Well, here's another learning experience to share. After completing a sassafras version of the recurved cree blade, I had decided on doing a negative burn of the simple original decoration of bars and circles. In order to visualize the result, an image of the paddle was tinkered on with photoshop.
Visualizing the burning pattern
The plan was to do a full on burn with a propane torch on both sides of the paddle with a few spots left bare in order to complete the fine details with pyrography pen. After testing and doing a single side burn on a new Sassafras Tripper this seemed like it would be without problems.
Unfortunately while burning through the shaft area on this paddle, it began to warp ridiculously so now there is a pronounced bend, both curving laterally and back to front as evident from the pics below.
Severe warp of shaft to the right
Shaft bent back from blade
Guess without planning it, I created my very first "bent-shaft" canoe paddle.
Luke McNair had sent a warning about the risk of warping if heat was applied unevenly. Did my best to consciously avoid this, but the results here are pretty dramatic. I suspect the fact that the shaft was carved down to 1" and the blade thinned down more than usual for some flex contributed to the warping. The lumber stock was also flat-sawn instead of being quarter sawn.
Either way, all is not lost. I plan to practice some etching on the burned blade and will figure out some other usage for this failure so the wood (and my efforts) aren't wasted.