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I need wood!

Discussion in 'Paddles and Paddle Making' started by Mike Wamhoff, Jun 21, 2011.

  1. Mike Wamhoff

    Mike Wamhoff Woodland Paddles

    I'm an artisan furniture maker - paddle maker looking for very special pieces of domestic hardwood - walnut , cherry, and figured yellow birch with distinct flame pattern. I have orders in hand I can't fill - my normal suppliers in SE WI have very little material that suits my needs at the moment. I normally purchase 6/4 material 6"-12" wide, sometimes 5/4 if very flat, true, and depending if rough sawn or skip planed -my working thickness is 1-1/8" off my planer. My paddles are hand carved from single planks and I only purchase wood with especially beautiful grain pattern and no grain run-out. I'm a new member and would be interested in hearing from others in my area with similar interests. Mike
  2. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    If you find a good source, please let us know! Since you're in Mequon, I assume you've checked into Kettle Moraine Hardwoods (, and Badger Hardwoods ( There's also a place in Madison, but I can't recall the name offhand.

    If you don't mind swinging by south of the border, there's WoodWerks Supply in Wauconda ( which has the world's worst web site, but sometimes has good lumber like you describe. I'd call first to verify.

    Also Owl Hardwoods ( has a store in Des Plaines, IL, near O'Hare Airport. Some of the road construction around there actualy got finished, so traffic's not as horrendous as usual.
  3. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Not sure why I didn't think of it, but if you can wait (hahaha) 'til the Woodworking show comes around, there's Cook Woods ( that brings a semi load of exotic and unusual woods, including figured woods. No sassafras, though.
  4. OP
    Mike Wamhoff

    Mike Wamhoff Woodland Paddles

    Thanks for the response Paul. I deal with Kettle Moraine often and Badger once in a while. Allen at has also been a good source recently - I got some nice wide walnut from him recently and he's going to have some sassafras in a month or so. To some extent I've made my life difficult by being so picky about my wood, but I decided when I started this as a business that the only way to do it successfully was to offer something that were really special, a major step above the couple of remaining big shops that still offer solid traditional style paddles.
  5. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I didn't know about Milwaukee Woodworks... Thanks! I'm close enough to make that trip, and often do.

    I do know what you mean about making your life diddicult by being too picky -- I have an almost-done ottertail that I won't complete until I get the right piece of wood for the grip faces. The bird's-eye maple just didn't look right..... Good thing nobody's waiting for it!
  6. Douglas Ingram

    Douglas Ingram Red River Canoe & Paddle

    Sourcing a steady supply of wood like you describe is, indeed, difficult!

    I decided a long time ago that the supply was too unreliable and now make a laminated blank that approximates the single/solid stock. It is more work to produce the paddle blank, but relieves me of so much other aggravation that it is worth it to me.

    I still, occasionally, get a client who wants the paddle shaped out of a single piece of wood. If I had the time to go down to my supplier and sort through every board in the lift looking for perfect paddle stock, and the money to buy and stock the pieces that I find, and do this regularly, I might be persuaded to do it more often.

    Good luck!
  7. Jim Okkema

    Jim Okkema LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I recently bought some wood from Kirkland Sawmill in Kirkland Illinois. They cut their own timber and it is all locally sourced. They didn't have a lot of highly figured stuff, but some if you look around. They had a lot of quarter sawn sycamore that would make a wild paddle. Anyway they seem like a friendly, family owned business and I thought I'd give them a shout out.

    (815) 522-6150
    606 W Main St
    Kirkland, IL 60146
  8. Jim Okkema

    Jim Okkema LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Someone I've never dealt with, and farther afield for you, but seems to have a lot of real purty stuff (at least according to their website) is Johnson Creek Hardwoods in Mt. Carroll IL.
    The website is worth a look if you like to see pretty pictures of boards.
  9. Dave Osborn

    Dave Osborn LIFE MEMBER

    Bennett Hardwoods in Wausau.
    Check their website.
  10. Woodchuck

    Woodchuck Woodworker

    If you come to MI

    I don't know if you travel this far but if you can get wood, no trip is too far. I use Armstrong Mill works on rte. 59 just west of Pontiac, MI. Their address is 3039 W. Highland Rd, Highland, MI 48357 and their phone is 248.887.1037. They have a very small website at but you can see all the wood that they have. Stacks and stacks of walnut, cherry, maple, etc. in a couple of large barns. IMHO
    CYA, Joe

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