What type of finish is on my paddle?

Varnish: High gloss exterior polyurethane with UV block. The varnish we use is only available on the commercial market and not available in retail stores. Any type of high gloss exterior polyurethane will be compatible with the varnish on your paddle. If you wish to switch to a different type of varnish you must strip the paddle to bare wood before applying the new finish.
Oil: Boiled linseed oil


Can I oil a laminated paddle?

No. Only one piece paddles with closed grain woods such as cherry should be oiled.


How do I refinish my oiled paddle?

The number of times per year you will need to apply oil to your paddle will depend on the usage and storage conditions. When you see scratches or the wood appears ‘dusty’ or dry then you need to apply a coat of oil. If the paddles feels rough to the touch you can do a light sanding with fine sandpaper and then remove all dust with a tack cloth. Using a clean, dry rag, apply a thin coat of oil moving in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Let the paddle sit for ten minutes. With another clean, dry rag, buff the paddle (by hand, in the same direction as the grain) to remove any excess oil (this prevents a sticky build-up). Apply a second coat if required. PLEASE FOLLOW THE OIL MANUFACTURERS DIRECTIONS CLOSELY WITH REGARDS TO DISCARDING OIL SOAKED RAGS AS THEY ARE HIGHLY COMBUSTIBLE.


How do I refinish my varnished paddle?

Touch Up: seal any exposed wood with varnish on a regular basis. Lightly sand area, apply a diluted (by 10%) coat of finish and let dry. Lightly sand area again and apply a full strength coat of varnish.

Complete Refinish: strip all finish off the paddle using sand paper. Use a tack cloth to remove fine dust. Dilute first coat of finish by 10% and apply with a brush. Let dry. Sand paddle with fine sand paper and remove all fine dust with a tack cloth. Apply second coat of finish at full strength. Let dry. Apply third coat if required. When doing a complete refinish you can opt to use a different type of finish from the one we use.


Does Grey Owl Paddles offer a repair / refinish service?

Yes, we offer this service on our paddles for customers based in North America.

Send us (info@greyowlpaddles.com) several pictures of your paddles so we can clearly see what work needs to be done. We will respond with a quote. Please note that you will be responsible for all shipping costs.


Can I paint my paddle / engrave / ‘guest book’ my paddle?

Yes! We suggest using acrylic paint and then applying a coat of varnish over the artwork.

If you have purchased a blank or unfinished paddle (see below list) and want to paint it we suggest you follow the instructions above for a complete refinish and apply your artwork between the first and second coats of finish.

We do not offer any engraving in house but there is a local engraver we can refer you to (http://cambridgeengravers.com/) . You can expect the engraving cost to be anywhere form $65.00-$95.00 depending on the size and detail of the artwork you provide. You should allow 4 weeks for this process as the finish can not be applied to the paddle until the engraving has been completed. All engraved paddles must be varnished to prevent fading.

Many people have used a paddle as a ‘guest book’ to celebrate an event. We suggest you purchase the paddle unfinished (Grey Owl brand is optional) and then follow the instructions above for a complete refinish and apply your signatures between the first and second coats of finish. We recommend using a Staedtler Waterproof Pigment Liner for the signatures.

Paddles that are not suitable for painting, engraving and signing:

  • Northern Light
  • Birdseye Maple Sagamore
  • Hammerhead
  • C-1
  • Fleetwood
  • Monarch

How do I store my paddle?

The best method for storing paddles is to hang them off the ground or lay them down in a dry area away from heat. Standing a paddle on its blade for a long period of time or laying a paddle down in the hot sun may cause it to warp or bow. One piece paddles are much more susceptible to warping from these conditions than laminated ones. If you do manage to warp or bow a paddle, soaking it in water overnight and laying it bowed side down in the hot sun may reverse the damage.


How do I attach a wooden handle?

  • Using a mitre box cut the shaft to the desired length (remember the handle will add 1/2″ to the overall length) with a fine tooth finishing or back saw.
  • Sand the finish off the top 1/2″ of the shaft where you will attach the handle .
  • Using a marine epoxy, apply glue to the top 1/2″ of the shaft and the inside of the handle.
  • Press the handle onto the shaft.
  • Immediately remove any excess glue.
  • Let the handle dry making sure the handle is parallel to the blade.


Can I order unfinished paddles or paddle blanks?

Yes, most (see below list) of our paddles can be ordered without any finish on them. You will have to specify if you still want the Grey Owl brand on the paddle.

Most (see below list) of our paddles are available as blanks. You will need to decide how many hours of work you want to put into the paddle to complete it and the price range you are interested in. We will then let you know (based on our production schedule) what model(s) would suit your needs.

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