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Paddle woods

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by pklonowski, Nov 25, 2006.

  1. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Regardless of the wood being used and its density/weight, I have found that the BALANCE of the paddle is a far more critical issue than the actual weight.

    With a blade heavy paddle you are lifting the weight of the blade with every stroke. With a well balanced paddle, the weight of the blade is countered by the weight of the shaft and grip. So, while you still have to wield the total weight of the paddle, it doesn't feel so tedious as the sense of weight is shared between both hands. If you can even make the paddle grip heavy, this perception is attenuated even further.
  2. Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    Those confusing Mahoganies.....

    Meliaceae is a huge family of tropical trees whose members are found in Africa, Austrailia, New Zealand, South America, Central America, The Philippines, and a few other areas. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,200 members. In that family is the genus Khaya which are found in Africa, they tend to be rich brownish-red. Many of these don't make it to market as they are not known well enough to have market demand/value and are likely used as fuel for heating or co-generation probably for ore plants. The True Mahoganies come from the genus Swietenia. Swietenia macrophylla (big-leaf Mahogany) is the one you know of as Honduras Mahogany and is highly decay resistant, used for boats, furniture, etc. It tends to be more on the rust/orange side. What I see in your photo that you provided in Post 3 looks like neither. The dead give-away is the ribbon figure that you see. This is very typical of genus Entandrophragma cylindricum; another member of the Meliaceae family. The common market name for this wood is Sapele. sah-PEE-LEE. The color too, matches what I am used to seeing and it makes sense that you would have a piece of solid "Ribbon Stripe Sapele" as opposed to Ribbon Stripe Khaya (none exists that I know of) which would not show this figure but rather a typical "cathedral" type figure or perhaps drapae figure. This is not what you have. Stay tuned for more in a minute......
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  3. Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    Those confusing Mahoganies..... part#2

    O.K. I'm back..... Let's go back to your original question. Has it been used? Should I make it into a paddle? Yes. If that is what your heart desires, there is no good reason not to.
    Wood is measured in several ways. Weight by cubic foot lb/ft3, specific gravity, hardness (bending strength, impact resistance, stiffness, crushing strength). There are other factors to consider beyond that. Use of completed item will help determine this. What will it be used for and how? Is it the best wood for this use? While I don't have any info on it's decay resistance, apparently Sapele is a dimensional stability problem when it's green and being dried. Dry it too fast and it twists, cups, etc. Usually woods that do that have a seriously interlocked grain characteristic like White Oak and some of the Eucalyptus's. BUT, your's is already probably dried 6-8% moisture content so you don't need to think about that! Since many paddles are made out of ASH, I have used it as a comparison. In weight, they are within 1 lb/ft3 of each other so lets say it's the same since you are using so little of it. The difference in weight of the completed paddle could be made up just in the applied finish. Strength: Compares about the same on all levels as well. Will it be beautiful? Outstanding! Don't stain it. The pigment particles in the stain will cover that figure and it's irridescent beauty will be masked. Clear finish only. If I knew if it was decay resistant, you could probably just saturate it with oil and enjoy it like that. You could test small pieces with different finishes on it in a bucket of water for a week or month if you'd like to experiment.
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2007
  4. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist


    Well, that is interesting! The guy at the lumber yard said it was Khaya, but reading about sapele sounds like it could be the case. Hoadley ("Identifying Wood") indicates Sapele has an aromatic, cedarlike odor.... which I don't detect, even when freshly cut, but my sniffer isn't too good. Not sure what to make of this... but paddle parts will be pretty. Thank you!
  5. Splinter

    Splinter Wood Girl #1186

    Just do it

    That is all.

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