Oarlock design

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I have been making high quality bronze yacht blocks with Delrin ball bearings for the past four something years with great success and have been asked many times if I would consider making oar locks and sockets. I have very little background in this area, but have the skill and the resources to produce very fine products, but I need feedback from you who use them about what you would like to see manufactured (and why). I can use Delrin sleeve bearings and could design from scratch to meet the needs of the market. What are your needs and preferences? My specific question is; Why are there so many styles of oarlocks and which ones are prefered? I would prefere to manufacture at most three styles of locks and as many sockets.

Thank you for your opinion, and I look forward to a healthy collaboration, Jim Reineck

-- Jim Reineck (sales@BronzeBlocks.com), March 23, 2000


Hi Jim I prefer closed oarlocks, where the oar is not able to escape at the top. I would like to see oarlocks made that don't wear thin on the shaft so easily. Bearings? Teflon? Stainless Stee

-- David Bean (bean2846@aol.com), March 25, 2000.

Jim, we have talked about this.

Two types of oars, one has round shafts and one D shaped. The former need a round or U shaped lock, the latter a matching D or squared lock. Round oarlocks lift out of the socket with the oars. They can be useful in racing in rough water but are a nuisance around the dock. Open oarlocks need a lanyard to attach to the boat. I prefer to have an eye on the horn to attach the lanyard to, for all open horn oarlocks. If open horns have a little flare to the horns at the top, a lashing can be put on them to make them act as closed horns in rough conditions (similar to the Thames skiffs where they run a string between the thole pins. Three styles should do it, something closed, a open horn with a lanyard hole, and a open horn that takes a D shaped oar. Many of the folks that used D shaped shafts use pin and gated oarlock which are readily available on the market. I believe that Martin used to make a open horn type for D shaped oars; they were pretty clever in having a horn bent in so that the oar could not come out of the lock in the normal position.

I would not worry about off set pins; all it means is shifting the oarlock mount slightly on the boat.

RE Sockets, basically need two types, one that mounts on top of the gunwale and one on the side. It would be nice and unique if these had 1/2 inch bushings to fit oarlock shafts.

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), March 26, 2000.

JIM: I have sailed with your bronze blocks and I have the great pleasure of owning one of your bronze Herreshoff anchors. The open-water rowers of the world would be blessed to have your oarlocks. I suggest you look at as many designs as you can find. Hopefully we can help you locate them. The standard three oarlocks--round, pin and horn--are made by Wilcox Crittenden and sold by West Marine (800-BOATING), Shaw & Tenney (207-866-4867) and many others. Alden (800-477-1507) still sells their open top oarlock for $39 a pair. There is a good photo of it in their catalog. The best collection of pictures of a wide range of traditional oarlocks that I know of is on pages 76 thru 80 of R.D. Culler's book "Boats, Oars, and Rowing." Long out of print, it is hard to find a copy. I have your address, I'll mail copies. Your suggestion of Delrin sleeves is on target. Bronze oarlocks in bronze sockets is not ideal. I currently use Concept II (800-245-5676) gated locks made of plastic, God forbid, in my Maas 24, Alden bronze locks in my Sea Pearl 21, and vertical through-the-oar bronze pins in the 18' St. Lawrence River Skiff. Each is right for its boat, and all are very different. The Adirondack Guideboat oarlock with its horizontal pin through the oar also has its appeal, although it is non-feathering like the St. Lawrence River vertical pin.

Keep pullin' John Mullen

-- John Mullen (mullen@connect.net), March 28, 2000.


Thanks for your reply ... off list.... If I were setting business priorities I would come up with the bit that no one is making. Sockets with Delrin bushings. The bushings should have an ID of 1/2" plus a touch so that a precision lock can fit. Would need two designs as suggested: a sideplate with a top that hooks over the gunwhale and a model that mounts on the gunwhale. A pure sideplate would be a luxury. These need to have a bit more metal in them so that they can be drilled to fit the od of the bushings.

The open water community would be grateful.

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), March 28, 2000.

One of the really annoying things I find in rowing is a squeaky oarlock. Sometimes water will quiet them down and oil or grease is messy, but for the mostpart they all squeak. So in your quest for the best may I suggest sleeve bearings of at least Delrin AF or Rulon. These materials have 20% +/- Teflon. This might help or cure the squeaks.

Good luck Bob Oar

-- Robert Thomas (bthomas@kollsman.com), May 02, 2000.

Jim, We make and sell a delrin style oarlock we use on our surfboats. It's made to handle a 1/2" shank, although we have done some here and there custom for people. The delrin is great for this application. Catch up with me to discuss this further

-- Chip Eichhorn (Chipmystic@aol.com), January 13, 2001.

Where can I find *just* the delrin liners? I have very nice oarlocks with a shaft that is a tad undersized for 1/2" oar sockets... where can I find simple sleves?

-- Salvatore Raciti (salvy@animationcafe.com), August 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ