laminated wooden spoons or carbon fiber? : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

I need some 9' 6" oars for my Sea Pearl, a 600 lb, 21' open cat ketch.

If I get real good 9' 6" oars, can I also use them for a car top open row boat I might make in the future?

Can I use any good spoons for the larger boat or does a big boat like this require special oars?

Should I buy high quality ($500.00 a pair) carbon fiber oars or should I make laminated wooden spoons from a kit ($120.00). I don't know much about oars except that the solid wood ones I have now are too heavy.


-- Dan Lockwood (, November 29, 2003


Dear Dan,

Get the cheapest pair of oars you can find. Your heavy Sea Pearl isn't going to respond any better to state of the art sculls than to an ordinary pair. And, if the the boat you're planning to build isn't a true high-performance shell, it won't benefit much from them either.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (, November 29, 2003.

Andre, he already has the cheapest set of oars, the ones he has!

If you can make a set of laminated spoons, I'd do that. They are nice oars. IMO Carbon fiber is not worth the price for the amount of rowing you are going to do. And you won't want hatch blades anyway if the water is rough and since these are your only oars, why bother.

The claim is that spoons are 40% more effiecent than flat blades, but of course 40% of ineffiecient isn't much of a benefit.

Of course when you are 10 miles out and the wind has died and you are rowing to get home as the sun sets, you'd have paid any amount to have the lightest set of oars... But then you saw that the wind was dying and sailed in so this won't be a problem.... And once on shore didn't you need a new ... with that money? :> -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, November 30, 2003.

Dan - for your OpenWater boat look up bird's mouth spars on the net or check woodenboat magazine's index of articles on bird's mouth spars...

you can build your own hollow shaft oars using this technique .... i just used 2 layers of 1/8th door skin epoxied together to make the blade then expoxied that to the hollow shaft....

can take some digital photos.... of my oars and email them to you if you want....

Mike efficienty issues

-- mike Reiner (, December 02, 2003.

Dan, Are you thinking of the laminated oar kits from Aeneas Originals? I thought they looked nice too. Has Anyone used these?

Mike, I would be interested in seeing what your oars look like also any additional info on making them. I'm well into construction on a Firefly, so I keep to start thinking about the "engine" soon. Doug

-- Doug C (, December 05, 2003.

typo in email on previous post! sorry This one's right:

-- Doug C (, December 05, 2003.

Just one more bit of information, while I have not made my own birdsmouth anything, there turns out to be two ways of cutting those ends, one use a tablesaw and tilt the table. Or buy a special router bit and use a router table. The bits are expensive, $30+ shipping, and if you don't own the table or router you could be in for big $$. But if you were to do a lot of this work it might be worth it.

I found the bits for sale at full link follows: page=45160&category=1,46168,46174&ccurrency=2&SID=

And a nice article about them at : with photos on making the blade as well.

Yours dreaming of setting up jigs and making my own oars. (A bandsaw might be nice too for making the blades.) -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, December 05, 2003.

Thanks for all the fine replies on this question. I've been doing research all week on the various options that have been so well presented. By chance, this week, I also saw the movie (for the third time), The Secret of Roan Inish. It's got some fine old fishing boats being rowed about the seas of Ireland. Also, the Hornblower series was on cable TV. Lots of rowing of heavy boats like the Sea Pearl in those films.

I also had a long talk with John, an oar tech at Concept 2, and he pulled the orders of two ocean rowing teams and we talked about the oars they bought from Concept 2. I was surprised to find out that a pair of light carbon glass sculls suitable for the Sea Pearl only cost $350.00.

One reason I'm so focused on this is that my friend David Wicks and I are going to be in a 300 mile race in March with my Sea Pearl. No motors are allowed. David is a fine paddle maker and wants to make oars but I may go for the Concept 2 sculls.

-- Dan Lockwood (, December 06, 2003.

Dear Dan,

In a 300 mile race more important than the type of oars is going to be your knowledge of the wind and current. If there are tide charts of the area get them and know what the expected currents are going to be on days that you will be on the water. If there is any way you can sail/row this course between now and March, do it. Local knowledge cannot be under estimated. (I'm assuming this is not an out and back race to some mid Atlantic bouy)

Also you will want to know the fastest points of sail for your boat. For instance with the wind dead aft, sometimes downwind reaching is faster than running before the wind.

The fastest time between two points in a sail/row boat is rarely a straight line.

Have fun! We'll be cheering you on. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, December 08, 2003.

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