For this paddle, I had wanted to replicate the long, spined grip design of the Robin Egg Blue antique paddle posted on previously:
Maine Guide Paddle.
However, after being cut out and the blade partially worked down, the paddle was left in the garage for many months and as a result, the blank revealed a significant twist resulting in misalignment between the grip and blade. In retrospect, I should've hung this blank but simply ran out of room on the rack. It was still completely salvageable, but the grip needed to be recarved to take out the twist and this necessitated redrawing of the center and other guidelines.
Twist in the blank; Redrawn grip top
All went well, and the while clamped to a picnic table near the communal fire pit, I worked down the grip and finished off the paddle over a weekend. Here are some shots during the process and a pic of the paddle after its first wetting in the lake to raise the grain.
Carving the spined grip; Frontal View (still needed some work)
Wetting the paddle to raise the grain
I was eager to take out this paddle for spin, as well as try out the Reshaped Birch Cree paddle. Both paddled very well, but I could see the thinned, lightweight Cree design being more suited to just light paddling use. The cherry paddle with its smooth, Maine Guide style grip was a real delight to use. I could see myself using this robust paddle for extended tripping given its comfortable design and balance.
Quick test on the water
UPDATE - JUNE 24: Paddle is now complete...see Part 2