Has anyone tried building with this type of wood and if so how is it working out? I have some for testing and it seems almost scary light weight. Now if it turns out strong as well it should be good to use but it someone has tested it before I would be interested in the outcome. Thanks, JollyRoger
Building with paulownia wood(17 posts) (9 voices)
I think the fact that it's warp-resistant and used for making surfboards (and they don't glass their boards), as well as a core for lightweight touring skis, it sounds perfect for marine use--where it's also used for kayaks and canoes, paddles and larger boats.
Thanks for raising the topic--I'd never heard of it before and enjoyed the research. This was interesting: http://www.storerboatplans.com/Faq/paulownia.html
StripBuilder: have you used it yet?
The Naples Kayak Company sells paulownia Greenland paddles made by Jim O'neill. I believe they are as light as similar carbon paddles.
KB I had not seen that info, thanks. It is seeming better the more research I do. Plus it is a farmed tree so Green!
TT I have enough wood currently to make a greenland paddle so I am going to try while waiting on more wood. Thanks for the heads up on that. Plans that I just downloaded said height plus the length of elbo to fingertips and my dim. comes out to something over 90 inches but it also said most greenlands are not over 85 inches. Anyone know the correct length for a greenland?
I did not finish all the strenght testing that I wanted to do but I think I will continue starting with the paddle. It seems plenty strong enough. Surely if I can carve props I can carve out a greenland. I have actually paddled using a propeller (floatplane self rescue) but that is a whole nother story.
still interested to see what SB and others have to say.
Paulownia wood sounds interesting. I haven't seen any of it where I live here in Iowa. It doesn't grow up north like the cedars do but in North Augusta, where we're moving in June, it grows well. I'm going to look for some of it when I get there. I wouldn't classify it as a hardwood, but more as a softwood as I consider the cedars to be. It should work well in applications where cedars are used but not in place of oak, ash, hard maple, or cherry.
Hmmm, always interested in wood and this is one I've never heard of before - thanks for pointing it out. Stripbuilder, let me know how it works out for making a paddle if you do one. I'm thinking of taking a GP class this summer to make my own.
Regarding the paddle length questions, you might want to read what I placed on the Qajaq USA website at http://www.qajaqusa.org/Equipment/paddles.html. Arm span with outstretched fingers, plus a cubit (elbow to fingertips) is a common measurement. This is just a starting point for experimentation.
I don't agree with whoever said that 85 inches was a common "limit". My main carbon expedition GP is 88 inches (I'm 5'10").
One factor that is often overlooked is that the paddle must fit both you AND the kayak you are using. Most of the sizing instructions assume you have a low-volume Greenland-style kayak. For example my expedition paddles are 88" long, 3.25" - 4" wide blades, with a 22" paddle shaft. This works great for my "Greenland-style" kayaks such as an Anas Acuta. For my Epic 18x, the foredeck is much higher, the kayak is wider, and the kayak sits much higher off the water, making it impossible to fully bury the blades, and a different paddle size is needed. I'm going to make a new GP for this kayak -- I'm still kicking around the dimensions, it will probably be 89-90 inches, 3.5 inch blade width and at least a 24 inch paddle shaft.
At the Greenland competitions, the racers prefer very sharp edges and sharp tips for speed and efficiency. Paddles built for rolling often have much more rounded edges. For a watertribe event, I'd go with very sharp edges. The trade-off is that holding the blades is not as comfortable and the sharper edges/tips are more prone to damage.
I have seen Jim's paulownia paddles and they are super-light. If anyone knows of a good source of lumber, please let me know. I usually use Western Red Cedar as it is readilly available. One trick to make the cedar tougher, when the paddle is almost finished is to take a smooth metal rod or bone, and rub it hard on the surface (this used to be a wide practice among professional baseball players with wood bats and was called "boning the bat"). This compresses the soft surface fibers and gives a little more durability. I leave the paddle "bare" or use pure tung oil to finish.
IMO, the best instructions to make a GP are Chuck Holst's, on the Qajaq USA website on the page previously mentioned.
(founder and former President of QajaqUSA)
Glad to hear that Cheri and Turner are connecting with Greenland-style paddlers in Oz! Both are very good friends and first-rate coaches.
Thanks for the info on the paddles, that cleared up my length issue. Here is the boat that I have started on using this wood. It is a kruger seawind replica and is strip built. I will be using kevlar over the wood. http://www.jemwatercraft.com/proddetail.php?prod=StripNW17x28
That's a neat boat Roger, are you documenting your build anywhere?
BTW... when I built my XCR, I only used Kevlar on the inside. Kevlar is strongest when stressed in tension, as it would be during an impact when used on the inside of a boat hull. Most of those I consulted during my build discouraged the use of Kevlar on the hull exterior due to a variety of issues. I used 4oz glass on the exterior with a double layer on the bottom. Also, a 6oz keel strip and epoxy/graphite mix for "bottom paint." This has survived an UltraMarathon and 1 1/2 EC (didn't finish 2011) There are some scratches in the graphite, but they are easy to repair.
Anyway... my $0.02
Thanks for your advise, Very good information that I was not aware of. I assumed that I was going with kelvar on the outside but will now have to do differently and do more research. I will use the graphite mix information as well after just having paid $150 for a gal of bottom paint. I will be putting build info on my WT blog. Currently only have forms cut and building strongback, getting wood cut up and getting garage cleared of another build so I should be actual boat building in a week. I hope that this is the expedition boat that I will have for a very long time. Stripbuilder has had some good information as well (another thread) so I am getting some tips that are keeping me from mistakes. Although I guess the old saying is true - Failures are not mistakes just lessons learned. I've learned alot! Good $0.02! Thanks. Roger
the kevlar is grate, when I bilt my last kayak we did sume tests, one of which was with a 308 rifel , we made up sume test squears, 3mm ply wood with one layer of 4oz kevlar , one with nuthing, the round totaly abliterated the wood, only splinters left , the kevlar stoped the round , no penetration but the wood baking was shaterd .
a 308 round is big, I dont think you cold hit or be hit by enything as brutal in the water , Im of the conclusion that strength in compresion ect.... isent going to be an isue , mabe abrasion is ?
I got some of my fabrice layup advice from the Kayak Forum (sponsored by Guillemot Kayaks):
The graphite / epoxy thing was something suggested by the designer of my boat, but has been discussed and used extensively on the Duckworks site. The idea is that you mix graphite into your final layer of epoxy and when you hit a rock or something, a little of the graphite srapes off and creates a very slippery surface that should slide over the obstacle. Sounds like a good theory to me.
I bought an O'neill paddle from Chris at Naples Kayak two weeks ago and love it. The paulownia paddle is very similar in weight to my friends lumpy paddle. I'll let you know how it stands up to my abuse. I just learned how to roll my explorer, practice at the beach and pry off the bottom when I miss the roll. MikePosted 9 months ago #
I have put epoxy with graphite mixed in it on three kayaks and it does make a very tough coating. It helps things like rocks slide across the surface without leaving deep scratches. JCPosted 9 months ago #
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