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Thread: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

  1. #1
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    Default Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I have these old oars that I really like but they are getting very worn and tired. Would saturating them in epoxy and then clamping that "splintered" area between a couple boards or using some plastic and tightly winding a rope around and around that area to compress it be the best way to extend these oars lives?
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    Is that ash? Looks like it often does when neglected a bit.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I guess I’d have to say that’s as good as anything I could come up with. After working the epoxy into everything I’d wrap it tightly with a plastic wrap (regular kitchen ‘Saran’wrap), then bind it tightly with electrical tape (that will put a lot of compression on it). Let it cure, remove the tape and wrap, then clean them up.

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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I'm not sure what kind of wood they are, my dad gave them to me and they already looked like this. They are very light for 7ft oars though which is why I like them.

    Thanks, I never thought to use saran wrap and the electrical tape does sound better than using a rope.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    As Ian said,.... I’ll bet anything they are ash.

    Treat them modestly and they will give you decades of nice service.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    You may find it easier to use 5 inch stretch wrap. I think the full width saran wrap will be awkward to handle. I got mine at the building supply. Here it is at Home Depot. I don't think you'll need the electrician's tape with the stretch wrap.

    https://www.homedepot.com/b/Storage-...p/N-5yc1vZchnm

    Once you've got it smoothed out you could slip some of that fiberglass sleeve over it the wet that out with epoxy if you're concerned about the strength. I looked for it online but didn't find it, but there are forum members who have used it, someone can help you. That would add some weight, but not too much.

    I would definitely glass both sides of the blades, probably with 6 oz.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    Ash can be weird. Everyone here knows I love epoxy in general and CPES in places but for this I'd be inclined to glop it with some pine tar stuff like Kirby's Salty Dog and call it a day.

    An ash oar has considerable spring if you have a good "doryman's stroke" and you don't want the epoxy to ruin that.

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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    One more sleeve link because the video might help. https://www.fibreglast.com/product/B...raided_Sleeves It shows how much the sleeve can expand and stretch to follow shapes. The sleeve is easy to puff up and slip overt the oar and will snug down easily. While I like the sleeves for some things, I wouldn't recommend them for strength and stiffness. I might glass the blades if they are starting to split. but I would just sand and coat the looms. I would roll cloth onto the oar if needed for strength.

    I think Ian is right about ash. the wood definitely looks like a ring porous hardwood. Some hardwood oars were made from soft maple, but it doesn't weather like that.

    I would also recommend the stretch tape that Gib mentioned in Post #6. They will look a lot better if they were sanded first. Some wood flour in the coating will help fill the gaps, just thick enough to stay put as you wrap it. If you use low viscosity resin, there might be a lot of bubbles under the plastic wrap.

    The surface area of a 2" diameter 8' cylinder is 0.47 square yards. If the sleeve is 10 oz glass and a minimal amount of epoxy is used the sleeve will add 9 oz to each oar. That may be a little low because 50% glass by weight isn't all that easy, but it is close enough to give you a feel for the weight increase. It will not noticeably stiffen the oars. If the wood is pretty sound, the strength increase won't be that much either.

    Since the fibers are running around 45 to the length of the oar, the cloth will add the least amount of strength possible, maybe 25% of what it would be if the cloth ran lengthwise. With plain weave cloth, half of the fibers run the length of the oar and will add some strength, but surprisingly little compared to good sound wood unless you add a lot of layers. Compare the tensile strength of filament wound (+-45) to FR4, which can be rolled into a tube with 90/0 fibers.
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    Thanks everyone! That did pass through my mind whether epoxy was too brittle or if it would make things too rigid (hence the thread title), but then I remembered some flexible free standing masts were coated with epoxy (or at least the birdsmouth ones) so I thought that question may be irrelevant.

    I should have mentioned the close-up picture was taken right where the oar locks are while rowing. The rest of the cylindrical portion of the oar is in better shape although one of the blades is starting to split at the bottom. Would fiberglass really be the best idea where all this abrasion is happening? I wouldn't say the oars need additional strength at this point, but I do want to stop that splintering/flaking (is there a word for that?) from getting any worse. It is good to know though that the epoxy and fiberglass wouldn't add too much weight.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    If it were me,.... I’d leave the blades alone and accept the oars for what they are, a pair of well used oats with character. The checks in the blades will not cause an issue for rowing.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    Id just put thickened epoxy on the dinged up blade edges , and thickened epoxy around where the rollocks wear (in lieu of leather).No need for binding or pressure.
    Those oars look swell.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I'd also just inject epoxy into the big cracks. Sleeving and wrapping is overkill to me. Epoxy isn't that brittle and will flex way more than the oar shaft will. I have a set of generic dink oars with two pieces of the blade glued on to get the width. Over 2 years of full time cruising the glue (probably Elmers Carpenter or the like) let go and the ends spread, leaving gaps of about 1/4" at the ends. I filled the gaps with thickened epoxy and at the same time built up the ends of the blade with a 1/2" bead of epoxy to protect the wood (metal ends they used to sell never worked for me). These have seen heavy use longer than most people keep oars and no issues with the epoxy.

    I also ditched the leather chafe guards and round oarlocks that captured the oars and mounted ss clamp ons. No feathering but it lets me go hands off without the oar sliding away.
    Last edited by BillP; 05-18-2018 at 10:15 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    Do a flex test on the oars. You will probably find that they are OK. Fill any splits in the blades and wrap the tips with glass and epoxy. Then sand the looms and give them a coat of varnish leaving the handles bare.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  16. #16
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I would give those oars some TLC. They look long, more than 7 feet? The price of new oars being what it is, they are worth the TLC. I just bought a pair of 9 foot oars from Hamilton Marine. I would have been happy with some 9 foot beat up oars, if I could have found them.

    If you look around you can buy brass blade tips to hid the restoration that you do to the tips. Epoxy, stain, and varnish, or paint. They are worth it.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    I think all of this advice is good, but in fact what you should do is buy a new pair of oars and send those old ones to me for proper disposal according to marine custom.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Old Oars + Epoxy = ?

    So many good ideas, I wish I had 3 or 4 pairs of these oars to experiment with all my options. I think i'll try fixing the one splitting blade and chafe at the oar locks with thickened epoxy and the stretch wrap to pull everything together. Then maybe coat the whole oars except the handles with epoxy then varnish.

    And Oldad I think that's exactly what my dad did with me.... except he wished he hadn't!

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