Dead wood crack & applying epoxy
After letting the epoxy set overnight, it was time to begin the vigorous process of sanding it down. Luckily, the direct sun on the balcony made working outdoors a very pleasant affair. I had to strip down to my undershirt because the sanding action warmed me up quick. Made for a fashion faux-pas photo especially with our now dead (but once highly productive) tomato plant in the background.
After checking out the grip, the bulbous palm area didn't quite agree with me, so I shaped it down to a more traditional triangular shape using some rasps. Pretty easy now that the area had been extensively thinned.
Before and After shot of shaping the grip
The different shaded walnut strips used to make this paddle gave the blade a bit of a streaked look. This reminded me of a time when I spotted a Barred Owl while paddling the Oxtongue River (just beyond the Western boundary of Algonquin Provincial Park on a day trip last year. Couldn't take a proper photo because while paddling a river solo with a significant current, my bird watching is limited to a quick use of binoculars with one hand while trying to brace the canoe with a paddle in the other. Unless I'm resting in a nice eddy, photos are tough to manage. Anyway, this stock photo shows the streaking pattern on the bird that I figured would blend with the walnut on the blade. Thought I would add some Eastern White Cedar leaves as an accent as well as a native inspired owl image (may sand off...not entirely happy with it) on the grip face.
Burning the blade & native owl on grip
All seemed well except that compared to the wonderful tight grain of Birch used for the Omer Sapsucker Paddle, the open grain of the Walnut & Poplar made for uneven burning and many blotchy spots. Not my best artwork but ultimately I was left with a pretty decent, extremly light, and very flexible paddle made from strips from the scrap pile. Can't wait to try this one out once the spring thaw hits and the cottage lake is open again.
Plain & Decorated Sides
May 5/08 UPDATE: This paddle has now been varnished. View it here.