The initial square grip with sketching; Cherry pieces, Glued up
With the glue long dry, it was time to start shaping the octogonal grip into something resembling a spherical bobble. Problem is that with time being limited resource as a new father, multi-tasking has become a necessity.
Lately our little one has been more finicky than usual and needed constant rocking during one of our little excursions to the small lakeside beach at the cottage. In an effort to sooth the boy while also making some time for the paddle, I set up a bushcraft-style nomadic hammock recently taught to us by a relative overseas.
Known as a "Gypsy Swing" in Turkey, this ingenious contraption is found all over the countryside and may be the saving grace for any parent. All that it requires is a rope (I had a 20ft line of cheap polypropylene), a medium sized Turkish Kilim (a large beach towel would suffice), and two sticks. After some experimenting with Evenk Knots and other hitches from a Ray Mears episode on Bushcraft the lines were all set. Some creative folding of the kilim and stretching out with the sticks and the little hammock was set up complete with a view of the lake. To control the swing, an extra line was attached to big toe to provide the foot power rythym.
Set up between the trees
Drifting off to nappy time
Toe powered with hands free to carve
He drifted off quite quickly and I was able to crudely shape the grip into a fair-sized bobble. While not exactly perfectly shaped, the amount of labour involved and the never-ending drive of attaining spherical perfection made me stop when the grip felt comfortable in the hands.
The Bobble Grip
Not being able to resist, I took the paddle for a quick test spin in the lake even though it had not been thoroughly sanded with fine grit. The blade, very similar to the cherry edged Kayak Paddle I made last year, handles well and the bobble is actually quite comfortable to use for basic forward strokes. As a solo paddler however, many correction strokes require quite different positioning on the grip and in this regards the bobble is limiting. Still it's quite logical (and an unusual paddling sensation) to use a spherical grip which actually fits the shape of a relaxed hand quite nicely. I'll be taking this one back to the city to decorate the blade over the winter.
Unfinished Beothuk Paddle