I built a 14' dory, Tracey Obrien design.  After spending 20 or more days rowing it I have found that the oar locks will pop up a good 1" from the top of the oar lock mount.  That is, oar lock shaft is 1" longer than the oar lock block, allowing the 1" slop.  To fix this problem I think I've got a few  of options:

1. I could add a 3/4" block washer to the oar mount.  Would I mount this washer to the underside of oar lock or to the top side?  And if added to the top side, how will it effect the rowing?

2. I could find/install a compression spring to the oar lock shaft (same idea as a wood block).  This would allow a bit of shock absorption.   What would be the appropriate compression spring and where would I find it?

3. Or do I just drill another hole in the hole lock shaft, R&R the split ring and call it done?

I'm all ears and thanks for providing this forum.


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Hi Steve,

Is the boat otherwise comfortable to row? When the oars are level and perpendicular to the length of the boat, is the distance between the oar handles comfortable? Does that position feel too high or too low? Are the blades going in the water too deep?

When I built my boat, I made the sidewalls a little to high above the water. The result is I needed long oars. The result of that is I have to press down when the oars are out of the water. I could install counterweights, but that has consequences too.

A lot to consider.


I bought the regal extra tall oar locks to have some adjustability. They come with delrin spacers for this very reason. NRS sells a spring and washer kit as well, exactly as you’re describing. I’d just go get some plastic sleeves from the hardware store as spacers. The spring would be nice too but I don’t think it’s really necessary. 

Thanks and Merry New Year to Guy and Bennett!  To answer Guys question, yes my boat is comfortable to row.  However, having never rowed another boat, I have no point of reference.  

Bennett, the NRS kit looks like just the ticket. 

Stay Well,


If your locks are rising, my guess is the oarlock blocks/bore holes are canted out too you pull on the oar, it's pulling up on the lock.

Either a solid spacer or spring will fix the popping out symptoms--the NRS springs are about 1.5" can either compress them or cut them down slightly. Put a washer between the spring and the block so the spring doesn't tear out the bottom of the block.


Thanks for your reply.  I just ordered the NRS spring kit.


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