DIY Oars and Raft - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 02-02-2018   #1
Pieter Porcupine
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 279
DIY Oars and Raft

Hey Buzzards, two DIY questions on one thread:

1- Has anyone ever made their own oars or considered trying it?
I have access to a full wood shop and have made a kayak paddle in the past.

2- I just picked up a 1.2 hp Gamefisher engine but I donít have a motor mount
on my 14í Hyside. Has anyone ever seen or experimented with making a motor mount to fit around the stern with plywood? I think itís self evident that I would need to install some new d-rings but the motor only weighs like 15 pounds!

Thanks in advance!

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Old 02-02-2018   #2
 
plainfield, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 92
I have made oars, it is a ton of fun, bordering on therapy. and, wood oars are really nice to row with, there is a nice spring and the handles feel great.
I have made two sets so far, one ash and cherry (that weight a TON) and one set that is ash and cedar (that I use all the time) I think the biggest trick is finding nice wood, and then having at it. I think I totally overbuilt my oars too, and will be trying again with lighter species this summer.

I started by ripping all my stock into 1/2 by 2 inch strips on the table saw, and then ran them through a lunch box planer to make them flat. I laminated them all up using west system g-flex epoxy (it has a bit more give then the straight epoxy). If you can get the grain all running in one direction,
it will make shaping much easier. I clamped every 8 inches. I also did all this on standoffs covered in kraft paper (easy to sand off) At the blade end I ran the center piece of wood short so I had a place to help fit the blades.
I used a big 1/2 inch router to hog out the shafts, and then set to work with a a straight and curved spoke shave (that was amazing).
I shaped the blades with a combination of spokeshaves, hand tools, belt sander, and 5 inch grinder with a flappy disc. Good lung protection is really important for that. I used a cataract blade as a template. after the blades were shaped, I coated them with RAKA uv stabilized epoxy, and laid one layer of fiberglass on each side. I finished them with spar varnish (left the handles raw) and have been using them since.
I may try to make a set out of spruce with ash blades this summer and see if I can get something lighter.

So, short answer, definitely, it is good fun, just use good adhesives!
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Old 02-02-2018   #3
 
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 990
Jerseyjeff, sounds like very nice oars. You ever heard of the Swan Hotel, off hwy 9 in Linden, I had a crash pad there for 14 yrs. When I commuted to Newark Airport. Looks like Plainfield is just a few miles away.
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Old 02-02-2018   #4
 
plainfield, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2016
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Yep, Linden is pretty close to us, some decent food, but not a lot of green space. I am close to family but get to drive 1-5 hours for good water to boat
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Old 02-02-2018   #5
 
Ridgway, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 226
I haven't built my own oars.

I have built an R1 paddle, kind of. My buddy had a professional paddle building company that he shuttered but still had all of the "stuff". He lined me out, I did the labor and gave him bourbon.

I've given oars a lot of thought, and talked to him about it. The take away is that if you are doing this to save money, call Sawyer and give them your CC info.

If I were going to build them myself, I would source glass or carbon (or blended) pipe online. That way I'd only have to shape the blades and handles. If he was into creating the tool paths for the CNC for bourbon, I'd make some make some molds out of MDF and use those to make the blades. If not I'd shape them by hand and use a vac bag for the composites.
Handles are easy.
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Old 02-02-2018   #6
Misspellingintothefuture!
 
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Tabernash, Colorado
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Posts: 1,901
My dad has made his own oars before. Milled a 2x4 to make the shaft, plywood blades, was pretty cheap. Got him down the San Juan at least.

Ones Jeff describes sound way nicer.

Often the reason for making things yourself isn't to save money though.
It is something of more value than money, kind of like running a river by yourself, instead of with an outfitter.
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Old 02-02-2018   #7
 
thornton, Colorado
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DYI oars

Quote:
Originally Posted by jerseyjeff View Post
Yep, Linden is pretty close to us, some decent food, but not a lot of green space. I am close to family but get to drive 1-5 hours for good water to boat
Small world, we were boating neighbor's for 14 years, only to discover that through the Buzz, on the Internet . I started commuting to Newark in 1996 to do international flying, only stayed 4 to 5 days a month in Newark.......MountainPete we use to build our own oars out of Apiton wood. It was 2 in. x 2 in. by 8 ft. to 15 ft., depending on the raft length ( 15 ft. to 30 ft. rafts ). We would shave and sand to create the handles and cut a slot to insert the blade, than 2 to 3 bolts to hold blade. The only water proofing was exterior paint (probably contained lead). They would last forever, if the blade broke we would unbolt it and replace it with another. Back than we built all our own equipment, frames, oars, cargo boxes etc. We use them on Cat, Deso, Yampa, Green, Dolores etc. D9er an old boating buddy sent me some pictures of a raft we at RMRE built back in 1973, I believe. He did such a fantastic job of restoring it, I have to share it. It shows the oars.
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Old 02-03-2018   #8
Misspellingintothefuture!
 
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Tabernash, Colorado
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Wow. Way cool Raymo!
Kinda makes more sense for the boater, if there if just one planned weak spot in the oar. Then you can just replace the broken piece, which seams to be the easiest to part to build?

Wheels turning for building my next set of oars, my Carlisles are getting pretty beat up...
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Old 02-03-2018   #9
 
La Grande, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1984
Join Date: Dec 2011
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motor mount

i made a motor mount out of bent conduit and plywood bent conduit all most all the way around welded chain link on top and used straps to keep mount from rolling, i could take photos tomorrow if interested
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Old 02-03-2018   #10
Pieter Porcupine
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2014
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Seems like there are two schools of thought here: laminated soft wood shafts, with handles carved in and hardwood blades laminated to the shafts AND some sort of a composite oar with the backbone of a fiberglass/carbon fiber shaft with turned handles, and wooden blades that are designed to be removed.

I have some really nice, clean, long and straight Doug Fir that I can use for the shafts. I’m fairly certain I could router out a modified half lap joint to connect an ash blade with glue or a mechanical connection. I think the crux for this would be making nice handles AND creating the connection to the oar lock. Pins and clips or sleeves? Sleeves would require the shafts be the correct dimension, yet I have never rowed pins and clips. Either which way I intend to rip the boards into square strips and laminate with the grain rotated 90 degrees for each strip so the grain opposes warping. Clamping will be done with a few bicycle inner tubes stretched tight. Definitely agree with the west system of epoxy for all structural connections. Blade geometry will be a fun challenge but I think I’ll create a router sled to put a taper in them from shaft to tip.

I’m not interested in saving money as much as I’m interested in practing two ancient arts: woodworking and boating.
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