I just did a big run of paddles for a TV production, a reality show documenting a voyageur trip from Lachine to Winnipeg, using birchbark canoes, authentic gear, etc. I though that you might like to hear, considering that one of the traditional woods for these paddles was Birch, that I had a very positive experience with this wood. It is comparable to Cherry for weight, is strong and supple, has a fine grain texture almost as fine as cherry or maple. Most importantly, when you carve it, it stays put! At least these ones did. The blade doesn't wiggle around like a divining rod while you carve it. So if you like single piece paddles, feel comfortable in using birch. I'll post photos when I get the film developed.