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Thread: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

  1. #1
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    Default Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    I chose Gull Select oars, 1-3/4" shaft laminated fir from NZ, that come barenaked. Never wrapped an oar before, but since it costs $30-35 per stick, I gave it a go.

    I've got a whitewater play cat and a light sail/row skiff that both use the same length oar, so I got two pairs. Whitewater use makes rope wraps a better choice than leathers in my case.

    The best rope is braided polypropylene or other low-stretch, non-absorbent type (don't use nylon as it sags when wet). 3/16" is about right. I chose black but you could look for something to coordinate with your paint job. For a 1-3/4" shaft I used 30 ft. For a 2" shaft, use about 40 ft.

    You also need rubber donuts or other compatible stops.

    Tools: wrapping jig (below), utility knife, butane lighter for rope ends, needle nose pliers.

    Materials (besides rope & oar): duct tape, nylon string, quick-set gel epoxy, rubber donuts, grips & tips.

    Here's the wrapping jig I built.



    2x2 with holes at the ends + 2 oarlocks padded with rags (so your shaft won't get marked up). First, set the oars on your boat and mark the center of the rowlock (the duct tape).



    The black strap is to keep the shaft snug (otherwise the weight of the blade will tip it up). The shaft should rotate freely. I measured up (toward the grip) 4-1/2" to start the wrap. Most of the wrap should be below the oarlock. The measured piece of rope is stacked in the rigger's bag (otherwise it gets tangled up).

    Here's the start. Note that I chiselled a groove for the rope, so there's no bump.



    Turning the oar away from your body, so you can really reef on the rope, do about three wraps and then tighten up: push the wraps leftó togetheró and pull hard, taking up all the stretch.

    Here's the semi-final stage.



    When you've used about 75% of the rope, tape the wrap down. Then tape a loop of strong, slick cord (white) as above, gulp some beer, remove the center piece of tape, and continue the wrapping process.

    Don't pull the last several wraps tightóyou'll take up slack later. When you're near the end, pull the tape off and slip the end of the rope through the loop on the small cord.



    Pull the end of the rope under the wraps (see why they have to be loose?) with an inch or two (enough to grab) following the small cord out.



    Work the slack out of the loose wraps, while keeping the end straight and snug. (A perfectionist might mark where the end lies under the wraps, then undo the thing and chisel a second grooveó I didn't).

    (cont. part 2)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Bump, to get 'em in orderó

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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Re-bump.

    Off to bed. . .

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Can you tell me where you can buy the black braided polyethelene wrope in 1/4" or 3/16" sizes? Taht is without needing to buy 1000 ft at a time?

    JoeAlbrecht

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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Could you tell me where one can buy the 1/4" or 3/16" black braided polyethelene rope needed for the oar rope? That is, without needing to buy a 1000' at a time?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeAlbrecht View Post
    Could you tell me where one can buy the 1/4" or 3/16" black braided polyethelene rope needed for the oar rope? That is, without needing to buy a 1000' at a time?
    If you mean polypropelene, it is at our local hardware store, Lowes, etc.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Alas, Chip, I don't want to sound negative, but a primer on how to fix up your oars a less functionally satisfactory way is not much help, ultimately. What you want is oar leathers, not rope wrapped around a stick. Any serious fixed-seat rower will tell you that those rope thingies are too bumpy and have too much friction. I'm sorry, but I think this whole approach is off on the wrong foot.

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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Oar leathers are grand, and I love them dearly but want no part of them for rowing whitewateró that's the primary use for these oars.

    Since one is rowing mostly upstream, against the current, or against an upstream wind, in an inflatable boat that is not very hydrodynamically efficient, the stress is much greater than rowing a slender hull on lakes or bays. And rope offers more cushion for the shafts and better abrasion resistance.

    Workhorse river rowers (e.g. Pacific NW driftboat guidesó even those who row wood-hulled dories) seem to favor rope wraps.

    You like leathers. Fine by me. I think there've been several WBF threads on leathering wood oars.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Nice photos!

    That method of whipping was a fairly standard way to wrap the ends of three strand line in the days before synthetics to keep them from unravelling. It's still useful for whipping any kind of line and is often done with waxed twine.



    Ashley's Book of Knots shows other more complex and decorative ways to do the same thing, like this seizing on a cracked boom that made the trip across the Atlantic. It took most of a day to do and after it was soaked in salt water it was very snug.


    Last edited by rbgarr; 06-28-2009 at 03:58 PM.
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Shame about the cracked boom, but that's lovely work. I hope it's on the wall of a yacht club or pub someplace. What sort of line did they use?

    Oopsó self-induced thread drift.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    Cotton iirc. I don't know what happened to the boom when they replaced it.
    "Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates." ~ Mark Twain


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    I've "wrapped" cracked oars with sein twine using a modified serving mallet to get it really tight. I slushed the finished job with epoxy. Worked just fine without the bulk of 1/4".

    In my observation, oars used really hard in surf or white water break not at the rowlock pivot point but further down, where you'd not have a wrap doubling as a leather anyway. I recommend leathers for smooth action, a strong well made set of oars, and at least one spare.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Rope Wrapó primer, part 1

    My friends think I'm daft for using wood oars in the first place. But I've never broken one in 23 years, and I like the feel.

    In the sort of tight, rocky rapids I enjoy, oars break most often when the blades get stuck in a rock slot or the oarshafts get slammed against a boulder. I watched a mini-snout rig (23-ft. pontoon cat) get sucked down the left side of Bedrock Rapid in the Grand Canyon and pounded in a keeper eddy. They broke three carbon-fiber shaft oars ($$$), and had to pull off and try to bum spare oars from passing trips.

    For rowing my wee wood skiff on a nice bay, I'd rather have those sweet ultralight spoon-blades with leathers. But the oars that fit my small whitewater cat (as shown) will have to do.

    I try to choose gear that works in our local conditions. Which seems a better standard than a generalised notion of pure tradition.

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