Gotta quit feeding him, Grandpa. They hit a growth spurt and put on a few inches, and first thing you know ypu're looking them straight in the eye. And, it was only last month that they learned how to ride a bike!
Take what the wood will give you. Sometimes it don't give easily. One day cutting out strips and gluing them up. Another day cutting them apart and refitting everything because of misalignment and poor fit of the segments. Another day or two shaping. sanding, and applying finish. Then sand finish off because it was not cured enough and it stuck to the work bench. After all the effort I wish I had used better wood, but it is what it is.
Jack I too use the store bought paddles. I have made a few that would serve well for rough work, but easier to buy one for hard duty. I could try to whittle you a knee from some left over hickory, but it really looks like a job for some of the epoxy craftsmen.