Unfortunately, I ended up not taking any photos of the process, including the technique for carving out the angled T-grip...something I regret. But I do have pics of the final work. The artwork was inspired by my 2007 Summer trip to the High Arctic (800+ km north of the Arctic Circle). A soft eco-adventure stay at Arctic Watch Lodge included some amazing vistas, 30 polar bear sightings, a local muskox herd, and amazing birdwatching. While on a daytrip rafting down the Cunningham River back to camp, our 13yr old inuit guide spotted a lone bull muskox. We pulled ashore and stared at it for quite a while before it snorted and slowly hunkered back over the tundra. These become my inspirations for the artwork
With the completed paddle back in August
The Muskox side of the blade
The other side
The Polar Bear side of the blade
Overall, I found the maple a bit of challenge to work with, but I later found out it was because I had dulled the spokeshave blade after making 4 hardwood paddles with it...so a sharpening stone and honing guide were necessary purchases at this point to keep this hobby going. Maple is also a very dense wood, resulting in a heavier than normal paddle I would want for a whitewater run. I'm already considering making another in the future from lighter woods and laminating hardwood edging.