(or Wood is just plain gorgeous!)
The longer I keep my hands in the game of wood working, the more I come to see wood in its limitless forms as my favorite palette. The picture above contains four simple examples and one of my favorite all time examples of beautiful surprises in the most unexpected (maybe common?) places. I like to eat dessert first, so let’s start with the surprise.
That left paddle, the first one, is an experimental paddle, one of my first double bent shaft SUP paddles. When I’m doing something new I use lumberyard pine, because it is cheap(er) than cedar, so it’s a bit easier to stop and start over when I make a mistake,- AND I also happen to really like pine in its many resplendent forms.
So I went to the lumberyard and picked up a couple sticks, straight off the common pile in one of the sheds. 2x4x96 inches of lumberyard pine. I started cutting one of them up and right away it was different. Mainly, it was wet, on the inside of the wood. It turns out that spalting, which is what I found so beautiful, is caused by a mold that needs warmth and moisture to grow and do its thing. Happily, the spalting did its thing around a knot, which further added to the beauty. The knot, in turn, was big enough and rotten enough to allow the water into the heart of the wood in the first place, and yet strong enough to pass muster and make it into the world as a 2×4 at a lumberyard, and then survive my ripping it into thin strips.
There was enough on display when I saw this 2×4, that rather than set it aside as ‘bad’, I bought it as ‘treasure’, while still intent on using it to build one of several test double bend paddles.
Second from left is a shaft that is all white pine. In addition to liking pine, this shaft also has shaft ending that are shaped like a chisel. I kind of like the look.
Third from left is cedar. This shaft features a racing stripe of white pine in the middle of the normal thickness cedar strips.
Finally, on the far right is a normal width shaft. I like the look of a wider shaft (the three on the left). They also offer more wood to work with when you are shaping the shaft. One inch stock works just fine. I have built many paddles with it, but I’m going more towards wider shaft pieces.
Nature offers all sorts of amazing colors across an amazing variety of wood species. Nearly all of them work just fine for paddles. Try something different! Or common. Or unusual.
Wood is good!