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Wood oars are nice to row with, if they are well made, but with the kind of abuse I put my oars through, I can’t imagine paying that kind of money, or having something with such fancy finish.

I have the same feeling about fancy guide paddles. When I guided paddle boats, I always just used a customer paddle I found in the river somewhere. I’ve never noticed any kind of advantage to a fancy paddle. If anything the long-shafted guide paddles just mean less leverage.

Don’t even get me started on “shoal cut” blades or square shafts :)
 

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that custom blade shape is nearly exactly This... its a SAWYER Oar
I like Sawyers, most of my oars are from them, or Gull, but the sweetest set I own were made by @MT4Runner here on this forum. Sweetest oars I've ever rowed. The wooden Sawyers are blade heavy, but that's an easy fix with a sander, just hog out everything that's not an oar, and thin those blades down, reinstall a tip protector and you're done, it perfects an off the shelf design that stands on it's own. Or have MT4runner build ya a set..
 

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Wood oars are nice to row with, if they are well made, but with the kind of abuse I put my oars through, I can’t imagine paying that kind of money, or having something with such fancy finish.

I have the same feeling about fancy guide paddles. When I guided paddle boats, I always just used a customer paddle I found in the river somewhere. I’ve never noticed any kind of advantage to a fancy paddle. If anything the long-shafted guide paddles just mean less leverage.

Don’t even get me started on “shoal cut” blades or square shafts :)
A well made oar from quality materials will endure substantial abuse. The great thing about wood oars, is superficial damage can be made whole with a little sandpaper and oil.
I love using beautifully made things and am more than happy to spend time maintaining said things. It’s tough to get over the idea of scratching something nice up, but they were made to be used. So I’ll use them. And using them will make me happy. And that’s the end goal, anyhow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Interesting, Mr. Nichols,
The Sawyer Smoker Whitewater oar is made from solid ash and features a "thicker blade" to withstand rocky rivers. Costs $422. The Sawyer Smoker utility oar has a thinner blade and is $252. But you recommend sanding down those thick blades because they are heavy. What to do?
 

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Interesting, Mr. Nichols,
The Sawyer Smoker Whitewater oar is made from solid ash and features a "thicker blade" to withstand rocky rivers. Costs $422. The Sawyer Smoker utility oar has a thinner blade and is $252. But you recommend sanding down those thick blades because they are heavy. What to do?
Compared to my gulls, the sawyer blades are a lot thicker. Both the dory offering, which is almost a log on the end of the shaft, and the lighter standard oars. Compared to the custom ones I have, which have gone down GC twice on my wooden dory, these are much thicker than necessary, in MY opinion. I only rowed the dory oars for a couple days before I deckded they were way too heavy, and bought oars from MT4runner. Best thing I have done boating wise in many years.

MT4runner taught me to grind them down as thin as was reasonable, I did so and am quite pleased. Beats shelling out 500 bucks a stick again.. Although i'm wanting another set of oars from MT4...
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
I hear ya on just getting fine craftsmanship from a guy like MT4. The Sawyer "Smoker" utility oars are made of ash, but likely more light-duty dimensions than the whitewater oar or drifter oar. Probably too light for whitewater. Since I can't afford a full set of $500+ oars on my regular income I had better look at my collection of stuff in my shop and see what I can sell to buy oars with.
 

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I hear ya on just getting fine craftsmanship from a guy like MT4. The Sawyer "Smoker" utility oars are made of ash, but likely more light-duty dimensions than the whitewater oar or drifter oar. Probably too light for whitewater. Since I can't afford a full set of $500+ oars on my regular income I had better look at my collection of stuff in my shop and see what I can sell to buy oars with.
The smoker whitewater oars are a lot of things, and a whitewater oar is one of them.

I'd PM MT4Runner and chat with him before making any decisions.. Can't hurt anything and his wealth of knowledge about oars eclipses mine...
 
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I hear ya on just getting fine craftsmanship from a guy like MT4. The Sawyer "Smoker" utility oars are made of ash, but likely more light-duty dimensions than the whitewater oar or drifter oar. Probably too light for whitewater. Since I can't afford a full set of $500+ oars on my regular income I had better look at my collection of stuff in my shop and see what I can sell to buy oars with.
Sawyer ‘Whitewater’ oars are $400. My Cataracts with Dynalites are roughly $400. $600/oar for handmade sticks is incredibly reasonable. I’d like to hear from MT4Runner on what he charges. I was approached to make some oars to match the original ones South Fork Skiff used to sell. I told him time/materials with about 10 hrs/oar with a shop rate of $100/hr. Understandably way more than he wanted to spend. (I’m sure, if all I made was oars, I could get that time down a fair amount.)
 

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Sawyer ‘Whitewater’ oars are $400. My Cataracts with Dynalites are roughly $400. $600/oar for handmade sticks is incredibly reasonable. I’d like to hear from MT4Runner on what he charges. I was approached to make some oars to match the original ones South Fork Skiff used to sell. I told him time/materials with about 10 hrs/oar with a shop rate of $100/hr. Understandably way more than he wanted to spend. (I’m sure, if all I made was oars, I could get that time down a fair amount.)
Shoot him a PM.. I'm not going to tell you what I paid, but it was not 600 bucks a stick. He made me 11'6 square top counterbalanced oars, book matched black maple inlays, they are my absolutely favorite oars out of the 50 or so i own..

I would have him make me another set without a moments hesitation..

I used to row cat shafts, then went Sawyer composite with wood blades, then all wood. Got a bunch of cat shafts I'll never use ever again.. they suck hind tit compared to wood, in every imaginable way...

But then, that's MY opinion, 40+ years of boating both commercially and privately. Being in the industry for 10 years, and being a river ranger for 20...

With MY opinion and 8 bucks, you can get a cup of coffee at Starbucks...
 

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Seems like ur just getting a SAWYER Utility Oar Copy
Its def the Same shape / copy
i love my Sawyers old and new ....they make an Xlnt Oars always Have !!!
They have proven to Love this Sport thru 3 diff owners and Always Been a Solid Company
I have 3 Sawyer Wood Guide Stick 2 that have 24,000 river miles on Each over 20yrs and still use everyday all summer
Sawyer Rules .....
You have 48,000+ river miles with a paddle in your hand?
 

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Sawyer ‘Whitewater’ oars are $400. My Cataracts with Dynalites are roughly $400. $600/oar for handmade sticks is incredibly reasonable. I’d like to hear from MT4Runner on what he charges. I was approached to make some oars to match the original ones South Fork Skiff used to sell. I told him time/materials with about 10 hrs/oar with a shop rate of $100/hr. Understandably way more than he wanted to spend. (I’m sure, if all I made was oars, I could get that time down a fair amount.)
Look up "Swiftcurrent Oars" on instagram or facebook if you want to see Shawn's oars. You need to confirm with him about pricing and timing, but they are in line with what most have been talking about on here. It is a side hustle for him, so he kinda makes them when he has time. Making four oars at the same time is much easier then making two and then having to replicate them if you break one or lose one, so he incentivizes getting a full set with his pricing (the more you buy the cheaper they are per oar).

If you'd like to get a set right away... I might have a line on someone who ordered a bunch early in the year and might have a few sets left to sell, so shoot me a PM if you might be interested.

I don't have any stake in this other then being a happy customer and wanting to see a couple of buddies do well.
 

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Don’t think for a second I know anything about the subject BUT this winter I wanted a wood working project and I was thinking of a dory, then oars, then paddles after I realized I suck at woodwork and I have no time. Anywho as I googled o found a lot of wood canoe guys that build paddles and a few that build oars too. Anyway a simple google search and you may find a few more guys willing to build oars. Dunno I’d it’s cost effective or any details I just remember seeing them and saying oh look they build oars too. As long as iam talking out my ass I’ve also been shopping for a live aboard sail boat and remember there are dozens of wooden sailboat builders that build dingys and or east coast dories that build custom oars too… where do you guide ? I’d come take a ride on your boat for fun! Mt4runner can build them or you can follow his thread on here too!!
 

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Liking this idea of spending the winter trying to make some wooden oars. First go will probably be some 8' oars out of pine just to work out some of the basic kinks. Outcome might only be suitable for garage wall art, but should be fun anyway. Assuming this process doesn't kick my butt too badly, where do you pro's get chunks of ash from that would be big enough to make oars out of?
 

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Liking this idea of spending the winter trying to make some wooden oars. First go will probably be some 8' oars out of pine just to work out some of the basic kinks. Outcome might only be suitable for garage wall art, but should be fun anyway. Assuming this process doesn't kick my butt too badly, where do you pro's get chunks of ash from that would be big enough to make oars out of?
I buy my paddles from Jim Snyder and he has written some about wood selection. He still has a stash that he and Keith Backlund cut decades ago! My wood selection process | RivrStyx by Jim Snyder
 

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Over my hard shell kayaking career I have used a couple of JimiStik kayak paddles and several of his kayak designs for New Wave. The feel of these paddles in use is hard to impossible to duplicate.

Paddles perform at the highest levels but honestly also so pretty, you want to keep them on display as wall art.

I do not know if he makes oars, but his kayak and canoe paddles are works of art and performance.
 

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I reached out to jbLaramie directly, but thought I’d extend the offer: if you are in the general area of me (East Idaho), or within the delivery areas of the hardwood suppliers I have accounts with, I can possibly help with getting you materials for oars and such. I get wholesale pricing and am willing to share that discount. Just don’t tell anyone. 😉
 
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