Winter was in the air, so working on the balcony became steadily impractical. So I resorted to using my newly constructed shaving horse set up in the condo locker room for the bulk of the shaving. A drop sheet and quick sweeping contains all the shavings. Given that this was maple (quite dense and heavy), the blade was purposely thinned less than 3/8th inch (the common thickness for blades).
The spoon grip was kind of my own experiment. Circular grips are documented in Adney's Bark Canoes and Skin Boats of North America, particular with Eastern Cree paddles (a design I intend to carve after I get more lumber stock). Apparently this circular shape allows for multiple grip positions without really changing your hold...sounded good for solo style paddling with underwater recovery strokes. Rather that have a complete circular shape, I opted for more of a teardrop shape with the intentions of scooping out the palm region with a spooning knife. The initial carving out looks really rough and ragged but with enough effort (and a whole load of sanding) I was quite happy with the results.
For the artwork, I chose an image of a Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) - a rather drab looking, brown spotted bird that has a melodic buzzing song. It looks like most sparrows but can be differentiate with a noticeable large brown spot on its breast. The narrow blade width of the paddle was quite suited to this smaller image and given that I intented to make this my main solo blade, I wanted to minimize burning on the whole blade in case I weakened the already thinned out maple blade.
Sparrow image sketched onto blade
Spoon grip with native Sparrow image
Whole paddle posing with winter sunshine