Rope-Wrapping Oars : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I've ordered a pair of Sawyer PoleCats, 10'. They have reinforced fiberglass shafts, wooden handles, and aluminum reinforced polycarbonate every material I could, in one package. Here are the questions:

The river rafting and drift boating crowd favors rope-wrapping the oars over leathers, or plastic sleeves...claiming that they are quieter, have a more positive feel in the horns, and last longer than the alternatives.

What say ye? I'm leaning toward rope-wrapping, and even found a pictorial how-to on a steelhead fishing forum:

Looks pretty straight forward to me..much like wrapping guides on a fishing rod. Some of them wrap the rope over a base of partially cured epoxy, others say that it's too much work to clean up the old expoxy when you replace the wraps. One suggested epoxy 'fillets' at each end, acting much like wrap-stops on fishing rods.

Any ideas or suggestions on techniques of rope wrapping? Best type of rope? Is spray-on shellac an appropriate treatment for the finished wrap?

Any other ideas for this project? Duct tape? Leather thong?


-- Donn Westervelt (, February 08, 2002


Rope works. Needs a bit bigger lock than a leathered oar. I like 3/16' nylon clothes line. For wooden oars the little cushion that it provides helps prevent compressing the spruce under the leathers which is why they get wasp waisted and break. It is a bit hard on the wrists in wrapping it. I clamped one end of the rope in a vice and then rolled the oar to it using body weight. Helps if someone holds the blade.

-- Ben Fuller (, February 19, 2002.

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