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Old 01-01-2009   #1
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
More about oars. . .

Have to get new oars for three boats for next season, and the prices are scarin' me. One of the boats is a sailing skiff that takes 7-footers, and I also have a playcat that needs the same. Wondering if I can get by with a pair in common.

A pair of laminated Sitka spruce oars from Barkley Sound costs the same as one Sawyer standard utility wood oar, which I've used happily so far.

Same size shaft, but the spruce oars are lighter by far. The square tips look vulnerable, but on the other hand I've rowed steep, tight & rocky water for years without damage to oars.

Any experience with lightweight oars like these?

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Old 01-02-2009   #2
raftus's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 1,128
I have no experience with these oars. When I worked at Echo Canyon on the Ark we used wood oars. You might call them and see who their supplier is.

You could also get these oars and buy some fiberglass and epoxy and beef up the blades yourself. The epoxy is about $35 for a decent supply and the fiberglass would probably cost $10-15.

I used some System 3 epoxy to recoat an 10' Sawyer oar and blade, I used about 1/3 of the two bottles that cost $35 total (it's a two part epoxy). That was for three coats. The resin bottle was 16 oz and the hardener bottle was 8 oz.

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Old 01-02-2009   #3
lhowemt's Avatar
at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,346
Originally Posted by Chip View Post
but on the other hand I've rowed steep, tight & rocky water for years without damage to oars.
Look out now! You better be knocking on those wood oars as you say this!!!

What about shaping those square edges off yourself?
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 01-02-2009   #4
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
You read my mind (such as it is).

I e-mailed Barkley Sound Oars to see if I can get the laminated spruce units unfinished, so I don't have to strip and sand the polyurethane off.

If so, I'll cut a nice curve at the tips (to match the Sawyer plastic tip guards), set a strip of glass tape in epoxy as a tip protector, then finish with marine-grade epoxy. I might prime with CPES, an epoxy-based sealer, but am not sure if it's necessary. A thinned first coat of epoxy might be just as good. Finally, I'll add rope wraps and rubber donuts.

Since I'm buying a big jug of epoxy to rebuild a sailing skiff, what I need for the oars ought to cost less.

Further suggestions welcomeŚ
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