A is for Aspen

In my paddle making world, there is room for the more engineering-oriented wood attributes, e.g. strength to weight, straightness, hardness, porosity, etc. As well there is room for appearance attributes, like color, texture, grain.

Aspen is one of the woods I like to use for both canoe paddles and paddleboard paddles. It has, in my opinion, attributes from both camps. I use it with cedar because is a little stronger. How much I don’t know. Short of breaking two equal pieces I don’t know how a number could even be attached. I also use it with cedar because I like the creaminess of the aspen next to the buffness of the cedar.

I am hard pressed to determine what species of genus poplar I am using, or if possibly I am using multiple species. The quaking aspen I think of is ‘Populus tremuloides’ aka Quaking Aspen. My suspicion though, given that I live in Wisconsin, is that the wood I am using is actually ‘Populus grandidentata’ aka Bigtooth Aspen. All this courtesy of my time in the shop looking at it as the wood becomes a paddle, as well as

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