Oarlock pads

Just like last year, I took a break from boatbuilding during the holidays.  But now the Christmas decorations have been taken down, and are back up in the attic.  The garage can once again become a boatshop.

Last summer I wrote a post entitled “In praise of Poverty Sticks” where I extolled the virtues of having a pair of oars.  Wee Lass has a nice pair of oars, which will be used on Tammie Norrie.  The hardware for the oars will also be re-purposed on Tammie Norrie.  The oarlock sits in a top-mounted bronze socket; this socket is in turn inlet into a wooden oarlock pad which sits atop the shear.  Like Wee Lass, Tammie Norrie will have two pairs of rowing stations.  The aft station will be where I do most of my rowing, but there will also be a forward station where I’ll sit when passengers are on board.

The oarlock pad is a simple wooden block that is 8″ long and spans from inwale to outwale.  The pad is tapered fore and aft, which isn’t absolutely necessary, but looks a lot nicer.  As I’ve got four pads, and therefore eight tapers to cut, I decided not to cut them by hand.  Cutting by hand is not only time consuming, but the tapers were not likely to be uniform.  Fortunately, I’ve got a table saw and I’m not afraid to use it.

To cut a consistent taper, I needed to build a jig for the table saw.  The jig consists of a sled which slides along the slot in the saw.  A fence is screwed onto the sled which sets the angle of the taper.  The jig was easily built using scrap material on hand.

2018 01 07 Making the jig.

Rule #2 comes into play here.  Before cutting expensive cherry that I’ll be using for the pads, I thought it best to make a “practice pad” using scrap wood to test the concept.  The fence needed some minor tweaking to get the angle of the taper right, and then I was ready to cut the pads.  The stock for the pad is held to the jig with a spring clamp; just make sure that the clamp will clear the saw blade.

2018 01 07 Jig in use.

After cutting to shape on the table saw, the pads are then mounted into the vise and a sanding block is used to get rid of any saw marks on the tapers.  The pads can then be epoxied onto the shear in their proper location.  Fortunately, the weather was warm enough that weekend that the epoxy would cure.

2018 01 07 Pad glued in place.

Next it’s time to inlet the socket into the pad.  The pad will have a hole drilled through the top.  This hole will be centered fore and aft, but offset towards the interior so the the oarlock will clear the shearstrake.  A Forstner drill bit was used to drill the hole.  Prior to drilling, some scrap wood was clamped to the bottom of the assembly to minimize tear-out when the drill exited the bottom of the wood.

2018 01 13 Drilling socket hole

With the hole drilled, the socket was placed on top of the pad, the outline of the socket marked, and the pad inlet to accept the socket.

2018 01 13 Oarlock socket has been inlet

That pad is complete; only three more to go.

2 thoughts on “Oarlock pads”

  1. Remind me the next time you are up here, and I will show you the REAL meaning of decorations being stored in ones woodshop ! And mine is no longer 40 x 50 feet,,,, try 10 x 16.


  2. Al:

    Happy New Year!!!

    Glad to see that you are back in production mode!! And I will for sure use this new info next time I am doing an oarlock pad! But the last photo of the completed work didn’t come through and so I am greatly disappointed not to see the final results!!!



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