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Old 12-07-2010   #1
Stiff N' Wett's Avatar
Evergreen, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 446
Hand-Crafted Oars?

Has anyone crafted there own oars? I'm a hobbyist woodworker and think I found a great winter project. I dont have the tools to do laminated so I think I'm going to use ash. I'm trying find a lumber yard in Colorado that sales 10'/5"/3'' ash and then go from there. Any info that can help would be great: lumber yards, different wood, specs, do this, do that, rope wrapping, etc.

Pool and a pond... Pond be good for you.
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Old 12-07-2010   #2
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 134
Although you could use one solid piece of wood to make an oar, It is probably best and a whole lot cheaper to glue up the blanks for your oars. I would start with a piece of 8/4 or 10/4 ash that is the overall length of your oars and as wide as the shaft is (about 2"). Turn that bad boy on a really big lathe if you can or shape it with an oversized router bit to get the round shaft. Leave the end where the blade will go square so that you can glue up the blades out of several strips of 5/4 ash to create the blade width. Then you could shape the spades as desired for your size and shape.

The glued up sections will make the blades less likely to warp or crack. It would probably be pretty hard to get a hold of 12/4 boards that are long enough that have a straight enough grain to make the oars out of one piece of wood.

As for place to buy the wood, you will need to look in Denver for the materials. Paxton is a hardwood store that will likely have what you want. Also, Denver Hardwoods might have what you need but I don't know if they still have a retail store. Any lumber yard can probably order the materials for you but it would be best to hand select the materials for straight grain and appearance.

Good Luck!


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Old 12-17-2010   #3
Engineer Civil Structural Hydraulic, Evans CO
Paddling Since: 68
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 158
I made several sets out of balsa covered with carbon and balsa covered with glass. If you use a soft wood you'll want to bridge the layers.

If you use a hardwood layering system, set the grain of the wood opposite to each other. Ash is cost prohibitave. Clear-fir works well.....lots of grain densly packed.
Gary Strome
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Old 12-17-2010   #4
Palisade, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 292
some good info on this site:
Wooden Boat People - By
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Old 12-17-2010   #5
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,373
Drawknife, spokeshave and scraper. Awesome tools for that job that have worked well for generations. Don't know about material sources out here but make calls, find one and visit the yard to pick out what you want/need.
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