I've been using a Q.B. boat paddle and mini-boat paddle for years with good success. I recently won a Beard Hunter Red Cedar paddle over a Butternut long box made by Russell Beard and it rocks. I have years worth of practice on the Q.B. calls, though I'm learning how to make the Beard Hunter sound great.
I called in a lot of birds on my old Lynch when I first got started in the early 1980s. I slipped crossing a creek and fell on & broke that Lynch.
i got a woodhaven real hen walnut last year and it sounds great and is probably the closest i will get to a custom box call. i dont use a box a lot, but it helped me get a nice tom on a windy/rainy day last year. other boxes i've killed birds with are primos heartbreaker, mad mini max and hs field champion natural. i have shot some toms in the fall using the natural, which makes great gobbler yelps and clucks.
I put this one together last month, (along with a dozen others), it is my favorite of this year and will come with me to the woods. It is Rocky Mountain Juniper with a Cherry paddle. It has special significance as I gathered the wood years ago when I was younger and living in WY. Every time I hold it, I am swept back to the high desert and all that Wyoming was for me.
Smith that is a good looking call. I have a cedar box that has a lot of rasp. My go to box is an OAK MAST Cost type box. Walnut over yellow poplar. Man this call can do it all. When you want you can really reach out with it, then tone it down for close work. From pictures of the Neil Cost boxes I have seen I think Jim makes a good one.