I saw a photo of a paddle String carved. It's beautiful and I can understand why he wants the best protection for it. My suggestion is to keep re-applying an oil finish on a WRC paddle and enjoy the look as it is distressed from used; some people will pay extra for that look.
I carve GP paddles and each time I put finish on freshly carved paddles I put a coat on my favorite personal paddle. My paddles are laminated with white ash on the leading edges of the blades so i don't have to worry about dents there. The rest of the paddle is distressed from use but those blemishes improve the look in my opinion and the many coats of Watco Teak Oil look great.
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