For all you people who can get your hands on perfect wood for paddle blanks, we salute you (as AC/DC would say). For us mere mortals, we get to glue various sticks together to make our blanks good.
This is my daughter Elsa’s first attempt at a paddle and strangely enough, while trying to look smug, she would listen to the instructions and then actually follow them! I know I would have miserably failed at that when I was twenty-something.
Because the grain of the glued pieces can run in different directions, using a hand plane can sometimes be hard no matter from what direction you’re working the piece. An angle grinder, although agressively removing wood and destroying your blank if you’re not careful, solves all that and is quite fast, fun (and dusty) to work with.