The oars will work constructed either way. With ash in a nine ft oar built around a two inch shaft, there is likely little difference in the flex.....they will be stiff.
thanks yall, Ants, what you suggested sounded just like testing arrow spine in my archery days. Problem is I just don't know how much flex I need having never rowed wood oars. But as Eric suggests there won't be much flex I'll run the grain in the manner that gives them as much flex as possible. Thanks for the suggestions
thanks Dorf, I do plan on tapering them down to 1 5/8 or so
Get a copy of R D Cullers book on building oars- will answer your questions- he made his living building boats and making oars. Ash will be stiff but you might thin the throat down to 1 1/4" x 1 1/2" or so to get some "life" into the oars. Take them out for a trial run- thin them out with a spokeshave to meet your needs and then apply finish later- not on the handles.