oar leather/button installation

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I am almost finished building a Chesapeake Light Craft Oxford shell. I have handbuilt a set of sculls using Glen-L plans. I need to know how to install the leather sleeves and buttons on them. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- john carlson (john.v.carlson@boeing.com), June 22, 2000


Shaw & Tenney, the oar makers, sell leathers and twine. Included with the leather is a page of instructions for the herringbone stitch. They can be reached at 207-866-4867, info@shaw&tenney.com, or visit www.shaw&tenney.com. Other oar makers may do the same.

Leathers will stretch and loosen. I use a bit of epoxy between the leather and an unvarnished spot on the oar to hold the leather from slipping. Some people put leathers on with brass tacks. These hold well but over time will let water penetrate the wood, causing rot under the leather.

-- David Stookey (dstookey@openwater.com), June 23, 2000.

John contacted me directly, but I thought others would be intersted. Good article on leathering in the Ash Breeze (Journal of the Traditional Smalll Craft Association), V21 #1. I concur with a bit of glue under the leathers. I use carpenters white. Oars compress under the leathers over time, which is why leathers get loose. For a bit shell style button, cut a leather strip about 1/2 inch wide and wrap it a few times at the right spot. The ends need to be tapered. Glue as you go. IF a less aggressive button is needed, a turkshead on top of the leather works, or what I have done, a turks head or some wraps under the leather. Lately we have been having really good luck substituting 1/4 or 3/16" nylon line wrapped around the oar, if it will fit in your locks. One end can be captured as a whip, the other glued. Seems to provide a bit of a cushion, better than the leather which keeps the oar from compressing. Of course the old wooden D loomed oars had a bit of hard wood glued on the compression and bottom faces.

-- Ben Fuller (bfuller@midcoast.com), June 24, 2000.

John, WoodenBoat No 148 has an article on leathering oarlocks. It takes a lot less leather, you can use scraps. It also confines the oar grease to the oarlock; at the end of the day you can wipe down the scull keeping the sleeve area clean.

-- Bill Bowden (firden@cascade.org), July 19, 2000.

A futher bit of info on leather and oars. To keep the leather used fresh etc is a problem. In Wooden Boat Aug. 1999 issue #149, Greg Rossel reviewed a product called Hubers's Shoe Grease. It is an all natural product made mainly of Pine Tar and Beeswax. He stated that he found that it worked very well not only on the leather but also on the wood. I purchased some and found that he told the truth, and recommned it not only for your boat leather but also for your shoes!

-- Tom Galyen (tagrev@aol.com), August 27, 2000.

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