Oar lock tightness - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-10-2017   #1
Twin Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 34
Oar lock tightness

I row with the standard NRS open type oar locks.
I've had issues with them getting bent open by the oar shaft and coming out, or getting pinched to where they won't come out or go back in easily, damaging my rope wrap.
I've wondered about putting them in a vise and tightening them back down. But thought I'd ask y'all first before doing that.
Is this just one of those low water issues that have to be dealt with? Or is there some preventative maintenance that can help alleviate this issue?
Thanks everyone!

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Old 07-10-2017   #2
Awesome, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 82
My NRS oar locks open up throughout the season. i usually just bash them between 2 rocks until they're back to the proper gap. Consider it raft maintenance.
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Old 07-10-2017   #3
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 621
bashing works in the field. Vise works, too, but leaves crosshatch on the locks unless you protect it with something. Another option is a piece of pipe a foot long or so that fits over the horn- use it to pry open or closed. . .just a little more precise than rock-smashing, and can still be done in the field.

As far as preventing- watch that downstream oar! Keep it off the bottom. If you don't, sooner or later you'll learn the really hard way, and catch a handle in the jaw or temple or otherwise ruin your day, and your looks. All joking aside, I've seen some really nasty results from people getting lazy on the downstream oar.
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Old 07-11-2017   #4
Twin Falls, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Feb 2016
Posts: 34
Oh yeah good advice. I've been fortunate enough to not have any injuries but have heard stories. Bad ones.
So it sounds like the preferred state is too tight to come out without signify any force.
Thanks that's what I was looking for. And figured.

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Old 07-11-2017   #5
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 71
Get some cast aluminum locks, they don't bend easily, but could also snap off with enough force. Trade offs on both types.

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Old 07-12-2017   #6
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 903
The brass is brittle, for some reason I've always found that the rock bashing in the field is a better option than a vise or controlled pipe bend or pry method. Be careful and go slow.
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Old 07-19-2017   #7
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1979
Join Date: Dec 2014
Posts: 72
I use a couple mallets that you have for sand stakes,with oar in lock hit both sides at same time an they bend right back to shape.

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Old 07-20-2017   #8
Willi..., Willimina, OR
Paddling Since: 68
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 482
Oar Tower Set @ Wrong Angle; Wrong Oar Sleeve

The tower angle is set such that the oar and the plane of the oar-lock are perpendicular to each other. The range of motion should be 15 degrees minimum either side of optimum. When the tower is out of adjustment, the oar-shaft binds in the lock inducing a moment in the oarlock shaft. Repeated binding will fatigue the shaft of the oarlock and cause it to break.
If you don't have the range of motion to allow the angle, open up the oarlock horns or reduce the diameter of the oar-shaft. Throw away the oar crutches since they take up room.

A binding oar-lock can result with oarlock failure at an inopportune time.
If you cannot get rotational freedom in the oarlock, switch to an elliptical oar lock or a set of uhmw stirrups.
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Old 07-20-2017   #9
breckenridge, colo.
Paddling Since: 79
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 69
Hi Wookie here, I use a 6 inch c clamp that I have with my tools, and a piece of pipe like denali said when using the clamp you,ll notice you have to go past the point your trying to go,thats the give in the our lock,if you,ve gone to far the pipe pulls it back,course if I can't find the clamp two rocks work, also interesting what gaurystrome said about the angle of the lock on my snout every now and again I was getting bind in my our,could'nt move the oar at all kind of freaky in a 22ft snout when your trying to make a move in westwater turns out my angle got changed on the nrs mount when I had them flipped down to haul another boat on top once I played around abit got the angle right I was fine,then made marks in case I need to flip ,m down again.
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Old 07-29-2017   #10
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Sandpoint, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 36
I keep a small block of wood in my tool repair kit that is exactly 1 5/8" wide, which is the opening of the standard NRS Brass oar lock. I use my vise when necessary to bend the lock back into shape, and use some rubber vice pads to minimize any marking to the lock.

That being said, someone earlier in the post reminded us all to be watchful and aware of the downstream oar. I just got off the MF Salmon, and on the first day got lazy with my downstream oar when my boat was rocking in the waves.....caught an oar on an unseen rock, and got the pool cue oar rocketed directly to my jaw. Lifted me three feet off my seat and threw me across the boat. I initially thought my jaw was broken, but managed to row to shore to assess the damage. Mild concussion and lots of pain. Pain killer and prednisone that night seemed to get me through, and the rest of the trip was a blast as I was lucky and recovered.

So I will hopefully never get lazy with my downstream oar ever again, and be extra mindful when the boat is pitching in fast moving low water!
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