View Full Version : Hatchet Oars
I'm building a set of oars for my fixed seat (for now) Mollyhawk, about 17.5 feet. I'm fooling around with square hollow looms and a spoon blade. I was doing some research and I saw that pretty well all racers use hatchet shaped oar blade. How do you think they would work on the Mollyhawk? Would I be in trouble in anything less then idea conitions? Thanks for the help.
01-13-2005, 05:16 PM
Getting the blade shape and 'balance' is different with a hatchet because they aren't symmetrical. The speed difference you'll achieve would be minimal, and I bet they'd be harder to use in a chop.
My two cents.
The one time I used hatchets was with a local bunch of guys who invited me to come along for a row in their four-oared shell one Sunday. My experience with rowing was in the wooden shell/wooden oar days, and I picked up a starboard hatchet when I was rowing port. Had to laugh when I looked out at the upside down blade.
01-13-2005, 08:56 PM
I love mine, they were a lot of fun to build. One thing I didn't know before using them was when you row, the larger blade area under the loom balances the pull of your fingers on the top of the loom - you do not have to compensate as much for rolling the oar as you pull it towards you. I originally made them 10' long - 1 piece, 3-1/2 lbs each from clear doug fir with fiberglass reinforcing on 3 edges of the blade. I then cut them down to 8' 10-1/2 " to fit in my melonseed. http://www.pmaynard.lunarpages.com/temp/oar1.jpg http://www.pmaynard.lunarpages.com/temp/oar2.jpg
Wow those oars are beautiful Phillip, what size are the blades. Did you have problems balancing the blades with them asymmetrical?
01-13-2005, 11:23 PM
I've used Concept II hatchets in the pulling boat in moderate slop and I liked 'em.
01-15-2005, 10:29 AM
I cut them out of a single 2 X 10 X 10 and then the blades ended up being 14-1/4" on the bottom edge (up to the curve) by 6-3/4" on the outside edge. The projected line of the loom intersects the blade 4-1/2" at it's inside edge and 3-3/4" from it's outside edge measuring up from the bottom of the blade. I curved the blade the full 1-1/2" thickness of the stock. I went and did a fancy oval loom, 1-1/2" dia at the oarlock tapering to 1-1/2" x 1-1/4" at the blade which looks really nice but I noticed that the loom seems to bend more towards the blade than I would have expected and so maybe a round, non-tapered loom would be better - stiffer. The oars do have some flex, which I understand from reading a book on rowing feels better for the novice but is not desirable for the serious competitive rower as it absorbs energy. The same idea as a bicycle frame, soft ride goes slower but I'm not a serious rower, I could not tell the difference. Making the blades the same is the hardest part, mine are off a little but you have to put a ruler on them to actually see the difference. I would suggest maybe a large contour gauge, the kind with all the little sliding pins. That would be quick and efficient to help make the 2nd blade the same. I would also leave a little on the first blade in case you go to far on the 2nd blade, then you can finish them up together. I was aggressive in removing wood in the blade - I wanted them light. The fiberglass edges are a must, without that the outside edge of the blade is very weak (across the grain) and will also warp. I roughed them out in 1 day and then finished them up part of a 2nd day. I bought my wood at a local lumberyard that also sells specialty hardwoods. You will never find something like that at your local big box home center.
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