Building oars for passagemaker

im a newbie, but I did build the boat. Im thinking about making a pair of oars from the clc plans. I mostly plan to use the PM as a sailboat, but rowing also sounds appealing. Around how much would the wood cost?  Where does one buy the wood? Is it really difficult to build these?




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RE: Building oars for passagemaker

   I write because your post might imply that you'd consider going out sailing without oars or a paddle onboard.  Don't do that - always have some means of propelling the boat aboard other than the sails.

Because I got started, I'll add just another two cents about building the oars. I think most everyone that builds a boat is in it for the satisfaction and craftsmanship of the process - the zen while building and the pride when done.  So if that's why you'd like to make some oars, by all means do so.  However, if you're doing it to save money, even with counting the value of your time as zero, you won't really save a whole lot over purchased oars.  Looks like about $80 or less for some perfectly suitable wooden 8' Caviness oars (no locks) at West Marine right now.  If you don't like the red rubber grips you can find others without.  Add up the price of finding and then buying some good wood, add epoxy, sandpaper and varnish and I think the cost will be about the same. So, if you'd like to build oars because you want the satisfaction of building them, by all means do so.  I just wouldn't do it if your purpose is to save money, especially if you want to account for your time having any value.

RE: Building oars for passagemaker

   And I'll add for clarity's sake - I do see you're looking for a motor.  That doesn't count - even with a motor, you should always have a paddle or oars aboard  And since the boat is built to row, I'd highly recommend oars.

RE: Building oars for passagemaker

In general, I agree with Bubblehead's observation about buying being cheaper than building (unless you just happen to be a professional or advanced amateur woodworker with a scrap pile lovingly collected and curated over the decades you've spent in the hobby). It really can't be any other way. The big manufacturers have tooling, low-cost experienced labor, designs optimized for price, are constantly adjusting their supply chains for lowest-cost stock, etc.

But I do want to add that you get what you pay for (with cash or sweat). For years I used the low-priced West Marine oars and they got me around. They were reliable and worked. Then one day I tried higher-end oars, made of lighter woods with shapes that were optimized for rowing instead of cheap manufacture. It was a revelation. Rowing didn't just get me around, it was actually fun. I hadn't realized how much I was fighting the weight and shape of the oars.

So while building your own to save money is a lost cause, building your own may let you get a higher-end product that is otherwise unavailable to you.

And if you really want to get addicted to high-cost options, there's carbon fiber oars :-)



RE: Building oars for passagemaker

Last winter I built several kayak paddles using Nick's plans...

He also has an extensive set of videos for this. It was a fun and rewarding project. Yes, I could have bought fancy carbon fiber ones cheaper and there was a bit of a learning curve. but it was very much worth it.


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