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Thread: Oarlock inserts?

  1. #1
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    Default Oarlock inserts?

    I am shopping for oarlocks & sockets for a 13" sharpie I am building and most of the oarlocks I see for sale have plastic sleeve inserts. I have only used bronze ring oarlocks where the shaft and socket are metal-on-metal and they work fine, if a little messy from the grease needed to lubricate them. But I'm wondering if I should try the sleeved system.

    * If you have rowed with the plastic sleeve/inserts, is it nice and smooth?

    * Can you go without greasing them?

    * Do they last a while?

    * Are they a standard size? i.e. interchangeable?

    * Do they stay put in the socket when you take the oar out?

    thanks in advance,

    John

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I've never greased a rowlock (as we call them) in my life. Galvanised in metal socket, bronze in brass socket. Nylon in a nylon socket. No grease, ever. A good close fit is important to avoid sloppiness in use. A splash of water if they squeak.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I've used various things to stop squeaking on various boats, including sunscreen lotion and cooking oil, but lanolin seems to be the bee's knees as well as tallow in cool climates.

    The plastic inserts are a pain, but the only decent alternative seems to be to buy the bronze oil bushings and press them into the oarlock bases. I haven't gone that route yet, but have several of the plastic insert oarlocks and find that the inserts tend to pull out with the oarlock rather than stay in the base, so carry extras in case they go overboard.

    Rick T aka rgthom from the SF Bay Area has a few posts here about how he set up the bronze bushings, and he rows a LOT with 'em.
    "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
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I don't like the clunking and have tried various methods of dealing with it, the best being just enough duct tape to make a tight enough fit that the oarlock doesn't come out of the socket unless I want it to.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    My bride has worn out several sets of bronze on bronze rollocks.
    I chide her about every other time I am in the skiff with her to oil/grease/clean them.
    The smallest bit of wear gets them clacking around.
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 11-19-2018 at 08:47 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I have also found metal-on-metal to be fussy; needing grease and not working well after a few years of use. I'm thinking about trying Gaco's, they look like a truly fresh approach to the problem.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I use the plastic inserts and love them. Nice and quiet, no clunking anymore.
    Nice and smooth, no need to grease. Oarlocks have to have a bigger diameter hole ,of course, to accommodate sleeves. So far, they have stayed put while taking the oars out. I believe I got mine from West Marine.
    I also used one as a bearing for the lower rudder fitting on my fantail launch.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Supposedly, Back In The Day™ you would go to your local chandlery and pick out the oarlocks that you wanted. They would have a gently tapered shaft, which you would then check against the bin full of oarlock bases the chandlery would supply and pick the best match. But currently the packaged metal ones tend to have a non-tapered shaft and are paired with oarlock bases that will be too loose -- hence the fussy / noise issues mentioned above.

    I've gone with the Duckworks oarlocks that have the plastic insert rather than West Marine's, because Duckworks lets you buy a replacement set of the plastic bushings / sleeves. But if anyone was selling the ones like Rick makes with the bronze oil bushings, I'd buy 'em in a flash!
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I use Oilite bushings to make up my own sockets, and precision machined rowlocks. 9 years of saltwater rowing later they have never been lubed and do not squeak or clunk.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    What exact bushing did you order to fit the 1/2" OD shaft of the oarlocks? I don't do much metalwork but can probably drill and press a set of these into the oarlock bases on Goblin.

    I always wondered how the bronze bushings worked, and this basic YouTube video gives a simple explanation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAwIiH-g2tg

    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    The Oilite bushings are from McMaster-Carr (natch), $6 each: https://www.mcmaster.com/6391k632

    There's a Flickr album of the ones I made for Puddles: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricks_...57624205867790

    One caution with these is don't put them in un-sealed wood. The oil will wick out, making oily wood and a dry socket. Seal the wood with epoxy or something first.

    For oarlocks, two that have the precision shafts needed to work quietly are these:

    Thomas Foundry ovals: https://www.fisheriessupply.com/thom...onze-oar-locks
    Douglas D-type: https://www.duckworksbbs.com/product-p/rs-do.htm

    I use both of these, there may be other well made ones but most I see have rougher cast shafts which clunk.
    Last edited by rgthom; 11-20-2018 at 02:38 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    What surprises me is that no one ever seems to support the lower end of the rowlock. All that force and leverage tends to be taken right up at the top of the shaft, maybe an inch at best, with the lower 2 or 3 inches hanging down in clean air. If you support the rowlock at the bottom of the shaft it will last about a million times as long before any significant wear kicks in.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Y View Post
    What surprises me is that no one ever seems to support the lower end of the rowlock. All that force and leverage tends to be taken right up at the top of the shaft, maybe an inch at best, with the lower 2 or 3 inches hanging down in clean air. If you support the rowlock at the bottom of the shaft it will last about a million times as long before any significant wear kicks in.
    Well, if you look at the wear on the used rowlock (left one) it is almost to the bottom. The socket is 1.5" long and the shaft is about 1.8".


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    The Oilite bushings are from McMaster-Carr (natch), $6 each: https://www.mcmaster.com/6391k632

    There's a Flickr album of the ones I made for Puddles: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ricks_...57624205867790

    One caution with these is don't put them in un-sealed wood. The oil will wick out, making oily wood and a dry socket. Seal the wood with epoxy or something first.

    For oarlocks, two that have the precision shafts needed to work quietly are these:

    Thomas Foundry ovals: https://www.fisheriessupply.com/thom...onze-oar-locks
    Douglas D-type: https://www.duckworksbbs.com/product-p/rs-do.htm

    I use both of these, there may be other well made ones but most I see have rougher cast shafts which clunk.

    What is the tube part that the Oilite bushing fits into? Is it a McMaster part also?

    Jeff

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    What is the tube part that the Oilite bushing fits into? Is it a McMaster part also?

    Jeff
    Yes, IIRC a solid brass bushing. If you search for "bushings" at McMaster there are so many types, some oil filled, some teflon filled. Most are pretty cheap to play around with.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gib Etheridge View Post
    I don't like the clunking and have tried various methods of dealing with it, the best being just enough duct tape to make a tight enough fit that the oarlock doesn't come out of the socket unless I want it to.
    But that clunking sound is so familiar snd brings back such memories.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Rick -

    I've ordered the Oilite bushings in what I hope is the correct size, but do you have the part # for the brass bushings that enclose the Oilite bushings? I've called McMaster-Carr but we can't pick the right part, particularly in brass (which I think the external bushing is made of).

    TIA
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I wonder why the outer brass bushing is necessary. If one were to carefully seal the wood, an Oilite bushing, with flange, could be pressed into a wood block fitted with a bronze plate. Just like Rick did but without the brass part. I guess I'll have to make one to see if there are any pitfalls.

    Jeff

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I epoxied Oilite bushings into wood pads on the little pram I built last year. Got the bushings from Ace Hardware.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    It seems to me that when the Oilite bushing is lubricated it might break free from any epoxy bond to wood, which may be the reason Rick used the exterior brass bushing.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I epoxied Oilite bushings into wood pads on the little pram I built last year. Got the bushings from Ace Hardware.
    ^Yes.

    Did you score or drill holes in the bushing so it would be keyed in place?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I just used the outer bushing to make up this assembly with the retaining plate. It turned out that the two bushings are a tight stick fit (arbor pressed together), so it makes basically a stepped bushing with the inner one Oilite and the outer plain. Then the top plate holds it very securely in a drilled recess:



    It should be OK to use just an Oilite bushing in a tight, sealed hole in the wood. There is no lifting force to pull it out (if the boat doesn't tip over).

    Thorne, I think this is the one I used if you still want to do it this way: https://www.mcmaster.com/6381k193

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by rgthom View Post
    Well, if you look at the wear on the used rowlock (left one) it is almost to the bottom. The socket is 1.5" long and the shaft is about 1.8".

    Those seem unusually short.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    My pet peeve with these things is that they don't double as a rod-holder. There's an idea for someone?

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    Quote Originally Posted by normil View Post
    My pet peeve with these things is that they don't double as a rod-holder. There's an idea for someone?
    There are some rod holders that mount to oarlock sockets.


  26. #26
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I'd bush with HDPE, your local engineering supplies has it as does the Industrial Plastics outlet. Very easy to turn.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Oarlock inserts?

    I used the nylon insert ones a couple of times, they didn't last long and got sloppy...that was when rowing every day. Otherwise, bronze or galv have lasted way longer without bushings and such. My latest pair is SS and they seem to be holding up ok but are used in bronze sockets. Squeaking hasn't bothered me enough to do anything about it.

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