Monday, October 18, 2010

Modification of the situation

After having rowed Dark Secret with oars that were way too short, I decided to rectify the situation. At one point I was told, "I've got a long pair of oars in the garage that you're welcome to use." People have become so accustomed to the crappy short oars that are sold these days that a 7 1/2' pair seems long.

I made a piar of oars about ten years ago. The were for a tender that I used for getting out to a boat I used to own. The oars were about 6 1/2' long, crudely spooned and way too clunky. They were so miserable in hand that the only use they ever really got was as curtain rods in the house I rented in East Gloucester.

They are made of local spruce, obtained as a "staging plank" at my local lumber yard. I had a chunk of native spruce left over from getting out the spar blanks for Dark secret, so I figured that I'd make the best of things and cobble something together.

I lopped off the handles and cut a nice long scarph (16:1) on the bandsaw. I cut matching scarphs in the new loom blanks, dry fit things together a few time to get the run just so, and glued them together. I let them sit overnight and began shaping them the next morning. They came out pretty decent for the comparatively little bit of time I have in them.

I took lots of material out of the looms, particularly near the blades, and I lightened up the blades as much as I felt I could. My goal was to get the balance point as far inboard as I could. I may have to let in a small chunk of lead to get it where I want it.

The stock I had on hand limited my overall length to 9' 8". I'd like to have been able to go longer, but Manchester harbor is pretty tight. I'm concerned about getting through the mooring field with my 19' 4" beam (9'8" x2), let alone the 22' or so that I had as a target.

I'm building up finish on them during the next few evenings, and getting some more varnish on the boat, too. I'm going to re-launch at the tail end of the week and then call it a season.

More photos soon, as well as feedback on rowing with better oars.