Carving by the lake
After wetting the grain and sanding it down, I brought the paddle back home to the city. Yellow Poplar certainly makes for a lightweight paddle - my official quality control tester had a easy time lifting it with one hand and running around the place with it.
Rigorous Quality Testing
The major item I struggled with in this design was balancing the paddle...in the end it just ended up being too blade heavy. Kind of obvious I guess given the large shape and the relatively small handle. My feeling is that perhaps the original paddle documented by Adney would've been balanced, but only because the paddle was illustrated as being much longer than my replica (71.5" vs. my 58" version).
Adney's sketch - Diamond Bladed Passamaquoddy in middle
Had I digitally reduced the paddle to scale to fit my preferred paddle length, the blade size would've been unusually small. Still, in the future when replicating longer paddle designs to a my own functional paddle length, this will need to be considered if a throat-balanced paddle is the final goal.
In any event, it's ready for the decoration stage and I've decided to keep this one much more simple than the recent Northwoods paddle where I went overboard.
MAY 24, 2011 Update: Paddle finally completed...go to Part 4