Thread: what timber for oars?
22nd Dec 2007, 04:32 PM #1
what timber for oars?
Hi folks. I am a newbie in that I have just registered despite reading this Forum for several years.
I have a question about suitable timber for oars...but first some background.
I have a set of plans ....a la "Rip,Strip &"Row" ...to build a Cosine Wherry.
The plan is to bead/cove the WRC strips and store them in 6m lengths of 100mm PVC sewer pipe suspended from workshop roof. This should keep the stock straight and ready for use until I can find time/space to build the Strongback.
Next the Oars which can also be stored.
I have drawings for 8foot spoon blades ...and with my bandsaw, drawknives etc I reckon the build process is OK.
I have also searched this forum and other wooden boat sites and have a lot of information about boats and oars.
However in north America they tend to use Sitka Spruce which is both strong and light...and most suitable for oars. It is also used to make wooden airframes ( remember the Spruce Goose?)
The oars will start with a 45-50mm square shaft x 2400mm and two "ëars" glued to one end.... for a blade width of about 130/150mm.
Question: which is the best oar timber available in OZ?
Do I use Radiata Pine clears? Hoop-Pine? WRC?
If Hoop pine...Where could I get in Melbourne?
Timber wear/damage is not an issue as I will fit Leathers at the rowlocks and inset a hard tip on the blades.
Any clues & advice gratefully received
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24th Dec 2007, 03:34 AM #2
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Oregon for the main part and a feature of Sheoak would be my choice.. well it is my choice its what I intend to use whenever the heck I get around to building the damned canoes Ive had the moulds set up for for so long now theyve grown beards
As long as the main timber is light and strong with some flex it will work... then theres the other issue of asthetics... me I like features and such some people like plain.
ahem... pics please when you start and as you go along... thank youBelieve me there IS life beyond marriage!!! Relax breathe and smile learn to laugh again from the heart so it reaches the eyes!!
24th Dec 2007, 07:33 AM #3
Howdy - the big problem is that you don't want the oars to warp much. This can be difficult these days - but if you laminate the looms out of a few layers - say 3 or more - then it reduces the risk of any serious warp.
With this strategy Hoop Pine becomes quite successful - though I would put pressure on the supplier that the pieces have to be straight.
Dingo's advice above is nice too. Causuarina blades would be a wonder to behold!!!
24th Dec 2007, 02:38 PM #4
Hi Dingo and Michael
Thanks for the prompt replies and the good advice.
I had considered oregon but was not sure. I guess they build spars with it ..so it has to be strong
I have access to some secondhand, seasoned (Canadian ) Oregon which should clean up OK with my saw and thicknesser.
As for the laminating I had also considered but was not sure of what glue lines would look like on a shaped loom. Should be OK if well fitted up and the pattern centered.
A grain-shift would certainly strengthen the looms and I suppose would not stop the flex given that the loom is quite thin.
I have also thought about adding two stripes to the blade by sandwiching two thin strips ( 3-5mm) each side of the shaft/loom and the blade ears at glue -up. Maybe could use strips of darker marine ply or similar?
A fair bit of labour in shaping so they might as well look good when finished.
Yes, I am into boat so photos promised when I eventually get started.
Thanks again for your suggestions
Seasons Greetings & cheers
24th Dec 2007, 03:18 PM #5
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I agree entirely with Michael regarding the laminating, I have a pair of clear hoop oars built about fifteen years ago to a Culler design. They were built out of a couple of VJ boards from a demolished house, and even though I never finished them have worked admirably,
I'm currently building a "nicer" pair (to Storer's free plan design) and pulled out a couple of door frames from the same house, and it's beautiful straight timber.
I'd have no hesitation using hoop, and the coloured laminates won't be too much trouble if you just use them on the blades. Anywhere else and they'd be just too much trouble I think.
Good luck. I should be posting my oar build pics in a month or so as well!
25th Dec 2007, 08:34 AM #6
I would probably not suggest using plywood as a feature veneer between two, what will be, highly stressed components. Use timber - structurally a bit safer as you are in control of the gluing quality!
The traditional way is to keep the looms pretty plain and then go BOONTA with the blades - but whatever makes you happy!!!! Part of the reason might be that sometimes the looms come out not quite straight but it is easy to fix by striking a new centreline once they are glued up. But if your timber is straight and you are careful with the gluing there is a pretty high probability of doing a good job.
That's the main point - if you are happy
25th Dec 2007, 11:00 PM #7
Hi Michael, and thanks.
Yes, I re -read my post. What I meant, was to keep the looms plain and therefore "hide" the laminations/glue joins. Then add two strips... one each side of the loom and between the "blade ears" ( my description)at glue-up.
This would add two, parallel, contrasting stripes to the blades only and these would feather back into the loom at the neck of the blade.
After posting I also thought about the potential of the strips to split under rowing pressure and yes, Ply has several layers of unknown glue strength.
So I take your advice perhaps to use a cut/solid timber feature strip instead ...and rely on a good "poxy" glue joint.
Thanks for sharing your experience and I hope this discussion also assists others in building oars.
12th Jan 2008, 10:12 PM #8
I wonder if you have built your oars as yet.
If not you may wish to consider a method I used. Basically I used Michael Storer's free oar plans then had to change the dimensions.
I have made 4 oars, one paddle and several spars using cheap radiata pine covered with epoxy and laminated plywood blades. I would greatly greatly recommend using smaller width blades 14cm or 15cm and not 20cm. My oars are 8ft long (shorter than suggested) and for a slower boat or for windy conditions 7.5ft oars would be better suited.
I row every week.
My oars are over a year old and I used them all the time. They are still in good condition. Covering the oars in leather and stitching the leather (not hard) is totally worthwhile!!!!
After laminating some pine to give extra diameter at the widest point I then shape with an electric planer, and then sand with an inside out linisher belt.
Because I have done this so often I can plane and sand a piece of timber for an oar/spar/mast in about 45 minutes. I am pretty happy with method.
Yes if you have the money or want the look then solid wood oars are better. Me I wanted oars for functionality, not looks.
my oars can be seen here
I am happy to show you the whole set up in person if you are interested,, assuming you live close to Footscray. Since I did the web page I have stitched the leathers, narrowed the handgrips and added lard on the leather to reduce friction.
n peter evans
peterevans_33 at yahoo dot com dot au
13th Jan 2008, 09:55 AM #9
After re reading your initial post seems you are set on building traditional timber oars.
Wide lengths of 25mm thick hoop pine plans are available at some shop in Port Melbourne. Is called Australian Furniture timbers, 351 Plummer street.
n peter evans
15th Jan 2008, 09:32 PM #10
Thanks for the info. The oars look like a quick solution and you obviously have the process well organised.
Yep, I am about to build 4 traditional 8ft oars from a pattern in the "Rip Strip and Row"book. These have spoon blades which I will shape with the bandsaw and a curved Draw-knife ...which I picked up at a swap-meet.
For the looms I have ripped some old oregon and will laminate this. I am then laminating extra bits at one end to give width for the blade.
The aim is for light and strong. I will see how this goes and will post photos when I get going.
Thanks again for the info.
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