New look at oar leathers : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

recent experience with sculling and and asay surfboat made me wonder why the concept of leathering an oar has remained unchanged for 200 years. My question came from realizing that asay and pearson (surfboats) had actually copied racing sculls with their oar sleeves and collars. I owned both a shock dory (currently made by Pierson) and the asay and was surprised that Shaw and Tenney, who make the finest wood oars did not follow the lead of the surfcraft builders. What found is that if you row non feathering, the conventional leather arangement works fine. Recent experience with a narrower fixed seat boat (35" beam with short outriggers) required feathering to stabilize the boat shell style. What I ordered was 7 foot shaw and tenney spoons. I wrapped them in the yellow teflon type material that covers the carlisle surf boat oars. Next I used an asay grey pvc oar collar. Also a U shaped bronze surfboat oarlock that pinches in at the top). The width of the oar sleeve at the oarlock at the collar makes it captive. It can be instantly removed by sliding inboard to the narrower wood shaft. The only major revalation I had was that the setup was too slippery. The oars were twisting during the drive (power) phase fo the stroke. What I did is the best part. I wraped just the foward part of the oarlock with a leather shoelace. Now during the drive I have contact with the leather wrapped part and there is perfect amount of "sticktion" and control. During the release and recovery the oar is at the bottom and rear of the oarlock and can pivot freely to feather. I do recall a past issue of OWR that showed a leather wrapped oarlock? Maybe the idea isnt entirely unique but I think the end result is a refinement of various things I have pieced together. It seemes that the surfboat oars have enough weight and force involved that they dont require the extra friction, ditto for the green machine oars (which I found cumbersome). For a lightwieght pair of balanced oars its a great result. Sorry for the ramble, I will be happy to email pictures of my setup to anyone who is interested. What I aminterested in is a way to create a D shaped collar on a round wood oar shaft, so that I can use D shaped oarlocks, like the non gated bronze ones from alden.Also a way of leathering one half the u shaped oarlock in a sturdier fashion or other materials to use for sleeves, collars and leathering the oarlock?

-- Harris G (, June 22, 2003


You can buy collars and sleeves from Concept II ( that could be fastened to wood oars pretty easily. You would need to talk with an oar technician there to find the correct sized sleeve for your oars.

-- John Swensen (, June 23, 2003.

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