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Oarlocks for CS20


wkisting
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Hi all,Last Fall, at Graham's messabout, the top of one of my bronze round oarlocks twisted right off the shaft while I was rowing. I'm wondering whether the leverage/strain of our 10' oars is too much for 1/2" shank oarlocks, or perhaps it was just a fluke of (poor) casting of the bronze.What kinds of oarlocks do you use or recommend for 20 - 22' boats? I can either replace the broken oarlock (can't recall the brand), or invest twice as much to get new oarlocks with a 5/8" shank. If the latter, I'm not sure what brand to buy... NRS Superston Oarlocks look very well built, but I can't decide if I want to switch over to horn-style oarlocks. I just want something that rows well and is pretty bombproof.Please convince me to go one way or the other... your input/advice is appreciated.(By the way, my oars are homemade from the DuckTrap plans... 10' long, 1-3/4" diameter looms, with long curved blades.)

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While I am sure that Wes is strong, he is not that strong. After we sheered off a couple of bronze oarlocks with big oars I built a pair  out of stainless so that they would bend before they broke. I believe that the break was caused by a bad stroke where the oar digs deep in the water which will cause huge leverage on the ring of the oarlock leaving it no choice but to break. I also made my oarlocks elliptical rather than round, with the long axis vertical to prevent the oar from being jammed between the top and bottom of the ring when the stroke is deep. 

 

First, I would check to see if the oar will bind in the oarlock before it can hit the deck. If it binds, you need to refit the socket so that the top is angled more outboard.

 

We used the stainless oarlocks with 10' oars in one EC and a couple of NC Challenges so far without any failures.

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OK, I see the round oarlock twists off the shaft by the oar leveraging the round top.  IE open horn oralocks would pose no problemas the oar would simply pop out in that instance...

 

I was thinking the shaft itself sheared off from too strong a stroke... I could just see the firctional losses building up and smoke pouring from the shaft as Wes is pulling for dear life and a fire getting ready to build in the wood surrounding the socket...

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Actually, Graham is wrong... this is definitely an excessive strength issue on my part, and it's a condition I've struggled with my entire life. I can't tell you how many crushed pets I went through as a child--dogs, cats, even turtles stood no chance. My parents almost donated me to the circus.  :)All kidding aside, I bought some stainless round oarlocks with 2-1/4" inner diameter. I'm thinking I might be able to heat and pound them gently into an elliptical shape like Graham is describing to give a little more relief against binding. (My oar shafts are only 1-7/8" diameter, so I can narrow the width of the rings a fair bit to get a nice oval.) I think Graham is right that the oarlock likely twisted off during a deep stroke at a high enough angle to leverage the ring right off the shaft. I was rowing frantically at that time to get away from the dock and trying to avoid being blown back into the lovely CS20 Mk II #1 that was tied up next to me, so it's entirely possible my form was not great as I rowed.The only elliptical oarlocks I could find online were bronze, and I don't want to go that route again. Hopefully the stainless ones I ordered from West Marine ($29) will pound into shape, and if not, I may be able to have my dad fabricate a set for me. West Marine happened to have a SS "ribbed" set (I'm assuming that means open horn--there was no picture) on clearance for $10, so I ordered those as well to have a spare set and/or see if I like the horn style better. Thanks to all for the input.

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If nothing else having a Horn set as backup would certainly nbot be a waste of money...

 

In emergency preparedeness a common saying is if you got two, you got one.  And if you got one, you got none.

 

Meaning things go wrong and things break....

 

The only time I ever wished for an outboard was trying to get off the beach when the wind was blowing right down onto it.  We made progress with rowing,  but by golly we worked for that first 50 feet to clear past the dock.!

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Duckworks has some nice looking SS oarlocks that bolt on (over the oar), and look nice and strong.

 

After explaining about my oarlock breaking, the guys at the Port Townsend Foundry where telling me to be careful where purchasing bronze oarlocks, depending upon strength you use.They said if they are cast out of bronze ingots they are stronger then casting from recycled material.

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Duckworks has some nice looking SS oarlocks that bolt on (over the oar), and look nice and strong.

 

After explaining about my oarlock breaking, the guys at the Port Townsend Foundry where telling me to be careful where purchasing bronze oarlocks, depending upon strength you use.They said if they are cast out of bronze ingots they are stronger then casting from recycled material.

 

...which in code mostly means, don't buy Chinese metal products. Or wood. Or plastics.

 

When I took a run to the metal recyclers recently, a friend "donated" a not-bottom-of-the-line stainless steel grill. Figured the scrap would at least pay for the gas. The recycling guy immediately took out his magnet, and it stuck to the "stainless" about as well as the iron bed frame nearby.

 

In metals, "expensive" parts of the alloys are skimped. In plywood, expensive species and expensive quality controls are skimped. In plastics, those expensive plasticizers are skimped, so they break after a few years. And so on...

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There are different alloys for different applications, and the grill maker may have chosen that SS alloy because it was better for the purpose. The recycler magnet test could have been to roughly classify the alloy for perspiration into the correct pile.

On plastics, over the years I have discovered that in an application where zip ties are exposed to sunlight - UV - black ones last but white ones give it up after a year, maybe two.

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Just a little update in case others end up with similar questions about oars and the troubles I've had finding good information.

 

I bought some 316 stainless oarlocks from West Marine which look very nice and seem like they will be MUCH stronger than the bronze oarlocks. I ordered round ones with an I.D. of 2-1/4" and a shaft of 1/2" diameter, which are the same spec's as the bronze ones I broke. I'm going to leave the bronze oar sockets since they are permanently visible, look nicer than stainless ones, and don't seem to have any durability problem. (Plus, it saved me from having to purchase stainless sockets).

 

My oars are 10' long with shafts approximately 1-3/4" diameter. Wrapped with 3/16" diameter nylon rope, they filled up the round oarlocks a little too full and that (together with the relatively lower strength of bronze) is probably why I broke one of the bronze oarlocks and put a bend in the other. I wanted to ease the fit a bit so the oars won't stress the new SS oarlocks as much. I was thinking of pounding the round SS oarlocks into a slightly more oval shape, however, they're so nicely polished that instead, I decided to re-wrap my oars with smaller diameter solid braid nylon rope (1/8" diameter). The smaller rope made for nicer looking wraps and it allows a little more relief inside the oarlocks. After testing the freedom of oar movement in my garage, I can say the smaller wraps made a noticeable improvement--more than I expected, given that I only shrank the rope diameter by 1/16".

 

For oar stops, I ordered the regular sized plastic oar stoppers from NRS. They're supposedly very durable, won't mar the oarlocks, and will be adjustable (they clamp on with screws) for fine-tuning the set up. They'll also help clamp down on the rope wraps to hold them securely in place. Not quite as salty looking as proper oar leathers, but the rope wraps and plastic oar locks will be more durable with less maintenance, and our oars stow up underneath the seats where the wraps and stoppers aren't visible anyway.

 

Lastly, I tried a new rope wrapping technique that uses no knots. You just tuck the tails of the rope under each end of the wrap. One end gets tucked under as you begin wrapping, but for the other, you lay a separate loop underneath when you get about 2" from the end of the wrap and then use that loop to pull the other end of the rope back under the wrap. It takes quite a lot of force to pull the far end back under the wrap and extract the helping loop of rope, but once finished, it makes for a very snug and secure wrap that looks very clean. I think it will hold very well alone, but just to be safe, I coated the first inch of each end of the wrap in varnish to help the coils stay snug and fuse together. Awhile back, I'm sure I read about someone wrapping their oars this way (possibly on Duckworks?) but I couldn't find the article again. In any case, it works great. I had always intended to finish the oars this way, but until I broke an oarlock and then, more recently, nearly got caught in a lightning storm, I hadn't made finishing the oars correctly quite the priority it should have been.  :)

 

Here's a pic.

post-354-0-69894500-1374522775_thumb.jpg

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Hi Dave, I bought a back-up pair of oarlocks just like you pictured. West Marine had them on clearance a week or so ago for $10 or 12, so I ordered them just to have a spare and to see if I like the Davis style better than the round. I'm hoping to make the round ones work, though, because I like having them captive and stored on the oar so I don't have to hunt around for them if I need the oars in a hurry.

 

Now that the varnish has dried on my newly rope-wrapped oars, I'm very pleased with the results. The varnish fused the rope wraps to the oar shafts very securely. They feel very solid and should offer years of durable service. Went out for a sail yesterday, but the varnish wasn't cured yet and I still don't have the plastic oar stops/collars I ordered so I didn't get to try out the oar refinements yet.

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 I'm hoping to make the round ones work, though, because I like having them captive and stored on the oar so I don't have to hunt around for them if I need the oars in a hurry.

You will note that the Davis rowlock has an eye at the bottom of the shaft.  Attack a small line or chain with a toggle at the end and when you ship the rowlock and it dangles from the socket but can not fall overboard.  Add a nice decorative piece with a hole in it under the gunwale  to store the rowlock when not rowing.  If anyone can design and build a doo-hickey storage contraption it is you Wes  ;)

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You will note that the Davis rowlock has an eye at the bottom of the shaft.  Attack a small line or chain with a toggle at the end and when you ship the rowlock and it dangles from the socket but can not fall overboard.  Add a nice decorative piece with a hole in it under the gunwale  to store the rowlock when not rowing.  If anyone can design and build a doo-hickey storage contraption it is you Wes  ;)

 

 

Dave, it's embarrassing to admit it, but it didn't even occur to me to keep the oarlocks captive to the sockets. In my head, I kept thinking they need to be captive to the oars, but you're right, they could just dangle or stow right beneath the oarlock sockets. As you can probably guess, sometimes I overthink things.  :)  Thanks for the tip. I think that might be a smart solution.

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