Monday, 15 October 2012
They were designed for fine boats with outriggers so they were far too long, of course. I set about shortening them by about 8in, and cutting a nice blade in half takes a bit of screwing-ones-courage-to-the-sticking-place as the bard has it. I took my trusty tenon saw and did the deed.
Next step was to remove the handles from the stubs of the looms, which was done by making two longitudinal cuts with a precision angle grinder and breaking the split loom off the handle with a precision club hammer and bolster.
I cleaned the gunge that had been used to stick the handles inside the oars with a sander and glued them back in with silicone gunge designed for window frames, figuring it would hold the handles in place without causing undue stresses.
What I hadn't bargained for was that one set of handles had been cross-sawn where it goes into the oar, so that it would squeeze into the hole. The silicone gunge did not provide enough strength to prevent the handle wiggling in the loom, and the handles cracked and came out on the first outing.
The damage was easily repaired with epoxy, however, and the blades passed their first thrashing round the harbour with flying colours.
Now everyone will have to start getting used to the much larger overlap, but the combination of lightness, strength and the bigger area of the Macon blade means they really propel the boat through the water.
Now we need another couple of pairs. Anyone know where we can get two pairs of carbon fibre sculling oars cheap?