Originally Posted by whee
I hope you continue to post build pics. I'd like try building a set of oars but I'm not sure how the layers go together.
Thanks for asking! I wasn't sure if I was posting too much without enough info as I didn't get many responses. Finally got started last Thursday night.
I had originally wanted to make them all out of 2x2 solid stock, but while the grain was straight, there was some curvature in the boards. We ripped the boards to 1 1/16" x 2", and then planed them down to 1"x2". Laminating them--even with only one joint--will make them much straighter and stronger. A side benefit of ripping 1x2's is that we ended up with a couple pieces with knots that we will discard or use for raft paddles, and will be able to build 2 total extra oars.
With all the wood ripped, we started swapping boards around to come up with sets that would all be the same weight. (One heavy board/one light strip, or two medium-density strips.)
Also flipped the strips end-for-end or upside down to make sure that any grain runout was canceled by straight grain or opposite runout in its mating piece. Grain runout is when the grain runs off the side of the board instead off the end of the board (which is ideal straight grain).
If you have a grain line that runs all the way across the board, it's going to break there. If the grain runs across the board in less than a foot, it's going to break right away. If it runs across the board in 4' or more, there's probably enough strength in the board to not ever break. So, if we had some grain that ran from upper left to lower right, we'd mate it with straight grain wood, or a board that that had runout going to lower left to upper right--counteracting the stress on the runout and minimizing the chance the oar could break from wood splitting.
The wood is all sorted and sitting on sawhorses with big 2" x 8" hardwood strongbacks that will clamp all the oar blanks perfectly straight while the glue cures.
We ran out of beer and it was 11:30pm, so we called it a night. Hopefully gluing tomorrow night. I'm epoxying mine; Jeff plans to use Gorilla Glue on his.