Question about smoker oars - Mountain Buzz

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Unread 21 Hours Ago   #1
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kuuskv's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 158
Question about smoker oars

Can anyone with a pair of smokers give me a little bit of info?

I'm considering building a pair myself (I tinker in the woodshop) and I'm curious if sawyer makes their oars out of a single piece of lumber, or if it is several pieces glued together (i.e. 1 piece for the shaft + several more pieces for the blade)?

It seems like a single piece would make the most sense in terms of strength and durability, but would also be substantially more expensive than gluing up several pieces of stock.

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Unread 13 Hours Ago   #2
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 373
I have a set of their driftboat / dory oars and they appear to be made of a solid piece of wood. One thing I'd change is to make the blades considerably thinner and lighter than the sawyers, they are HEAVY, and I don't understand why they don't offer a counterweight option on the wood oars like they do for the composites.
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Unread 7 Hours Ago   #3
My name isn't Will
Will Amette's Avatar
Willamette Valley, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 155
I have a 9-footer that's one solid piece of wood from blade tip to the end of the handle.
My name isn't actually Will.
I live in the Willamette Valley about a half mile from the Willamette River.
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Unread 6 Hours Ago   #4
plainfield, New Jersey
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Apr 2016
Posts: 100
I have been messing about with oars too, and it is pretty awesome to take a spokeshave to the shafts to get the shape, I have been gluing up, and experimenting with different woods. I have made a set of ash and red cedar, and a set of ash and cherry oars, I make my blanks, 1.75 inch squares x 9 feet long and then knock down the corners with a power plane. The cherry/ash are stunning to look at but stupid heavy, they have not been on the water, the ash/cedar are amazing, and are a ton of fun on the water.
I am using thickened west epoxy for the glue up, thickened with silica. I have handshaped the blades, but, it seems like many pro wood paddle builders are using a 6 inch grinder with sanding disks to shaoe their paddles
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Unread 5 Hours Ago   #5
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 315
There is a good thread here on some DIY oar projects that might provide some of the insight you are looking for.
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Unread 3 Hours Ago   #6
GeoRon's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1974
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 805
I don't know how to say this,,, except to promote a response.

You get 99% of the feel of a home crafted wood oar out of Sawyer Polecat shaft. Why bother? Other than you end up with the total satisfaction of a home crafted high maintenance beautiful piece of pure pride.

I salute you and your craftsmanship but is it really any better???? Put me in my place.
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Unread 3 Hours Ago   #7
Electric-Mayhem's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 1,235
I don't know about Smokers.... but I can't say I'd willingly give up my Sawyer Squaretops for anything else. Absolute joy to row with. Very low swing weight, nice flex, and warm in the hand (one major benefit of wood handles) and they float flat in the water. I know this is about making your own oars and not about which Sawyer Oar is the best...but IMHO there is a bigger difference between a Polecat Oar (or Carlisle or other cheap oar) and a higher end oar then 10%. If you make it yourself...those differences will be all on you but it seems worth it to me to have it exactly like you want.

My Squaretops are laminated Douglas Fir with a carbon fiber weave over 3/4 of the shaft. The Sawyer Dynalite blades that are a part of the Squaretop are all integral with the shaft and also covered in carbon. At least the part I can see is 3 layers of wood glued together but it disappears under the carbon as it tapers so it could go down to one piece further down I guess.

I'm sure either way works. Definitely have a look at the "DIY Squaretops" thread even if you don't want to do a Squaretop style oar. The guys on there do some great work and show a lot of the details you'd want to think about especially when considered thickness vs strength vs lightness.

I think if you have the tools and skills to make your own oars...its a pretty cool project and would be pretty neat to row with oars you made yourself, to the exact spec you want. Not factoring in your own time or the tools you had or have to purchase, I imagine you could save a bit of money too (not a guarantee though).
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Unread 27 Minutes Ago   #8
GOTY2011's Avatar
Ellensburg, Washington
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 95
Smokers are one-piece Northern White Ash. From the website:

"Solid Ash oar built with a thicker whitewater blade intended to handle rough water and rockier bottoms. Commercial "big water" outfitters and rafters particularly like this oar's strength and proven long term durability. Comes standard with a Dynel and Kevlar Pro-Tip, oar blade protection from rocks and other debris."


Solid Northern White Ash oar
Tapered oar shaft circumference for a counter balanced feel and excellent flex.
Solid Ash blade for durability and a slight crown power face for a smooth, controlled stroke.
Round barrel grip w/black vinyl grip covers.
Sealed and finished with the finest marine grade spar varnish.
Comes standard with rope wrap, rubber stop & Pro-Tip.
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