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View Full Version : oarlock choices pros cons...round, horn ,"Douglas" square, oval ?



bthomas
11-30-2011, 08:25 PM
Hoping for some pros and cons type discussion of various style oarlocks .

Gardner makes a point of recomending round oarlocks in his chapter on Rangeley rowboat being most convenient for fishing. He also specifies clearly the seat height, position and height and location relative to the seat of the oarlocks.

OK but several posts I have found on search of this forum have commented that round oarlocks restrict the motion of the oar and [I am guessing here] persumably this can lead to the oar not clearing the water on the return stroke.

I intend to have two different style oarlocks, one of which will be round...I bought these "early" before reading about preferences for other styles on this forum.

For the second set I am leaning towards a traditional horned design but would like some guidance from folks that have experience

My problem is I have never rowed anything but an aluminium boat (jon and V) and very little of that ...so I am making guesses with little to go on. As I recall these oars were of the horn style but with a pin thru the oar.

I found at least one supplier making an oval style...http://www.grapeviewpointboatworks.com/oars.html#buttons


BTW I also found clear pictures at least one member [with a sharp looking cosine wherry] has a round set and a horn set mounted and ...perhaps later went to Douglas square? http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?133961-Oar-shaft-oarlock-size-question&highlight=oarlock+round
http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthread.php?83766-oarlock-questions&highlight=rangeley

Jamie Orr
11-30-2011, 08:51 PM
I would say anything but pinned - I don't like being locked into one angle. Otherwise, I prefer the look of horns but I'm presently using round as they were available (they also don't get lost). For a good looking rowing boat I would take the trouble to find some nice horned locks.

Round locks won't restrict the stroke if mounted correctly, that is, vertically. An example of incorrect mounting is having the locks in the same plane as flared dory sides. I ran into this, combined with "leathers" made by wrapping cord around the oar, with the whole mess finished off with a big rubber donut for the button - horrible to row. (Sorry, I'll stop now.)

Jamie

James McMullen
11-30-2011, 10:50 PM
Horned oarlocks or tholes are what you want for open-water rowing. Round are for ship to shore dinghies where you don't row for more than a few minutes at a time. Pinned are for flatwater lakes only, at best. A proper long distance rowing technique involves regular small adjustments in angle, rotation, feather, and leverage (fulcrum point) to adapt to changing water conditions and different courses with respect to wind and waves. A classic horned oarlock gives you the most options for adapting on the fly.

Make sure your leathers are plenty long and don't put the buttons right at the fulcrum. The buttons are only to keep your oars from sliding all the way out when you let go, you don't want to be rowing against them at all, that's a flatwater rowing shell decadence.

http://inlinethumb14.webshots.com/27853/2103134110088484686S600x600Q85.jpg (http://outdoors.webshots.com/photo/2103134110088484686WFIQaK)

Bob Smalser
11-30-2011, 11:07 PM
If rowing the boat isn't the sole objective of the outing...in other words if you are working, fishing, gunning, bird-watching or just taking photos...it's nice to be able to let go of the oars for short intervals without having to ship them.

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/7711190/101681942.jpg

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/4518261/324980985.jpg

Hence all my work boats have round oarlocks, and on fancier sport boats I like horned oarlocks with eyes so I can add a marline lashing. The best of both worlds, as if needed in a seaway, a slash with the knife frees them so a big wave doesn't unship the oarlock along with the oar. And when the oars ship, the oarlocks ship with them:

http://pic20.picturetrail.com/VOL12/1104763/7081299/99960843.jpg

Tom3
12-01-2011, 08:12 AM
For our rowing dinghy, we've found after decades, a round oarlock works well for us with a locking leather button well above. No oars or locks to lose(we've lost both)

I take a lot of photographs and like that I can pull, let both oars go, grab the camera, and ride the direction for the shot.

Plus for a dinghy, the loams slide under the rear thwart, get a lash across the center, and everything you need stays put.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7171/6436107503_86506b4a4d_b.jpg

Thad Van Gilder
12-01-2011, 05:17 PM
I prefer the horn type, but use the round ones on a pair of aluminum oars I have.

The pinned ones and the clamp type ones are the most annoying thing I can think of.

In open water, thole pins are nice, and I enjoy rowing the new jersey lifeboat style ones that come on the Van Duyne's and in years past, the Van Sants.

-Thad

seo
12-01-2011, 08:47 PM
I particularly like round oarlocks because they can be quickly and neatly shipped when bringing a small boat alongside another boat by rotating the oak 90, so that the oar blade is flat to the water. Then push up on the oar handle, and the oar will neatly lift the oarlock out of their mount. This is much better than first getting the oar out, and then fooling with the oarlock, less likely to gouge the boat you're going alongside.
For fishing, pinned oarlocks are good, but aren't much fun to row.
I have a pair of very elegant English bronze horned oarlocks, and I wish I could say that they're much better than simple round ones from Wilcox. They are much prettier.

bthomas
12-01-2011, 09:17 PM
I appreciate everyone's comments and attempts to get me up to speed on what to expect. There are 2 positions on the boat being built so I will be shopping for a second set.

Jamie thanks for mentioning the need for the mounts to be in a vertical plane. I ran out to check...the rear rowing position the gunwales are "flat" (no tumblehome no flare in the sheer at this section of the hull)....but the forward rowing position the gunwales as I mounted them do "twist" following the sheer. In this area in the forward position the bases to get the desired set height will need just a bit of angle planed on them which i will take care of.

My first attempt to build a rowboat so everybody's input is valuable and appreciated.

Bob that leather work is sharp...I checked some internet sites Jamestown, Shaw & Tenney and CLC...they have horned oarlocks but did not see the ones like you have with the eyes for the lashing

James McMullen
12-01-2011, 11:15 PM
You don't need that lashing to keep your oars secure when you let go if you have a button and if the horns are slightly bent in just enough to keep the oar in until you slide it down to the throat where the oar is thinner. I stow my oars underweigh whenever I hoist sail, and I don't like that lashing business at all, not any more than a round, captive oarlock. I don't want those metal bits stuck on my oars waiting to slide down and gouge my varnish when I stow them. My oarlocks are kept captured by a lanyard to the boat, not to the oar.

Tom3
12-02-2011, 07:51 AM
I particularly like round oarlocks because they can be quickly and neatly shipped when bringing a small boat alongside another boat by rotating the oak 90, so that the oar blade is flat to the water. Then push up on the oar handle, and the oar will neatly lift the oarlock out of their mount. This is much better than first getting the oar out, and then fooling with the oarlock, less likely to gouge the boat you're going alongside.
For fishing, pinned oarlocks are good, but aren't much fun to row.
I have a pair of very elegant English bronze horned oarlocks, and I wish I could say that they're much better than simple round ones from Wilcox. They are much prettier.

Those little details and moves, twisting the wrist, blade on the gunwale, shipping the oar, lock and all on the last glide just a second before the fender hits the hull hit home with me(done a zillion times but didn't think others notice).

And I can see the huge differences in the boats and the rowing here, especially between a hard working rowing tender and a more efficient purpose built rowing boat.

What a relief from the sometimes looks and silly comments we get from other sailors that you say we can't sail much without an inflatable.

kenjamin
12-02-2011, 09:02 AM
If you are scattered brain as me, you are required by law to only use this Davis-type because you simply can't lose them.:o

http://www.bodaciousboats.com/DavisOarlocks.jpg

James McMullen
12-02-2011, 10:28 AM
I wish someone would make those Davis-type ones bigger and stronger with a much better, precision machining and smoother action. Hmmm. . . .maybe I should get out my stash of pattern mahogany. . . . . .

Sailor
12-02-2011, 12:11 PM
Yes... yes you should......

Thad Van Gilder
12-02-2011, 12:33 PM
James, I have said the same thing many times...
Love the idea of the Davis oarlocks, but every pair I have seen has been poorly produced.

-Thad

Pateplumaboat
12-02-2011, 02:19 PM
Put those on my Spike # 1. Davies (made still in England or already made in China?).

Nice but expensive. I think next time will look for traditional alternatives or solution where wood was the only option.

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-394d-e226.jpg


Regards,
Christian

James McMullen
12-02-2011, 03:14 PM
Are "Davis" oarlocks patented? I know I can make some improved ones for myself with no repercussions, but I don't know if I could market them. But just speculating for a moment, who else wants some?

My mama taught me not to play with matches, but she never said nothin' bout no crucibles fulla molten bronze!

http://inlinethumb36.webshots.com/47459/2510618880088484686S600x600Q85.jpg (http://good-times.webshots.com/photo/2510618880088484686EflLZd)

seo
12-03-2011, 01:14 PM
My dinghies have always had two rowing stations, so that the hull can be kept in trim with various numbers and weights of people, gear, etc. This is another advantage of round oarlocks; the oarlocks stay with the oars, and so you only need one pair for the boat.
A problem with those Davis oarlocks is that when the dinghy gets rolling in a chop (usually in the middle of the night) the oarlocks start banging against the hull. Quite irritating.

Ian McColgin
12-03-2011, 01:19 PM
I like the davis pattern since the lock never gets lost. Since my dinks are tenders, it's important that they be open top for safety in rough water. So to keep the locks from rattling at night and more importantly to keep them pointed away from the gunnel when the dink is inverted and put on deck, a little bit ob bungee between a couple of small eyes to loop over the horns does the trick.

Sailor
12-03-2011, 02:07 PM
James,
How would one make those "captive" oarlocks. There's two parts linked together like the links in a chain.. Are they bent open to accept the oarlock then bent shut again after? Just curious. If you do decide to make some, either for you or to market, take lots of pics and start a thread on it. I think it would be fascinating to watch. Mabye a video?
Daniel

Thad Van Gilder
12-03-2011, 04:31 PM
There is no bending involved. the oarlock has a recessed section that slides in to the oarlock plate.

James if you make a good copy I'll rent the pattern from you! They should be an easy pour from either aluminum bronze or silicon bronze. btw how do the wood flasks work for you? My aluminum ones are too big and the wood ones I make keep catching on fire from the burning petrobond on top.

-Thad

kenjamin
12-03-2011, 04:40 PM
I wish someone would make those Davis-type ones bigger and stronger with a much better, precision machining and smoother action. Hmmm. . . .maybe I should get out my stash of pattern mahogany. . . . . .

The ones I got are very robust but I can't remember where I got them from. Shaw & Teeney or Duckworks? It's hell getting old. I wrap them in leather to quiet them down for long distance trailing otherwise they will drive you nuts – my other problem.

James McMullen
12-03-2011, 04:43 PM
Oh, the wood ones catch on fire every so often, but it's so quick and easy to knock a new one together with a nail gun and some scrap lumber that I haven't bothered to invest the cash in anything more substantial.

Wooden Boat Fittings
12-03-2011, 05:56 PM
Here's an Aussie version of a folding rowlock --


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/public/rowlocks-drop.jpg

and another sort, maker unknown, that I once got from somewhere in the US --


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/surplus/folding-rowlock-t.gif

The mode of operation is the same in each case, and both these fit together and work perfectly well.

A standard horned rowlock should have a flange immediately below the horns around which you can splice a short lanyard that's then tied off to the rising at the other end. Then you don't lose the rowlock when it's unshipped. A short length of shockcord tied at each end to the rising below the rowlock allows you to unship and then stow the rowlock (still tied off to the rising) so it doesn't bang around on the inside of the planking.

If you tie off using the hole that's so often drilled at the bottom of the shank, then the only way of reshipping the rowlock once unshipped is to either feed the lanyard down through the mounting plate first (finicky as well as time-consuming) or else untie the lanyard each time (also finicky and time-consuming. And you can also only use very small stuff for the lanyard or it won't fit anyway. I don't know why they bother drilling those holes in the first place.)

Here are some standard plain ones, without the hole, but showing the flange below the horns --


http://www.woodenboatfittings.com.au/public/rowlocks-plain.jpg

Finally, I personally prefer rowlocks similar to the last but with one horn longer than the other, but they seem pretty hard to come by these days. (I can post a photo if anyone particularly wants to see one.) The longer horn gives better bearing for the oar, but if you have to use them in a hurry they still work either way around.

Mike

Pateplumaboat
12-14-2011, 03:49 PM
I took photos from those oarlocks diring my visit of the "Center for Wooden Boats" in Seattle.


http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-0d56-0dac.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-0d6e-ce00.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-0d82-bf44.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-0d92-f8f3.jpg


All this without metal and probably better than everything else?

Regards from Austria

Peerie Maa
12-14-2011, 04:00 PM
I took photos from those oarlocks diring my visit of the Center for Wooden Boats" in Seattle.

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-0d18-c3de.jpg



All this without metal and probably better as everything else?

Regards from Austria

A cross between Norwegian and Shetland kabes and ruths. The grommet catches on a nib like a thumb cleat on the oar loom to stop the oar being lost, and because of the flexibility of the grommet, the oar can be allowed to hang outboard in safety.

jim seemann
12-14-2011, 04:10 PM
I use horned oar locks with brass plated linch pins to keep them from falling out. Check out the last photo on http://lakecityboating.blogspot.com/2011_12_01_archive.html

Some time this winter I will also wrap mine the same way Bob Smalser showed in his foto.

Pateplumaboat
12-14-2011, 05:40 PM
Tholepins on a dory.
Foto taken at Mysic Seport.
Probably one of the best oarlocks available:
Functional, easy to stow away, easy to replace/repair, light, strong, unsinkable, secured with simple line to riser and max 1 $ each pair.

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-2598-a32b.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-2769-e2b8.jpg


Regards from Austria,
Christian

Pateplumaboat
12-14-2011, 05:58 PM
A cross between Norwegian and Shetland kabes and ruths. The grommet catches on a nib like a thumb cleat on the oar loom to stop the oar being lost, and because of the flexibility of the grommet, the oar can be allowed to hang outboard in safety.

Nick, thanks. Here an oarlock on Norwegian Fearing, seen at Mystic Seaport this year.

http://img.tapatalk.com/505c7adc-2a07-068d.jpg

Regards,
Christian

J. Dillon
12-14-2011, 07:40 PM
In some circumstances there are specialized use for oar locks.Aboard Carrianne I rarely row for any length of time. With this in mind I arrange my oars to allow for quick use, in a "face forward push on the oar position." Coming into my dock there are a few wind shadows in the Farm river where an Easterly wind is blocked by trees. Then I quickly run out the stb.oar only and use as many strokes as needed to catch the wind again ( usually just where I need it to sail into the slip.) The oar lock is a closed type, this enables me to mount it permanently set up with no possibility of it coming unshipped. The forward end or blade portion is held in place by a home made special bracket as shown in the image. This arrangement also allows the oars to be used as a back rest.

If I do need to row there is another socket forward that can take the repositioned oar & lock for normal use your back rowing Its rarely used as I only day sail and sooner or later a wind comes up to take me home. I might add I usually sail in such a way as the current is fair for home. At least Ill be drifting in the right direction if the calm prevails for long.

JD

http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/9229/soarbackrest2.jpg

marujo.sortudo
12-16-2011, 10:07 AM
For my dink, I have both round and horn types. I like the horn better, as the round kind can transfer unnecessary strain to the rowlock it's riding in if the oar is angle sharply up or down. This becomes quite noticeable if you have green crew rowing and they're digging in deeply with the oars. Of course, I need to make my rowlocks stronger, but that's a separate item...

alkorn
12-16-2011, 10:50 AM
My problem is I have never rowed anything but an aluminium boat (jon and V) and very little of that ...

Whatever kind of rowlock you use, you'll find that a rowing a decent wooden rowboat is much easier than rowing an aluminum boat designed primarily for outboard power.

seo
12-16-2011, 08:53 PM
I don't understand how one type of oarlock could transfer more or less strain to the rowlocks than another. Whether it's an open topped horn or a closed top round, If the point where the oar bears on the oarlock is the same height above the gunwale, then the strain is the same, unless I'm missing something. A green crew digging in too deeply will create the same forces with either type.

Peerie Maa
12-17-2011, 06:20 AM
I don't understand how one type of oarlock could transfer more or less strain to the rowlocks than another. Whether it's an open topped horn or a closed top round, If the point where the oar bears on the oarlock is the same height above the gunwale, then the strain is the same, unless I'm missing something. A green crew digging in too deeply will create the same forces with either type.
I think that Marujo means that a closed ring will allow the lock to lever the entire oar lock outwards as the top of the loom bears against the top of the ring, An open horn oarlock will allow the loom to lift without applying leverage.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
12-17-2011, 06:32 AM
I definitely prefer the captive pattern; these generally have equal height horns which I also prefer.

Daveys supply them in galvanised iron in a couple of sizesand these are much more robust than the yellow metal ones which i find will let you down - just not strong enough undoubtedly coming from China.

One detail to remember - if you are using them in a boat which you plan to turn over (eg a tender stowed on deck) fit a short length of bungee cord below the oarlocks which you can tuck the oarlock into in the "down"postion.