Does anyone have experience with different materials to use as oarlock bushings?

My Ray's dory has a bushing within a block of wood for an oarlock.  I don't know what material it is made from.

McMaster Carr has a wide selection of materials that could be used, including-



oil impregnated delrin

slippery polyurethane

and the list goes on.

While turning the bushings on a lathe takes little time and effort, the material cost varies from a couple dollars to up to $30.  I could easily spend $100 to test materials, but don't want to.

If you have any experience with different materials, please let the forum and me know.



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Ultra high molecular weight (UHMW) plastic. It’s used by Hyde Drift Boats. McMaster sells it too. 

David at Ray's Dories provided a similar response on the use of UHMW bushing.  However, current practices include solid blocks (no bushings) of either hardwood or UHMW.


My bronze “flange bearings” from grainger work great. They’re oil impregnated and seem to hold up well. They’re really bushings but they list them as bearings. Cost I think 10 dollars or so for a set

I like bronze on bronze.  You'll never replace them.

If you're fishing, UHMW is probably quieter.

But I'm a whitewater guy and not a fisherman, so I'll stick to metal. :)

After 4 years, my blocks of UHMW are holding up well. 

I have thirteen years of use on mine, which are UHMW. 

It seems UHMW gets good reviews.

If blocks were an option, that would be the obvious choice.  I am modifying an outrigger setup where I am adding oars to a canoe.  The rowing outrigger for the oarlocks is being used to increase height between seat and oarlock.  Bushings are my easy option.  

Using UHMW bushings seems to be a known solution.  But for the price of materials and a little lathe time, other options can be tested.



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