-- Last Updated: Nov-11-12 6:48 PM EST --
If you choose to use power tools for paddle making, the power hand planer is especially effective in Greenland paddle making. Random orbital sanders are effective in making smooth surfaces but produce copious amounts of dust.
One should be aware of the danger of power tool dust. Red cedar is especially dangerous for developing allergic reactions, but all wood dust is potentially dangerous to lungs. If you use power tools, or sand much, buy a high quality dust mask. Use it religiously, change clothing and shower every time after finishing and throw clothing into the laundry. Last, swab out your nose with a wet q-tip to get the dust that snuck under the mask. I wasn't so advised or so smart years ago. I now have a mild allergy to cedar dust from days spent in a wood canvas canoe repair shop 20 years ago (so old so soon, so smart so late).
I now choose to minimize the use of power tools to reduce dust exposure, preventing my WRC dust allergy from becoming any worse. I also saver the quiet, greater safety, and enjoyment of using sharp quality tools to accomplish the same product that power tools would. Being retired, the somewhat longer time needed to use hand tools instead of power tools isn't a problem.
Following the above recommendations, I can, and do make WRC paddles with no allergic reaction, using hand tools and minimal hand sanding.