How To Customize Your PaddleAbout Style, Length, Feather, Aesthetics...
What does it take to get a paddle custom built for you? There are some aesthetic and structural choices- beyond just the choice of a blade design.
And then there is a choice of the bang strip- the outermost piece of wood in the blade. It supports the edging so it has to be dense. Most of the bang strips get covered with the veneer tips- but you can still see them a little bit and it’s a good place to use showy woods like Curly Maple, Chestnut, Curly Sassafras, Aspen, golden Osage Orange, or Cherry.
The veneers for the paddle tips are thin sheets of wood that give the tips better looks and endurance. I have several good versions of the popular Curly Maple. I also have two excellent woods from Japan. “Tochi” is a deep honey gold color with deep wavy figure and the American name for the tree it comes from is Horse Chestnut. And “Tamo” (Japanese Ash) is a lighter blond color with deep figure that really shows up well under finish. In darker tones I have Makore (mahogany color) and Sapele (very dark). They both have excellent figure. The dark veneers do tend to show more scratches though as the paddle ages. I also have sweet Quilted Maple ( a swimmier look than Curly Maple) and Pommelle Maple- which is similar to Quilted but looks like little bubbles in the water. I also have small amounts of other veneers so don’t be afraid to ask!
RivrStyx are traditionally custom sized for the grip areas based on a tracing of your hand or any other specific measurement or requests you might have.
These are your basic choices. You might want to start by deciding how heavy duty you want the paddle or how much lightness is an important quality you want. You can base your bladewood choices on that and then choose the veneers for pretty much aesthetic reasons.