Hey Guys and Gals - 

Just finishing up our boat here and had some questions about getting the oar lock at the correct angle. We put in blocks in there with a few different positions fore and aft, but we took it for a test float the other day and the actual angle of the rails / hull, which the block has to follow, is too shallow. Basically, the oar cannot lift out of the water more than a few inches.  

I know all of our rib and hull angles are to spec, but I'm guessing the problem lies in that the plans are for a fully decked whitewater dory, which would have another system for oar locks. 

Any solutions out there for this?  Attached are a few pictures - 

***also, paint and interior are not done, we just wanted to make sure we had no leaks. 

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Boat looks real nice. You should have plenty of space in the locks for the angle of the sides. It has everything to do with your seat height, floor boards and oarlock. My seats sit a little high, so I made some raised oar lock blocks.

One thing you can do is cut footholes in the floorboards to drop you legs down another 4" if your tall. Lower the seat, or raise your oarlocks, either the blocks or the locks. I found a really nice extended oarlock from Regal, heres a link


It doesnt say what the shaft dia. is but I would think 5/8".

Thats pretty much your choices, only other thing would be if your oars were way too long, or your blades were way too wide. Most DB oars have thin width blades.

Hey Mike,

Thanks for your input. I'm going to try to configure the seat height and all of that this weekend (currently testing height by different coolers laying around the shop). Those raised oarlocks look great, is there any issue with the stability there? My oars are 10.5 smokers that my other wooden boat buddy uses on his McKenzie just fine. 

Ive only dry tested my boat, I`m a few weeks from hitting the water. Stability wont be a problem. They fit snug, hang down below the rails nice and Ive got 2 bolts to bolt them into the rails. My boat is smaller than yours, 10.5 is pretty long so your seat height will be crucial. Some guys have made a lock block 3" higher than the rails, to have a higher seat (guys that are really tall) Most people say around 16" from the bottom of the boat(not the floorboards) to the seat is pretty normal.

What design is this? It looks like a Briggs which is The only boat I know that is decked that you can get plans for, and that boat has highly flailed sides which need the oarlock s tipped upright to compensate. I believe a 48" Briggs gets between 7-10 degrees of flair. The highly flaired rogue boats which the Briggs descended from have even more flair and those boats tip there locks like 15 degrees. What are the width of the bottom and width of the beam? Mabye you need to add higher or switch to differant oars. Without dimensions were just guessing. I'm about to do this lake test with my decked boat soon and and would love to know your dimensions and what you figure out.

Chris - You are correct. This is a Briggs based off Dimmock's Grand Canyon boats like the Rio Rojo and Omo. Big difference is that I won't be decking mine anytime soon. I know he does a whole bracket that bolts into the deck, but I'm fairly sure he casts those all himself. 

The width on the floor is about 47" and the beam is 79"


One can only guess without "seeing" your boat and "knowing" the actual dimensions of your boat, which by the way is looking outstanding.

You might want to experiment around with your oar wrap material and a different oar lock before you start tearing into your boat. A smaller rope wrap diameter and a larger "inner diameter" oarlock can allow more vertical movement for your oar. Also, make sure that your oarlock horns are just a little bit smaller than the diameter of your oar, about 1/4" on each side. A 10.5' oar seems a little long for a 79" boat beam. For comparison, my boat beam of 86" / 27" side height at the oarlock works with a 9.5' oar on mellow water and a 10' oar for whitewater. Maybe cut 6" off of the oar at the top and rework your grip.

Here is a link to a great oarlock: http://www.oregonpattern.com/

Ask for the "Franks" oarlock which is not listed on the website.

I also had the same issue and worked it out with a different oarlock block: http://www.woodenboatpeople.com/profiles/blogs/ta-dah-custom-18-x-5...

Just like the other fellas are saying, you will eventually have to adjust your seat height and distance from the oarlock to fit your body frame and height. You don't want to being rowing under your knees or above your eye brows!

Happy Rowing!



Hey Rob, 

Sorry for the late reply. All good things. I went by Wet Dreams (our local river supply) and checked out the Sawyer Cobra's which seem to much more play than the ones I have now. I think we may just beef up the block and lay it a bit above the rail so we can get a tiny bit of a steeper angle out of it.  Once I get those in I'm going to take it back to the pond to see which seat height is going to be perfect.  

As far as cutting the oars, don't you think that would throw off the weight and balance of them? I guess since they're solid ash it wouldn't really matter. 

As long as I can avoid my brothers solution of "just throw a damn tohatsu on it already and dont worry about rowing" I'll be happy. 




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