counterweights for Sawyer oars - Mountain Buzz

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Old 01-06-2012   #1
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 2
counterweights for Sawyer oars

Hey folks-
I'm trying to buy a (belated) xmas gift for a friend who has absurdly heavy Sawyer oars (fiberglass? shafts, wood blades, several years old) for his driftboat. This is probably a function of the length of the oar vs. boat width, but he's a crusty character (and dear friend) and is not about to buy new oars. His wife is learning to row as well, and she's struggling with these (I've rowed the boat and immediately thought "why the hell doesn't he have counterweights?). I'm wondering if the Cataract counterweights that wrap around the shaft would fit Sawyer oars- they seem considerably thicker than cataracts (?). Any ideas? I know you can make counterweights but this is a gift, so that's out (we no longer live close together or I'd go over there and do it). Any help would be appreciated.
Ps- I know oars with counterweights can be unpleasant in heavy water, but that's not really the issue here- his driftboat is a flyfishing getaway, not a whitewater thrill ride...

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Old 01-06-2012   #2
Eugene, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 805
Cataract counterweights will not fit over the larger diameter Sawyer oars. You could have some custom machined (maybe $50?). The other alternatives, not suitable for gifts, are to wrap pencil lead around the oar and then cover it with tape, or replace the handle with one that includes the counterweight.
I'm not happy about being over the hill, but I am grateful there wasn't a cliff at the summit! - Frank and Ernest
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Old 01-06-2012   #3
Redstone, CO
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jan 2006
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I have a 2011 price list from Sawyer that shows counterbalanced handles for their oars, to make the oars internally counterbalanced. They cost about $19 each. Give Sawyer a call direct.
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Old 01-06-2012   #4
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portland, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Apr 2011
Posts: 2,191
Check if his oars are hollow all the way up to the shaft.

If so, drop a couple of soft scuba weights into his shafts. The two pound bags should be able to fit inside the shaft.

Use the pipe insulation from home depot to keep the sacks near the handles
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 01-09-2012   #5
Seattle, Washington
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jan 2012
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Thanks for the tips- I'll start by contacting Sawyer and will go from there...
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Old 01-09-2012   #6
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Vail, CO
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The if they are composite oars (not wood), you can remove the whole handle assembly and replace it with a counter-weighted handle assembly. Down River Equipment usually has stock of both.
Wear shoes in the Safety first, then teamwork.
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