I too am interested in a reply to your question, there must be someone out there have an opinion? I have rowed my DB a few times recently and here's what I have observed.
Has anyone out there have any experience they'd like to share to add to this discussion? Please do!
Dorf (with tired /sore arms)
For decades Brad Dimmock has a lot of time on the oars. Here's a link to his blog spot: http://fretwaterlines.blogspot.com/
If you read down to his post of February 15, 2015 Brad discusses Pete Culler's and others impact on oar tuning. Brad has already held the workshop in his wondorous shop in Flagstaff. However you can still read about tuning oars. His a link to a synopsis of his thoughts. http://www.riverswest.org/uploads/1/6/4/3/16435358/pete_culler_oars...
Further research will lead to Pete's info on Amazon.com
Good Luck Ants and Phil. Ants, how was your drive home?
Ants/Dorf : No expert here but I have made several sets of oars using ash, DF, lumber yard spruce some with PW blades. Some have 3/16" nylon wraps and some have traditional "leathers" that are sewn on rather than tacked on to the shaft. For oar stops I prefer to tie turk's head knots but some have leather collars. If you look on page 97 of the photo's, Rick Newman was kind enough to post some for me( I have a hard time with a cell phone).
My drift boat rowing is very limited- as my son now has the boat out in Lyle, WA and I do not pretend to be a "whitewater" rower. However, I have lots of time rowing a Peapod in open water sometimes in heavy water with 2-3 ft rollers in Cape Cod Bay.
The ash oars are heavy and carving away at the blades and lower part of the loom helped but not much. These oars are stiff and as R.D.Culler put it they have no "life". They were a PITA to row for any distance. The balance point was way outboard of the oarlock. I hung the oar on a string and started adding fishing weights at the handle such that the balance point was just below the 12" wraps. Too much lead to fit into the handle so I cast a "collar" to fit just below the handle about 1/2" larger in dia than the handle. Looks a little goofy but much easier to row- and the oar will float if dropped overboard.
One set of oars are made with lumberyard spruce has wood glued to form a square counterweight between the handle and the leathers with plywood blades has a better balance and some spring when rowing.
The best pair have DF shafts 2" in dia with no grain runout and the neck shaved down to 1"-1 1/4" at the blade which is 6mm Merranti PW and 14" leathers. With sewn leathers you just look at the "seam" to get the proper orientation for the blade as I keep the seam off the bottom of the oarlock.
Cullers book is out of print(he is also) and gives excellent oar building advice- more for openwater rowing rather than river running.
Lawrence, there is at least 25 copies on Amazon.com as of 8:25 AM today. From $20.25 and up.
Hi everyone. If you look at most drift boat guides oars, there is quite an extensive rope wrap. On my 9 ft oars, the wrap is 32 inches long so almost 1/3 or the oar. This lets you use different leverage spots on the oar depending on what type of stroke you are taking. A lot of time people will row with their hands far apart. This makes the oars blade heavy. Try bringing your hands in closer to each other so the oar handles are almost touching. The oar becomes more balanced in the oar lock. When rowing the hands should never be wider apart than your shoulders. Also your hands should be chest high, sometimes even higher, especially if your are pushing the boat. Again this brings the oars into a more balanced position in the locks. If you need to make some big power strokes, then move your hands alittle farther apart so you don't clink the handles together in a tight situation, but again, your hands should never be farther apart than your shoulders.
Dorf, when you are just drifting, try tucking the oar handles under your knees, much more comfortable.
Another technique you can try is feathering the oar as the blade comes out of the water. As you finish your back stroke, rotate your wrist back towards you, this will rotate the blade as it comes out of the water for a clean exit. With a push stroke, rotate your hands/wrists forward. Takes a little practice but the result is a nice clean stroke. The feather also helps if you are in fast current and stick a blade in a strong eddy, it will want to pull the oar out of our hands, just rotate your wrist forward and the blade will pop right out of the water......the beauty of open oar locks!
And that, my Friends is about all you really need to know about oars and rowing on rivers with oars. Their is some science about it, but mostly technique, practice and learning the right way initially to avoid aches, pains and lost boats. The only thing I would add to Kurt's very accurate statement is that maybe you should also learn to row "off" of the oar stop or doughnut. This will provide you with more ability to shift the oar up and down the oarlock to accommodate more situations.
There are certainly as many rowing techniques as there are boaters. In my experience, for my own needs, it seems that most written down formulas for determining oar length tell you to use an oar that is too long. My opinion might spur from running mostly tight, technical water where a long oar would be too long for the environment, even though the long oar provides more leverage / power than a short oar. After awhile, with experience, you will use less power anyway and start using more boat hull "angles" to guide the boat down the river.
This really is an important topic for folks to figure out. If you do not "fit" your oars to your specific boat and body, you will certainly have on-going aches and pains and possibly not be able to react or row your boat properly in a "death defying" situation. Do not think of your oar system as an "after thought" to your newly built boat / investment.
Thanks for the advice, I'll give it a try. I am 6'-3" and not very flexible (two knee replacements). I think it'll take a little effort to get the oars under my knees.
Kurt & Robb,
Thanks for the information on rowing, Good stuff for us rookies. I've rowed 4-5 times now for 8-9 hrs and not too tired and sore. Learned real fast how to use the current to do the work as opposed to rowing a whole bunch. I've tried the feathering technique, I think it'll take a few more trips to get that one down.
Thanks for the post. I am sure there are a lot of us who need this kind of information to better use these drift boats we all love. I have decided also to rework my spare oar to take some weight from it by reducing the shaft below the oar locks and thin the blade. I had no idea when i started these oars that they would become an Issue. I thought the only issue was their length and position of hands while in the rowing seat. it's been a real learning experience.
I am surprised the weight of you DB oars are 10.4 lbs. I guess I'll have to take some measurements and see what I have.
Great to meet you and your wife at the festival and put faces to names. Check out one of Brad's latest posts: