Re: local (Vancouver BC) sources for a good piece of 2x4 ced John's dowel technique (glue tips first, then drill & insert dowels with glue..at least two) would work well too. A simple, un-reinforced, butt joint (you'd either be gluing end grain to end grain or end grain to side grain) will fail, regardless of the glue you use. Side grain to side grain..would be fine (this is a laminate), but you won't have that option. The mortise cut I made with the table saw requires a very stable & smooth-running setup(waxed table top & fence), concentration when your cutting..and a tall ceiling as the paddle goes vertical about 7 feet on top of the table that's 37" high. I had some pucker-response when making the cuts (4 cuts, 2 paddles), but in practice runs (blade under table) the setup was rock-stable. The cuts were almost a non-event. With a poor setup..not good..you could end up wearing the paddle, or worse, in a blink of an eye. If I were to make paddles often, I'd work out a better path to the mortise. As for woods..oak, hard maple, about any tropical wood, yellow cedar, black locust, ash should be fine. You won't be storing the paddle in water & it'll have finish on it. Red oak is terrible in a wet environment while white oak is a prized material that was used to build the tall-ships of days gone by. I used osage-orange as it's brick-hard and has forever exterior durability...and it's purdy. Woodworkers have been known to buy 50 year old used fence posts made from osage..the wood never rots. On the down side..it's a bear to work, but it's worth it. Last thought (yah..right..I like wood..), make sure you drill dead center if you use dowels as the final thickness of the paddle tips will be on the shy side of 3/8th" thick. A practice run or two on scrap wood is time well spent. edit: I checked my files..one more thought. This is a personal-preference thing..The loom can have a 2 dimensional axis..a rounded-corner rectangle rather than a rounded-corner square. The long dimension allows the user to have the right paddle-water orientation without having to look at the paddle. For my paddle I used 1.25 x 1.5 inches. My GF's (5'8" tall) paddle had a loom 1.125 x 1.5. You mentioned Ana is small. You may want to size the loom smaller than 1.125 x 1.5. Have her touch her index finger tip to her thumb-tip and measure the oval that results..that's your dimension estimate. If you're not sure..use some scrap to mock up some test looms for her to grab. If the loom isn't sized right, she may not enjoy using it...size matters Also..unfinished wood is easier on the hands...and easier to work if later adjustments are needed. Some say if the loom is varnished it can lead to blisters. I left mine raw wood..see the pics up above. And don't forget the loom length..note how much shorter my GF's loom is in the pic above. This is a function of shoulder-width. I wear a 46 jacket..broad shoulders..mine is a fair bit longer. You want your pinky fingers riding on the rise wear the paddle face starts..again, proper holding without looking at things. I bet you thought the greenland was just a thinned down 2x4..it is..sort of...there's a lot going on here. Fun project.