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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, My first post here. I was wondering what the general feeling is on wooden paddles. Im in the process of trying to purchase a paddle and as a carpenter am naturally drawn to wood. But Im curious what the more experienced paddlers here have to say in this regard. I have my selection narrowed to a Bending Branches Impression
Bending Branches - Impression Kayak Paddle

.... or if wood is not good a Werner Skagit.
Werner Paddles: Skagit

I greatly appreciate any information you could provide me and thanks in advance.

Marco
 

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Welcome to the site, and thanks for posting.

I used to work for Mad River Canoe/Wilderness Systems Kayaks, and we sold both Wood, Plastic/Aluninum and the Graphite/composites. My preference has always been to wood, and have owned four different Wood Kayak paddles. Don't currently own a boat, but still have my paddle.

Wood, even varnished, has a "warmer" feel, and a natural flex. It is lighter than the rec paddles, and comparable to the Composites. Composites require less care, and you will periodically have to refinish your wooden paddle. A minor inconvenience in a nice paddle.

Historically the Wildy/Mad River/Voyageur paddles were made by Grey Owl, Bending Branches or Mitchell, depending upon the style and year.

See if you can find an outfitter that will let you try different paddles on the water. There used to be a guy in Washington at Havens Wharf who did some outfitting and trips. Doug is a nice guy and he may have some different styles. If he's still there I think he used the name Pamlico Outfitters.

There's a guy at Cape Fear RV in Garner who also did trips down around Raven Rock. Brad liked his wood paddles, and he too might be able to let you try a few different styles.

Hope this helps.
 

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I cannot claim to have any experience with wooden paddles except canoeing. Those were what I`d guess would be considered pretty crappy.My 1st thought (I didn`t see on the page) Does it break down? If you are into exploring tight creeks, sometimes 1/2 a paddle is all you want. Storing/traveling can be easier broken down. Saw a guy lose a paddle once and another guy with him broke his down and they got back with 1/2 paddle each.
I am pretty hard on stuff and I think I`d end up ruining the blade on a wood one. Alot of pushing off in the rocks or "salmoning up streams" has put some nasty dings in my plastic paddles.
Didn`t see how much. Being a poor man I am probably stuck with the low end sticks. I have had paddles up to $ 120 bucks and my favorite is a $20 tourer from Dicks. Go figure. You got the quid, I`d say go for it and see.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Silty and Stu,
Yes, it is a two piece wooden paddle but your concern seems the same as mine. Im afraid of how the wood holds up to moderate use. I don't think rocks are going to be a concern for me but I guess you never know.
As to the money, they both are about the same price and I really would hate to spend $120 and not be happy or have to replace it in a year. Thanks for all the replies and please keep em coming.
Marco
 

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I was thinking along the same lines this past winter but the project was overcome by events. I have a book, and I'm sure you could get it on Amazon, that deals with canoe paddles of several kinds and includes a kayak paddle or double paddle, as they call it. The book is "canoe Paddles" by warren and gidmark. You might want to look farther, since I'd consider this one marginal for a kayak paddle.
I started looking for a source for some clear spruce or fir. Redwood would probably work if a more durable wood was laminated in for strength (maybe poplar or white oak). The contrast would look good. For glue I'd probably use epoxy (west marine system is excellect), but the polyurithane glues (gorilla) might be OK with some good varnish or epoxy finish to protect it from prolonged moisture. They are marketed as weatherproof, which is a bit short of totally waterproof.
The commercial wooden paddles are light and feel good in-hand. They have a "bayonet" type connection in the center of the handle, but a two piece is not necessary (only convenient). I've been paddling with a one piece double paddle in both canoes and kayaks for the past 20 years. It's getting packed for a another trip on Friday.
Go for it! I'd be interested if you decide to build the wooden paddle. Take some step-by-step photos for the web site. I'm sure I'm not the only interested party.
 

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I paddled with a guy once who had a wooden greenland-style paddle -- the skinny-bladed kind. (He's a paddler, not a fisherman...) Anyhow -- he had the paddle custom-made, mail-order... they apparently carve the shaft to the diameter, sized to fit a photocopy of your hands that you send 'em...
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I paddled with a guy once who had a wooden greenland-style paddle -- the skinny-bladed kind. (He's a paddler, not a fisherman...) Anyhow -- he had the paddle custom-made, mail-order... they apparently carve the shaft to the diameter, sized to fit a photocopy of your hands that you send 'em...
Wow, that seems a wee bit much for me... I certainly appreciate the info though. I feel ridiculous giving this so much thought considering its just a paddle but alot of people keep telling me it can make a huge difference if I ever paddle any longer distance. Which I might consider(I want to get my me and my fly rod into some farther off areas of the ICW) Thanks again for the help.
 

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It has been some time since I've done much paddleing but I used to be on the river almost weekly albeit I was looking for whitewater instead of fish. Have you considered a bent shaft paddle? From my experiance paddleing long distances is MUCH easier with a bent shaft since your wrists are in a more natural position. I don't know if this is even an option in touring paddles or not but in whitewater, the difference is huge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

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That looks pretty sweet for a sit-inside... An aftermarket tankwell!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
That looks pretty sweet for a sit-inside... An aftermarket tankwell!
Yeah I checked it out at the Great Outdoor Provisional here in Greenville. Its pretty sweet, it has a built in rod holder and also a place I can put some flys so I was pretty impressed with it. I think it will fit my needs really well, especially since Im in no hurry to drill any holes in my brand new kayak ; )
 

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The main thing to remember about paddles, they are the engine. I am with you on spending money on paddles. I always used a "cheap" one, until I used a nice one. I use an ergonomic designed shaft from AT (retail $399) that is so light I dont even know that I have it in my hands (seriously). And I cannot tell you how much of a difference it makes in not only making my paddling more efficient but also my day on the water more enjoyable. And I HATE paddling....if it wasnt for fishing, I would not own a kayak. Not my thing. So a nice paddle makes all the difference in the world, in my opinion.

Wooden paddles are interesting and those who have them would not trade them. I think as with many things in kayak fishing, it is personal preference. I would like to try one myself. Best advice is try it if you can...but buy what is going to be best for you and make you happy.
 

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Aydenflyfisher- if you are willing to spend $120, go with the Skagit. Its a good quality paddle, lightweight, has good blade shape and durability. As I do not know much about wooden paddles and I do think you will be satisfied with the skagit.
 
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