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Thread: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

  1. #1
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    Default Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Hi I'm looking for some oarlock advice from those of you in the know.

    I had one of the rough looking bronze/brass ones that came with my shellback dinghy break the other eve. Sheared off right at the socket. Likely I was tugging too vigorously and it was old fatigued(not unlike myself). it looked pretty porous so it could've been a bad casting. The other has a slightly bent shank.
    The next day I made a jury-lock using rope and a fender that work quite well but now I have to replace them. Luckily it was only 50 minutes rowing back.

    My oars are my auxiliary power. if I sail somewhere 2 hours away and there's no wind to come back I'm rowing back. However I generally like to sail and use them only when needed.

    I like somewhat traditional so I'd probably stay away from plastic ones. So brass or galvanized, though I find the galvanized ones of the same diameter shank don't fit in my sockets.

    Also what are the advantages of round vs horned locks? I would probably not leave the locks in the sockets while sailing as it seems something lines..or limbs could get hung up on.

    The ones I had were round, which of course I need to take the collars of my oar leathers to remove and replace them.

    Thanks!

    For fun, my jury lock, ignore the line with the biner on it as it's just a safety

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    The cheap plastic rowlocks are useless as they break easily. Most of the brass ones are decorative only, Galvanised iron ones are good.
    If you want to go modern Concept 2 gates with custom pins with an r clip to hold the pins into the sockets are a good way to go, these are what i have on my Cosine wherry, strong & precise, they come with inserts so you can set the blade attack angle.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I do traditional open water rowing and therefore want oarlocks that allow for feathering the oar, which improves efficiency as the oar is moved out of the water at the start of the return.

    For my rowing, horned locks allow the oar to lift out if I catch a wave and easily put the oar back in the lock after.

    For lake fishing, round oarlocks with leathers and buttons on the oars allow the oars to be dropped with no further ado if a fish strikes.

    G'luck

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I agree with Ian.^.

    Big heavy boats with big ash oars are better with even height galvanised steel oarlocks.

    Smaller boats are suited to uneven horned oarlocks.

    Lake fishing is the place for round ones.

    Yellow metal is not reliable in this situation.
    IMAGINES VEL NON FUERINT

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I like the open cobra locks. They let the oar move smoothly through a wider range of motion, let it pop if needed, and are a bit less stabby than traditional open locks. Very smooth for feathering once you touch them up.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Plus One for feathering in open water. Did a lot of rowing in 4's & 8's in my youth. Getting it wrong, hooked you out of the boat.
    I use open topped galve iron.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Thanks, much to ponder.
    With horned locks do you have them secured to the oars?

    When sailing I tend to remove my oars and stow them inside the boat along the port gunwale with the blades in the bow.
    If possible I would prefer not to have the locks stay in the sockets while sailing etc. It would be nice if the locks stayed with the oars or maybe could be removed from the locks to dangle inside the boat on short lanyards.



    My boat is an 11' shellback dinghy , I use 7.5' straight blade spruce oars for a combination of decent length, with ease of stowing in the boat while sailing.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Yes, my oars have a metal ring and cam strap keeper system. I've also tied them with 3mm cord and tape webbing. Not really relevant to non-whitewater use, but having the tethers able to break can be a good thing.

    Here's a friend's very much not woodenboat, can't find any of mine - oars are secured with webbing and can be removed by pulling the blade towards the lock. The taper will let it slip through. The amount of tension in the locks can be adjusted with a mallet.

    QREhay0.jpg

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    If your old oarlocks were the usual Perko bronze/brass guys they were probably brass and of variable quality. You might check with Port Townsend Casting to see if they have an appropriate size in real bronze. Their quality is impeccable but you do pay for it!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew2 View Post
    Plus One for feathering in open water. Did a lot of rowing in 4's & 8's in my youth. Getting it wrong, hooked you out of the boat.
    I use open topped galve iron.
    Was that in racing shells with spoon blades?
    Tideway competitive rowing?
    Feathering is optional. Shetland boats, cobles, and copsea oars on Portland lerrets and curraghs cannot be feathered. Curraghs are not really relevant, though, as their oars do not have blades.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I just took these of an old skiff I'm restoring in the shop here. Good old fold down galvanized ones. You can tell this boat has been through a lot. And these locks are still in great shape. I think you can still get them from a few companies. May not work on your boat if you already have a socket. cant get the photo to load
    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I'm puzzled by the nomenclature. Is this a divided-by-a-common-language thing? Here (UK), they're rowlocks.....unless I've got this wrong too.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    David Satter www.sattersrestoration.com
    "The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten" Ben Franklin

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike-in-Suffolk View Post
    I'm puzzled by the nomenclature. Is this a divided-by-a-common-language thing? Here (UK), they're rowlocks.....unless I've got this wrong too.
    Oarlocks, rollocks, crutches. Take your pick.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    The Davis pattern oarlocks are still widely available with the galvi units much more durable than bronze, which wear badly at the bottom bulge.

    And yes, folk from Britain are more likely to call them "row locks", pronounced "rawliks".

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    I making a set of Pete Culler oars and have to use horned oarlocks; no way to get a ring oarlock on a Culler oar
    Elect a clown expect a circus

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Hi Guys- I am all for open, ribbed bronze oar locks with chains so I can unship oarlocks and they stay nearby. I have lived on an island in NE USA for over 10 years, year round , with ice some times. I calculate conservatively that I cross back and forth to the mainland 200 days a year (although sometimes twice a day) It;s about a quarter of a mile (plus ) each way. So over ten years I calculate that I have made the trip 4000 times. My oarlocks mostly have been Davis bronze type and I can say that I have never worn them out although sometimes they get noisey. Leathers quiet things down. The insides of the Davis oarlock is smooth so does not wear the oars too much. I have used ash and spruce- spruce need the leathers. Only once did I ever try to go across in weather and did not make it- broke an ash oar and didn't have a spare. (shipwreck!) I do not use buttons as I don't often let go of the oars while in the locks. I am currently using open ribbed oarlocks with spruce oars leathered. The biggest issue in winter is a glove system which keeps you hands warm but still lets you row well. Cheers/ JC

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Open-top oarlocks penalize poor rowing form by popping the oar out of the lock. Closed oarlocks prevent this from happening, but over time you pay a price as the forces that would have caused you a minor nuisance are now transmitted into the oarlock shaft, oarlock pad/riser, and gunwale. The damage I've seen caused by this is relatively minor, but why worry about fixing it when you could learn to row properly in the first place?

    Also, I'm a fan of oars with chunky looms for balance. Not possible with closed oarlocks.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Thole pins. Cheap, and traditional.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    Thole pins. Cheap, and traditional.
    Just so
    Nick-Miller.jpg
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Do any drawbacks to thole pins come to mind? I've had some good experiences using them with sweeps on larger boats with 4-12 rowers, and I'm curious to try them solo rowing rowing something smaller.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Oarlocks, round or horned, galvanized or brass

    Quote Originally Posted by Marty J View Post
    Do any drawbacks to thole pins come to mind? I've had some good experiences using them with sweeps on larger boats with 4-12 rowers, and I'm curious to try them solo rowing rowing something smaller.
    That depends.
    A pair of thole pins work just like oarlocks, but are fixed.
    The single kabe on my image and the single pins on Rob's image are different.
    The Shetland and Norwegian kabes use a rope called a hummlebaund to retain the oar. The oar on Shetland boats have a protruding nibs that retains the oar, so that you can let them hang outboard in the hummlebaund. The looms are square, and the oars were not feathered.
    The pins in Robs image are probably for copsea oars, which are retained on the pin by a block or staple. They cannot be feathered, nor lost.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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