To be oar not to be…

Before I even started building Serenity, I spent quite a lot of time buying parts. Oars among them. However, I didn’t do my research and it ended up biting me in the ass. I bought a kayak paddle/ inflatable dinghy oar thing. I thought would be useful, or at the least, easily modifiable. Well I was kind of right. It would have been better to not cheap out and buy proper oars.

That said, here’s what I’ve been doing:

The oars have a locking connector in the middle to make them into a kayak paddle. Cool, right? Well, not really. What that means is on their own, each oar has only about a two and a half foot shaft. WAY too short for this craft… There were a couple options; find a suitable “sleeve” to make telescoping shafts, or get replacement shafts, or buy “actual” oars.

Finding materials for the sleeve idea was too much of a hassle, while acquiring a straight 10′ dowel was hardly any trouble at all. It’s not perfect, and there is some shaping that would need to be done, but it’s completely doable. No problem!

Here's one half of the paddle/oar set. Along with the cut replacement shafts.

Here’s one half of the paddle/oar set. Along with the cut replacement shafts.

For comparison and scale, here’s what the aluminum shaft looks like nested between the wooden replacement. Big improvement.

The ends are all even here at the left.

The ends are all even here at the left.

The dowel was wider than the aluminum tube was, so it would need to be fit to size. To determine how far down the shaft to shave, I measured how deep the aluminum shaft fit into the oar blade.

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The aluminum measured 1 1/8″ OD, and the wood measured 1 1/4″ OD. If I had access to a lathe, this would have been a cakewalk. AND it would have convinced me to add more ergonomic handles.

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Once the mosquitoes came out in force, it was time to leave the garage. Not a problem, this can be done inside! One of the perks to living alone is not having to explain why you are whittling in your office at 10:30pm.

One oar shaped and ready to go!

One oar shaped and ready to go!

All that remained was getting some kind of treatment on them. Minwax Spar Urethane seemed to fit the bill, so a can of that was acquired today, and a coat has already been applied. One or two more should be about right.

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