Of course wood is part of every paddle, but there are a few different types of wood. New wood, to me, is straight from a plain old tree, cut down in a plain old timber sale and cut for standard use. Clear vertical grain western red cedar, even though it is special, rare and expensive fits this category.
Old wood I think of as salvaged wood. Here in the midwest, the typical old wood (if there can be a typical) is salvaged mostly from old barns. I love this thought and the wood is pretty awesome too. I like the thought of wood, possibly cut from the barn site and then used as part of the barn. A hundred or even 150 years later, the barn comes down. In lieu of burning it, which still happens on occasion, there is a thriving off the radar industry that pays farmers for their old barns and then comes out and deconstructs the barn and saves as much of the old barn wood as possible. I love that thought and have on occasion bought some amazing lumber from these wood salvage outfits. Wide, mostly quarter sawn, not clear, but very good. Wide boards, small tight knots. I can only imagine what the forest must have looked like when this was a tree.
Wood is good, especially for paddles. I use it as responsibly as I can and respect the past and the history that some of this wood represents. I think preserving it as part of a paddle is a great way to honor a time and place that none of us will ever see again.