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Thread: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

  1. #1
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    Default Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    I got a pair of brass open horn oarlocks from Duckworks and the opening is too big for my oars. Unfortunately they only sell one size. The oars are already leathered with a heavy leather so I don't want to pack out the collars any more. Is there any way to bend the opening tighter without breaking them? My knowledge of metallurgy is limited and I'm thinking if I bend them cold I'll probably break them. Heating them some way, perhaps, before bending? Alternatively, would anyone know a source that sells different sizes of open horn oarlocks? The oarlocks have to be open because the looms are square above the collar. The oarlocks that I have are 1 3/4" at the opening, which I believe is a #1 size. Any #0 sizes out there?
    Last edited by Dusty Yevsky; 06-19-2017 at 07:13 PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Since I happen to like larger horns I wonder, what's the problem?

    If you go to "The Dory Stroke: Efficient propulsion," by Christopher Cunningham, 198:24 you'll see just how it's done. The secret is the timing of the feathering that keeps the oar from sloshing about, so well that you can use this against a single thole pin with no keeper.

    A big open top is what you need in rough water so that if you catch a crab you can relieve the oar and then get it landed back in with ease.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    The problem is me, for sure. I'm a total neophyte fixed seat rower and have no idea what I'm doing. It seems so easy sitting on land but once in the boat the oars pop out of the horns on every stroke. I just assumed it was the size of the oarlocks and not technique. Thanks for the tip on the book, I will be sure to check it out.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    It is all about the angle of the "catch"

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Sorry for the incomplete cite. Not book, but back issue of WoodenBoat, issue # 198, page 24.

    If you're popping out, your oars are diving, probably due to being too short and thus forcing a steeper angle to reach the water. But some even with a proper length oar put the blade in too deeply.

    The are a lot of formulae for calculating oar length. Most are based only on beam but some include gunnel (or better, oarlock) height over the water, leg clearance, et cetera.

    There can be considerable variation in height of the seat over the deck or sole or floorboards or whatever you stand on, but usually it's considerably lower than a chair - like under 12". It's comfortable if you're high enough that your thighs go out horizontal and you have a slight bend at the knee. And even in fixed seat it's nice to have your feel land on some sort of brace, whether that's a stretcher or leaning on a frame or another seat matters little.

    The difference between seat height and gunnel should be sufficient that you can make the return stroke with your hands a couple inches above your thighs and the oars angled up a bit. Sitting erect with elbows making a ninety degree angle should put the oars dead horizontal. And they should be long enough that you can get all of the blade but no more into the water at mid stroke, body erect, and arms straight and just a little lower that horizontal.

    If you experiment with some sticks of various lengths you'll see how this all makes sense. I then err towards large. If the experiments show that I want 7-1/2' oars and I'm buying and the store only has 7' or 8', I go with the 8'.

    As you'll see from the article, a good stroke (just like with kayaks and canoes) is all about using large muscles - legs and back - and body mass much more than just arms. And (again as with kayaks and canoes) this is exactly the point that most casual boaters totally miss.

    Not to overly anticipate the dory stroke article which I hope you'll hunt up, but feathering on the return stroke is about more than just cutting wind. And it's even more than just keeping the oar located during the return stroke. The blade has to come out of the water. If you start the feather just before the end of the power stroke, the the blade is angled to work like a propeller as it rises through the surface. You can actually drive the boat forward with just this motion and it adds wonderfully to the power of your rowing stroke with basically no added effort from you. And even more if your oars have been shaped to allow some spring in the shaft.

    G'luck

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    I'm with Canoeyawl and will elaborate a bit. "Catch" is the oar entering the water and being pulled through the stroke. If the oar blade is slightly pitched so that it's movement through the water holds it down instead of lifting it up, this is correct and should solve your problem. I like to have my wrists flat on the return with the blade level, reducing drag, then rolling the wrists down (what I think of as the strong position of the wrists) as the blade enters the water and pulling through in that position. This method feathers the oars through the return and gives the proper angle through the stroke.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Another way to think about is to compare the "Catch" to peeling of an apple with a pocket knife. The angle the blade enters the fruit is the whole deal.
    Too shallow or a negative angle is not going to cut the fruit. To steep or positive an angle will cut too deeply.

    This is a subtle deal, but once you "get it" it will be like riding a bicycle with your body making constant tiny "muscle memory" corrections throughout the stroke that are indiscernible to an onlooker.

    edit to add; Rowing in rough water can be particularly challenging as the entry angles of the oar into the surface of a wave can be different with every stroke. Rough water rowing likes narrow bladed oars. The need for precison while feathering, and on the catch is minimized.
    Last edited by Canoeyawl; 06-20-2017 at 11:19 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Mousing the rowlock horns with leather can reduce the diameter a bit. Red, oil tanned, Latigo is the preferred kind. It was once a standard of the boating industry and could be purchased at most marine hardware stores, also known as Chandlerys. Now it is hard to find! I located a full hide at Tandy's several years ago. Red Latigo is also known as "Greased Leather". It will help your oars work better as it will conform to the load after a while and make things smoother for you.
    Jay

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    If rowing in a Near Gale (Force 7, winds 28-33 knots) narrow oars are a real help. One evening I was rowing along using my trick of having the centerboard down and tacking up wind when on feathering the weather oar a gust got under the blade and hoisted the oar to vertical in a moment. Similarly with a kayak with the paddle set to feather, the wind can really catch the blade and put you right over. There are times when there's nothing like a narrow blade.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Just practice a bit, you'll be fine.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    +1 . . Canoeyawl and Thad = >
    If the oar blade is slightly pitched so that it's movement through the water holds it down instead of lifting it up, this is correct and should solve your problem
    Open top is good! I dislike closed top oarlocks because as Ian has pointed out numerous times, when the oar does POP out occasionally, one can roll the wrist to make blade flat on the water and simply lift the shaft up and set it back in the lock and then roll your wrist back to normal rowing angle and 'off you go'.
    Last edited by George Ray; 06-21-2017 at 01:05 PM.
    This is the first lesson ye should learn: There is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us, it doesn't behoove any of us to speak evil of the rest of us.
    E. Cayce

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    You can get latigo leather from several sellers on eBay - hunks, straps, lacing, etc.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BURGUNDY-Cow...4AAOSwyltZOeaz

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    If rowing in a Near Gale (Force 7, winds 28-33 knots) narrow oars are a real help. One evening I was rowing along using my trick of having the centerboard down and tacking up wind when on feathering the weather oar a gust got under the blade and hoisted the oar to vertical in a moment. Similarly with a kayak with the paddle set to feather, the wind can really catch the blade and put you right over. There are times when there's nothing like a narrow blade.
    I saw a man lifted right out of a K1 by a big wind gust under his sprint paddle.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    Thanks for all the great replies here. These really opened my eyes about technique versus equipment. I got schooled good, which is why I come here.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bending Brass Oarlock Horns?

    As mentioned, and as a metal user, Brass is not the most cooperative material for bending, especially the cast alloy. Nor is bronze.

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