has anyone tried this construction-.5" baltic birch (plywood) sandwiched in between two .75" doug fir. Both 2" wide.There is a seam about 6' down from the handle in the birch and  the paddle is formed from the birch as well.See attached pictures of the prototype in the rough. Any comments or advice are welcome.Thankyou

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I would think they will end up quite paddle heavy,to get them to balance you'll need lead in the handles.Is the BB exterior grade?

What kind of water will you be rowing in? flat water only? If so probably fine, however if you are going beyond flatwater you might want to review the oar building that has been done by folks on these pages. The search function will help you out.

Rick N

Dreu:  Having built at least 3 pairs of "composit PW/DF" oars of this type you are way over designed. Tungsten is right- they will be heavy and feel like telephone poles.  Try to find RD Cullers chapter on oar building - I used it as a guide.  My shafts started out at 1 3/4-2   inches at the loom/leathers andtapered to 1"x 1 1/2 at the "throat" where it joins  the blade. Blade was 4"x24" with about 8" up into shaft.  Blade was 9mm Merranti.  The 1" dimention at the throat is "up and down" parasllel with the blade and 1 1/2" thickness in the direction of the stroke.  Doing this from memeory as one set is in WA and one in MT.

Good Luck  

thanks for the advice.I started the build before asking any questions so I have some material to remove.That bb plywood is mfg'd with waterproof glue,the same as the sides ( in.25") of my drifter.Attached is pics of an oar lathe I came up with to round out the shafts


Thumbs up for trying something. Good idea on the lathe. I need to try something myself, and not complaining at all cause I`ll be so happy to have a drift boat but this build has wiped out my funds, just cant afford the name brands oars

Dreu/Mike  let us know how the home build lathe works. I am not that smart to engineer one so the old fashion drawknife and spokeshave might be a little slower but all my oars, sailboat masts and sprits have been made with hand tools.

Good luck

I am hot on the trail to get this boat on the water this summer so a quick way to shape and round out the oars came to me on one of the many nights sleep is disturbed with my boat build.I am happy to say it works very well,but you have to "trim" the plywood a little as you go as it is tougher than the fir and will tend to oval a little.I wound down the shafts to 1.75" give or take a little as well as trimmed the paddle to lighten it a little.I probably will have to add some weight as tungsten mentioned.Another thing about the lathe.slow speed is best.I used 36 grit belt off of a belt sander among other things.Be carefull as it can catch and wrap and grab your fingers and give you a painfull sanding injury.Hopefully I can finish this  before my wife decides she's been a shop widow for too long.Thankyou for everyones input.Take care everyone-Dreu

Cool. I bet those will work. Any oar is better than none. Gotta have something to start with to figure out any tweeks. I`m leaning towards laminating some wood for the blades, I like the lathe idea, Dorf made a lathe to use a router with that looked pretty cool too. Ive got to have mine done in a couple months for a outing, I`m getting close though to having the boat done. Oars and a trailer is next up for me.

On woodenboatforum.com I found this link to a lathe system a guy is building for his production shop. https://www.flickr.com/photos/arbordg/sets/72157633729796156 Check it out.


That is seriously serious!!! I dont think I`ll try for a setup like that, I`m thinking more finding a spokeshave :)

Before you build, check out the oar building posts on blogs by Brad Dimock and Mark Stuberr...

Also visit Troy Nichols posts.

Rick N


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