oarlocks needed

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I just received a beautiful Amberjack dory from Nomad Boatbuilding. Mark Reuten did a wonderful job on the boat and hand made spruce oars. I've run into a problem, and Mark is off having fun on the Great Glen Raid in Scotland. His oars have a square loom inboard and are slightly oval rather than round in cross section to give strength in the direction of pull with less overall weight. He supplied size 1 open horn oarlocks, but when I stitched the leathers on the diameter was too wide for the locks. Too snug to move or rotate the oar at all. I started looking for larger oarlocks (size 2) but am finding they have a larger size shank which probably won't fit the gunwale sockets on the boat. What to do? First I could try thinner leathers but I think the leather will be much less durable by the time I find thin enough ones. I've also considered wrapping the oars in some type of protective tape that would add less width than leather. Yes, I would have to plan on replacing tape more often. I'd hate to have to replace the entire sockets on my brand new boat. Any suggestions?

-- Allison Banks (Allison_Banks@nps.gov), June 09, 2004


A couple of ideas. One, wet the leather and see if you can "narrow" or thin it a bit. Second, all oarlocks are not created equal. Look for a slightly wider one. (Bristol bronze has an inside diameter of 1 3/4" http://www.bristolbronze.com/hm7309.htm ) Third, break out the file and trim just enough material to make it fit. Fourth, go nylon with a Gaco oarlock. http://www.gacooarlocks.com/oarlock.html (I have no personal experince with these.) Fifth, get the #2 size oarlocks and file down shaft to fit.

My oars are wrapped with a nylon cord that seems to work pretty well. But then the oar shafts themselves are pretty thin. -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (gwpowell@hotmail.com), June 10, 2004.

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