedar is clear cedar, no price diff. and you can look through the whole stock as long as you put it back the same way.

treasure hunt…
If I can’t find decent vertical grain WRC, I just go to the box stores or the local lumberyard and find clear 4X4 cedar fence posts with tight grain. You then cut one or (maybe) two GP paddle blanks, orienting the cuts so that you have vertical grain.

For smaller lumber, if you have ample free time, you can almost always find a piece of great vertical grain hiding amongst the junk boards.

Of course, there’s a difference between needing a board or two for personal use, and someone who demands a constant supply for commercial purposes.

Greg Stamer

String’s paddle
I saw a photo of a paddle String carved. It’s beautiful and I can understand why he wants the best protection for it. My suggestion is to keep re-applying an oil finish on a WRC paddle and enjoy the look as it is distressed from used; some people will pay extra for that look.

I carve GP paddles and each time I put finish on freshly carved paddles I put a coat on my favorite personal paddle. My paddles are laminated with white ash on the leading edges of the blades so i don’t have to worry about dents there. The rest of the paddle is distressed from use but those blemishes improve the look in my opinion and the many coats of Watco Teak Oil look great.

thanks Steve.