I scrounged around my barn and found a 4x4 piece of WRC that I had saved when I remodeled a house I owned 10+ years go. Over the years I have broken my pack-rat tendencies except when it comes to wood. Any thing out of the ordinary, wood wise, I am tend to save and I was sure glad I did. I have had the itch to build me a new Greenland paddle for a few weeks and this turned out to be a near perfect piece of wood.
First thing was to cut it down in smaller pieces. Since I have built a few paddles I had a good idea of what I wanted this time and I wanted something a bit different looks wise. So I scrounged around the wood rack and found something unusual. A piece of quarter sawn spalted sycamore.
I ripped the board in half and glued up with a strip of the sycamore in the center. Once that set up I glued on some small walnut pieces on the end because the cedar is soft and will get damaged pushing off the bottom or fending of rocks and piers. You can see the blank along side a old paddle that is the shop to be repaired. I broke the tip of the other end.
First step was laying out the rough shape of the paddle and the saw as much scrap of as I can.
Then I start shaping the blank. I have learned that I can rough it down really quickly using a rasp on the soft cedar. It will remove a lot of wood quickly and safely. Then I shift to my block planes and start smoothing and shaping the blades.
Now you can start to see some of the spalting in the sycamore.
As the blades start to take shape I start working on the shoulders. You hold the paddle with your thumb and forefinger wrapped around the shaft and the other fingers actually rest on the blade. So the shape of the shoulders is important or the paddle is not going to be comfortable.
It just a lot of hand work to get the shape right. I do a little carving with a chisel. Mostly shape with a round rasp and sand and file a little till it feels right in my hand. Then lots of sanding. Actually that pretty much describes the whole paddle making process.
After I get it all look right I spend some time holding it, swapping ends, turn it upside down just to make sure it feels right and that all the shoulders are the same or at least feel the same in my hand. I find it very annoying to have a paddle that is not shaped the same top and bottom.
Here is the finished blade with the first coat of oil. After applying the oil I see a couple of spots that need a little more work. But I will oil it a few times, take it to the water and paddle with it. If everything feels right it I work on it bit more an varnish then.