Whitewater Quality Oars, Stromger than FRP. Black 14" Rope Wraps, set in an epoxy matrix for dimensional stability. Step up and throw the R..brand plastic sleeves away. Oar Blade, Shaft, Handle, Sleeve, Donut Set of 3: $360
Ah...Hem Made in the USA Not a lick of that commie stuff.
This Item Borowed from Chip Rawlins (Wood Oar Wraps)
Rope Wrap: How To—
In my eternal quest for light (& cheap), I chose Gull Select oars, 1-3/4" shaft laminated fir from NZ, that come bare-naked. Never wrapped an oar before, but since it costs $30-35, I gave it a go.
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 (gangsta wrap) but you could look for something to coordinate with your tubes. For each 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.
2x2 with 5/8" holes at the ends + 2 oarlocks padded with rags (so your shaft won't get marked up– lots of chances for puns here, which I'm resisting). First, set the oars right on your frame and mark the center of the lock (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— not an option for synthetic shafts.
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 left— together— and pull hard, taking up all the stretch.
Next one's big, so you can see what's going on.
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 tight—you'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 groove— I didn't).
Once it feels tight, work your way along the whole wrap to even out the tension, then go back and get the final bite on the bottom part.
Cut the rope. Don't bother to fuse the end— frayed, it blends in better. Then even out the wraps one last time.
Getting the donuts on (some are tighter than others) can be a vicious butt-cramp. Soaking them in warm water helps, and so does spraying the shaft and the wraps (with water, not beer). Here's the result:
The reason you want more rope below the lock is obvious, I hope.
Last step is to run a bead of quick-set gel epoxy around the bottom edge of the rope, so it doesn't peel back when you ram it through the lock. I didn't put any epoxy on the grip end, but I did use a wee copper nail there.
Here's one afternoon's bad-ass work.
The grips were a separate item, as were protectors for the blades (on back order). Total bite (shipping included): $73.82 per oar. Plus about 4 hours of work, two cans of Fat Tire, and one blister.
Guess I should write a book. But free works, too.
Happy wrapping— Chip
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Eliptical Man Rowing CataRaft
Oar Triangle Geometry
View enlarged drawing in your graphics editor. This detail illustrates the Oar Geometry Triangle that so many have pondered. Generally, the higher your elevation, the more completed the solution. Keep this in mind when you buy that expensive pipe chair. It's likley to also cost you new oar shafts as wall as oar towers.
There exists two general rules affecting the oar length. 1/3 Rule applies to that portion of the overall oar length that is inside the pivot point. The pivot point is the fulcrum. This rule exists for ease of navigating and correct depth of oar blades. One may deviate from the rule 10% or so by counterbalancing the oar shaft such that a second rule applies. The second rule is that the forces exerted on the handle should be less that 1 lb (Net Wt**) or nominally weightless. This rule exists to prevent repetative motion injuries. Keep in mind that a 100 mile raft trip @ 5 ft/stroke is better than 100K oar cycles. (50K for bicycle action). We recommend oars in the 9 to 10 ft range for boats in the 12-18 ft range; 10 oars being the latter. Frames should be wide enough to accomodate the rules stated above or be fitted with outriggers, rainbows or wings to accomplish the task. Since oars have many of utilitarian functions, we recommend a strong inexpensive oar which will function as a tent pole and can be easily replaced without breaking the bank. We provide such an oar. Please view the engineering page for oar configuration diagram: http://www.rowframe.com/engineeringinflatables.html
** Net Weight after allowing for forearm weight.
PT Raft Seats & Floors
Pressure Treated (PT) 3/4 CDX is ideal for this application. For added skid resistance, coat with fiberglass cloth ans polyester resin.
Bottom Photo: The flip seat is available at Cabelas for about $40 bucks. Combined with a swivel bearing, it's adequate for fishing. As a whitewater seat, it is not recommended
PT Raft Seats & Casting Decks
Yeah, We Make That....Better and We Make It In The USA
No Commie Stuff Sold Here.
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