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Oar length


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  • 1 year later...

I am finally getting around to making oars for my Lapwing.  I have gotten by fine with a paddle and electric outboard so far.  I won’t have the outboard this season so a set of oars seems prudent.  I have some Sitka Spruce that has been in my stash for over 20 years and it seems like now is the time to put it to use.

Dave, Hirilonde has paved the way a bit with his Lapwing but I still could use some input.  I have a pair of Duckworks Ferrules to make them 2 piece and easier to stow. What I need to decide now is how long to make them and the dimensions of the blades.  Looking around online there seems to be a wide variation on the sizing. Anywhere from 4.5” to 5.5” in width seems to be the zone. The length of the blades seems to be between 26”-34”.  I am inclined to make them 9’ finished length based on Dave’s experience with his Lapwing.  The dimensions of the blade are still open ended.  Any thoughts greatly appreciated.


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Finished my oars and heading south to  San Diego tomorrow. After lot’s of overthinking, I made them 9.5’  assembled.  When the time came to cut them in “half” I decided to not make the cut in the middle of the length and cut closer to the handle end instead.  This allowed me to make a nicer taper from the ferrule towards the blade.  My brain wanted symmetry but  I remembered an architect friend of mine telling me to break free from the “tyranny of symmetry” when I was designing a kitchen.  Sometimes there is something to that concept.  They have been epoxy coated and I will wait until I get to  the warmer weather in San Diego to varnish them.  Thanks for all of the input.









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21 hours ago, Don Silsbe said:

Dod you just happen to have an old shingle making bench laying around for that job?  Nice work!

Thanks Don.  I made the shave horse around 15 years ago when I was making native kayak paddles and chairs, etc.  I had it stashed under a stair case and dragged it out for the oar build. I don’t do much furniture these days.  It doesn’t float well.



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  • 5 weeks later...

I am about to leather my oars and have a question from the brain trust on button placement.  I know some place them as stops and they ride against the locks.  They can also be placed closer to the oar handles and are just to keep the oarlock from falling off the oar.  I don't expect to be rowing Lula much, just to get me home when the wind dies. If I were a more experienced rower and intended to be rowing Lula for long periods I think it would make sense to have the buttons purely to keep the oarlocks in place and not rubbing on the locks.  In my case, maybe not. Any thoughts or advice appreciated.

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I placed them about a foot inboard of hitting the rowlocks while rowing.  They are just to keep from losing the oars if you have to let go, or losing the rowlocks if you are using round ones.  I use round ones on my Spindrift.  I use Davis rowlocks, which are open on my Lapwing.  I have them tethered through the socket, long enough to stow them under the deck while still attached. Rowlocks sink, and easy to lose if not attached to something.

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