Back when I did my own replica based on this elegant looking paddle design, the original lumber stock had been a thick piece of 8/4 Sassafras stock. At the time, I didn't think ahead and rip the original lumber down to 5/4 but rather cut the pattern out on the bandsaw directly. This of course left a comically thick paddle blank that would be extremely laborious to shave down with hand tools. It was then that I decided to rip the paddle blank roughly in half and basically end up with two twin blanks. In the whole process though the blanks ended up poorly cut, but salvageable. The better of the two blanks ended up being the replica while its twin languished around for a few a years.
Original Paddle; My Replica
Replica paddle out for a water test - See post here
As usual with sassafras, the wood is easy to carve with both a spokeshave and crooked knife. I ended up using both tools to thin the blade and shape the grip while trying to correct some of the errors from the initial sawing out of the blank.
Working on the shaving horse
As you might've noticed, this blank had one major flaw and that was a knothole that was on the upper part of the blade. Fortunately, it only projects onto one face. Here's a closeup shot of the area while the paddle was still in its rough carving phase.
Knothole on upper blade
Original Blog Post HERE
Image Source: Rod and Gun in Canada Vol. 12 No.4 p491
I also wanted the grip area to be a bit different. Obviously there was a limitation of what could be done since it was cut to resemble the original antique Penobscot. But unlike the carved replica that featured a curvy ornamental top with sharp edges and a pronounced curvature of the grip along the sides, I was able to create a semi-rounded top and carved the sides with far less sweeping lines. Also, a subtle centre ridge has been carved down the middle, giving the flattened lower grip a diamond-like cross section. It's not finished yet, but here is the progress on the grip so far and an overall shot below...
Still working on the grip
...to be continued