Making oars

dan mulholland

Here is a list of required steps concerning the Gaco oar building project.

  1. Cut slot in skinny end of oar shaft; test fit blades.   Oddly, blades marked with a "P" and "S".  Performed many hours of research, wondering if making the middle oar, the "O", is required.
  2. Resolved this burning question, mixed up the epoxy, with wood powder and silica, glued in blades.
  3. Consulted with "ultimate owner" on his wife's knowledge of port and starboard.  Apparently, we need to start with markings to identify "upright" position of boat.
  4. Checking on glue setup, noticed that one of the blades was glued in backwards. Colorful language used to address feelings of ineptitude.
  5. Informed "ultimate owner" that the boat was now designed to be an allegory for life, in that it was optimized for going in circles.
  6. Using handheld coping saw blade, sawed out the backwards blade, without damaging oar or blade.   Installed blade on proper side.
  7. Moved on to the fiberglass wrap of the blade, where the oar fits the socket.  Determined that oar rotated in socket; proceeded with glass and epoxy.
  8. Had problems with mix, it appears, on second coat; it did not completely, or adequately harden.
  9. Tested fit with socket; the additional thickness of the fiberglass interfered with rotation of oars.
  10. Removed fiberglass with heat gun assistance.  Got out the planes, sandpaper again, and made the corners less acute, remove thickness on the "passive" side of the oar shaft- the top and bottom.  Generated more shavings for blueberries.
  11. Acquired small mixing cups from auto paint store; verified accuracy of shown ratios.   $2.16 for 6 cups. 
  12. Glassed a second time.  Cloth cut a little too wide, not determined until epoxy mixed and application initiated.  Trimmed cloth and proceeded.  Epoxy went off before completing second oar; managed to work the "taffy "-sticky stuff- into the cloth.
  13. Sanded off excess and other warts from prior day fun- tis OK.  Hardened properly.  A little time in the sunshine helped.
  14. Rolled on second coat, a few bubbles, acceptable.  It is helpful, sometimes, to lower expectations on quality as exasperation sets in.
  15. Today, will attempt final coat, will tip with foam brush to get any bubbles out.