Caring for Your Wood Paddle

Your Bending Branches wood paddle won’t need any special care except to protect it from the elements between trips. We recommend storing your paddle in a dry, indoor place when not in use. Inevitably, your paddle will get scratched during use. We like to think of these as character marks that help bring about memories of past adventures, but you can repair/refinish your paddle to extend its life. You should allow several days to complete the refinishing process. Here are our recommendations: 

Bending Branches Wood Canoe Paddles

Repair/Refinish Tips 

When should you refinish your paddle? As soon as you see any bare wood. Bare wood exposed to moisture can swell causing the Rockgard to delaminate or the joints to split. This is why it's important to make sure your paddle is thoroughly dry before you begin refinishing it. 

  1. To start, sand the area you want to repair with a fine abrasive until smooth and dull.
  2. If there is wood damage, use more aggressive (100-120) grit and remove any discoloration to the wood. Follow with fine (220) grit. Wipe off dust.
  3. Apply two or three thin coats of solvent based (not water based) outdoor or marine grade polyurethane.
  4. Allow several hours between coats for drying, rub lightly with fine (220) abrasive before each new coat for a better finish.
  5. Apply one or two more coats of polyurethane, after final coat, allow a few days for full cure.
  6. You are ready for the water!

If the job is more than you can handle, we can repair it for a modest charge if the Rockgard has not delaminated from the wood.

More Tips for Keeping your Paddle Happy

  • Poling though shallows is a no-no, especially with a loaded canoe.  Plan on getting your feet wet to save the bottom of your hull and your paddle.
  • Stacking gear on top of your paddle in the back of a vehicle or tent can lead to its early demise.
  • Consider putting your name and phone number on your paddle.  Most paddlers are very nice people and will help you recover a paddle that was left at a landing or lost in a rapids.
  • If you are rough on your gear, our glassed blades with full edge protection may be for you. They cost a bit more, but are nearly impervious to splitting or edge wear and will last a long time. Glassed paddles rarely need refinishing.

Paddle Warranty

We build strong paddles and have one of the lowest breakage rates in the industry. But we know the unthinkable can happen. When it does, we honor all reasonable requests for repair or replacement. Bending Branches paddles are guaranteed against manufacturing defects for one year from date of purchase. Just email [email protected] or call 715-755-3405 for warranty or repair information.

Do you have more questions about refinishing your paddle? Contact our Wisconsin-based Customer Service team with your paddle questions today: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]

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