Making paddles with pine
Pine how I love thee. Let me count the ways. Or something like that. With cedar and traditional boating woods there's a bit of snobbery. As in, 'ohh it's not cedar then it must not be good enough.' Teak is in there sometime too. But times they are a changin'. Western red cedar, a wood which I really like, is simply getting too hard to find. Never mind the cost or even the shipping. It's just plain getting scarce.
Most of the time the longer a problem lasts the easier the solution tends to be. That's the case here. All this opens the door for other woods.
Pine might be the only wood lighter in color than basswood. However, where basswood
is bland and amorphous (but still beautiful), pine has texture all over the place. Knots, dark heartwood,
light sapwood, wildly varying colors for no apparent reason, and more all appear in pine in a beautiful variety.
The wood is strong. It takes being shaped, although it might tear and gouge a bit easier than basswood or cedar. But still, reasonable pressure applied in a good way yields beautifully shaped wood.
As western red cedar goes away, other woods emerge from the dark corners. Pine is widely available and makes great paddles. What more could you want?