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Saturday, April 24, 2010

Once cut our Greenland paddle of spruce and western red cedar began to look something like what could be called a paddle. No glue and still pretty raw.

A close up of what will eventually be a blade shows how much more carving , rasping, shaping and sanding still needs to be done.

Almost looking like a dessert the paddle is glued and clamped and set to dry. Set to dry only to soon be immersed in water. Kind of ironic I guess that it has to dry to serve its' function being primarily wet.

To this paddle which we laminated with spruce and cedar I will be adding tips from a wood called Wenge (weng-gay). It is a tropical timber, very dark in color, with a distinctive figure and a strong partridge pattern. The wood is heavy and hard, good for paddle tips. The wood is a product of the Millettia laurentii tree, native to the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea. It has also been called by these names African Rosewood, Congolese Rosewood, Faux Ebony, Dikela, Mibotu, Bokonge and Awong.

I chose it because of its' dark color and very distinctive pattern as mentioned above. I plan to stain my paddle a hint of black and I thought this would match. I will post a sample of the wood and eventually you will see the end result, paddle, tips and all. I am anxiously awaiting the next step.

Interestingly enough the dust when cutting or sanding Wenge can cause dermatitis similar to the effects of poison ivy and needless to say is an irritant to the eyes. The dust can also cause drowsiness and the splinters are septic. That part I can attess to as I already have had to pluck out two. What a beautiful grain though.

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