Oak suitable for paddles?

Post questions & answers about; paddle selection, building and maintenance; paddling techniques; boat transportation, storage & maintenance.
Post Reply
Posts: 727
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Bancroft, Ontario

Oak suitable for paddles?

Post by Rick » Sat Jan 31, 2009 10:22 am

Other hardwoods are often recommended for making paddles, but I have never seen an oak paddle, either carved or offered for sale at stores... any reason why or am I missing something?

Before 1950, oak outwales were offered as more durable than the standard white spruce on cedar and canvas canoes... oak paddles were not mentioned.

I have some nice oak boards I could use in a paddle, has anybody tried this?

User avatar
Patricks Dad
Posts: 1378
Joined: Wed Oct 13, 2004 1:11 pm
Location: Warrenville, Illinois

Post by Patricks Dad » Sat Jan 31, 2009 11:26 am

I'm certainly no expert on this but the only reasons I might find against using oak might be the weight and possibly the coarseness of the grain (a "rough" shaft might be hard on the hands). Give it a try!
Randy Pfeifer
(847) 341-0618

Posts: 727
Joined: Thu May 27, 2004 9:23 am
Location: Bancroft, Ontario

Post by Rick » Mon Feb 02, 2009 9:23 am

Thanks for replying, PD... the surface roughness might be it, making oak splinter more easily. There must be something wrong with it so I 'll keep an eye out.

I decided on a compromise and glued up a laminated blank - light white spruce core faced on four sides with ash for durability, the blade and grip made with oak, mahogany and cherry for looks. Planing down the block of laminates and watching the layers emerge is a real pleasure and helps overcome cabin fever.


alick burt
Posts: 255
Joined: Wed Sep 07, 2005 2:41 am
Location: united kingdom

oak for paddles

Post by alick burt » Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:11 pm

I think one disadvantage may be that if an oak paddle gets wet (i.e water gets through whatever varnish or oil finish you give it)it may turn an unsightly black in colour.
The grain can be coarse and the splinters can hurt as they contain tannic acid!
I dont think this should stop you using it if you really want to.
Alick Burt

Post Reply