I restored a 1983 Keith steele drift boat ( you can find my discussions on the project on this site) and recently the original owner gave me what he called the oars that came with the boat. They are very light Smokers. Any idea what the wood is? Rope is in good shape but they are weathered and need refinishing. I was thinking of a good sanding and teak oil. Any suggestions? I live in Montana and oars will be stored indoors but unheated space all winter. 

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Keith sold Smokers which came from the factory varnished.  They last a long time with minimal care.  I have just sanded them every couple of years and revarnish them.  I do not varnish over the rope.  Some people like the tip protectors Smoker sells.  I do not, as they trap moisture which can lead to rot.  The Smokers I am using on my two Steele boats are 20 years old!

I think Smokers were traditionally ash.

Kirk, I too purchased a pair of light Sawyer oars for $50. The only issue with the ash oars was the rotted wood that started under the tip protectors that had been installed and trapped water. Here is the posting on the rebuild process:http://woodenboatpeople.org/forum/topics/rebuilding-an-oar

I sand them and reapply a polyurethane varnish whenever they get beat up. The wood stays protected and the repair has been working for years.

Rick Newman


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