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Thread: Oar Length

  1. #1

    Default Oar Length

    Hey guys,

    I am half way through a Nutshell Pram.

    What size oars would be appropriate? Anything between 6 and 7 foot?

    I am not going to be married to this boat. It is part of my learning process to make and sail boats, but I would like to have Oars that are in the ballpark of the correct length to make rowing comfortable.


    As always, Thank you all for sharing your knowledge and experience.


    Respect and Peace
    Kelly F

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Posts
    396

    Default Re: Oar Length

    Here's a guide for fitting oars from Shaw and Tenney http://www.shawandtenney.com/wooden-rowing-oars.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    13,450

    Default Re: Oar Length

    Hmmm, lost my original post when the train went under the Bay. I like oars as long as possible, the only limiting factor being what will fit in the boat under the thwarts. Short oars are great for really rough water rowing, but seem like more work under the more usual conditions of flat to decent water.

    I'd guess 7-8', and you can always trim 'em down if they prove too long. Another option is to borrow some oars and try various lengths under various conditions. Worth a search, LOTS of previous threads on this topic.

    I find the internal Wooden Boat Forum search engine to be pretty limited, as it doesn't allow Boolean searches (tow +dinghy +bridle).
    Try Google's Advanced Search ( http://www.google.com/advanced_search?hl=en ) . Just copy and paste the Forum's URL ( http://forum.woodenboat.com/) into the last field named "Search within a site or domain:", then put in search strings like "tow dinghy bridle" or whatever.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    St. Simon\'s Island, GA, USA
    Posts
    3,993

    Default Re: Oar Length

    [QUOTE=Blue Steel;3832851]Hey guys,

    I am half way through a Nutshell Pram.

    What size oars would be appropriate? Anything between 6 and 7 foot?

    One and one half times the beam, where the oar locks are mounted. This probably the max beam, or close to it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    on-the-cuyahoga
    Posts
    12,125

    Default Re: Oar Length

    Half the distance between the oarlocks,
    Divided by 7
    Multiplied by 25
    Choose the next higher 6" increment for speed
    Choose the next lower 6" increment for pleasure
    The pivot point should always be at least 1" inboard of the oar's balance point.

    From Shaw & Tenney, Orono, Maine.
    Last edited by Cuyahoga Chuck; 06-29-2013 at 10:54 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Oar Length

    Thanks again guys.

    I appreciate your help.


    Respect and Peace
    Kelly F

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Huntington WV
    Posts
    60

    Default Re: Oar Length

    I second the advice of borrowing oars. Use the formula as a starting place and adjust up or down in length to where it's not too hard to pull or too easy. In a light boat the formula tends to call for too short an oar. For a heavy boat it's probably pretty close. I use 9' oars in both my 14' light weight wherry and 18 1/2' whitehall which weighs about 3 times as much. They are easy to pull in the wherry, a little too long for the whitehall, even though both have the same beam. I'll probably cut a pair down to 8' for the whitehall.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    SF Bay Area- Richmond
    Posts
    13,450

    Default Re: Oar Length

    Also be aware that other factors come into play: height of oarlock to water, clearance between seat and handles, and your body size. A thin gel kayak cushion can help reduce the required clearance, but you won't know until you do some rowing. So wait and borrow oars before building if you can.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

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