Of Oars and Tiller Extensions

I was going to skip this blog post, but decided maybe I ought to just do it. So, here I am typing away and putting up pictures. Yay?


These were done several weeks ago. Pardon the tardiness.

I started by ripping a ten-foot 2x4 (pine or spruce? I don't know.) into a pair of 1.5x1.5 sticks, plus a strip of scrap. I then decided I didn't need ten foot oars and cut two feet off the ends. I ripped 2x4 instead of buying 2x2 because the 2x4 cost 1/3 less than a pair of 2x2s of the same length.

The photo shows marks at the handle end, but I also marked the blade end of each shaft. I'm going to leave a block of square wood at the handle end of the loom to partially counterbalance the oars, which should make them a little easier to work with. At this length and weight of wood, it's probably not important, but I think it also is beautiful, so I did it.

A little action with the draw knife rounds out the handles, nicely.

The blade is roughly 24" long and six inches wide, made from scrap 3/8" ply. It's been a few weeks so I don't remember the exact numbers.

I cut the slot so the blade would hang out the end about eight inches.

Standard, water resistant wood glue. These are cheap oars and I'm not going to use good epoxy. When they break, come apart or get lost, I'll just make a replacement.

Shaping the loom. I love this draw knife. It removes wood well. I tapered the shaft along the blade. I left enough for some strength and probably removed about four ounces of weight. Again, not really a big deal on oars of this size, but I did it anyway.

Finished, almost. I still need to wrap them where they'll chafe in the locks, and varnish them. They have proven quite functional, though. Total length about 8.5 feet and, I think, maybe a foot too long for really fine rowing on this particular boat.

Total cost: $4, one hour of glue drying and two hours of light labor. That sure beats $50 apiece!

Tiller Extension

If you've been following my adventures with Hogswallup, you know he's got a trim problem. I'm trying to solve that by moving my weight forward, rather than add a bunch of ballast up front. In order to move forward, I need either remote steering or an extension to the tiller on the motor. I opted for a tiller extension because I could build it for less than $15, and the motor isn't easily converted to remote operation.

The major components of my tiller extension are a 24" section of 2"ID ABS pipe and an off-cut from my oars. I was originally going to use a scrap of 2x4 but when I was getting ready to rip it to size, I found the off-cuts which are already ripped to size and have the added benefit of being a few inches longer.

A slot was cut in the pipe so it could compress and squeeze the motor's tiller handle. This assures that I can work the throttle as well as steer.

This piece of scrap being glued onto each end of the stick is for shaping the handle to a) fit the pipe better, and b) add some contour to the hand-grip area so I can know where my throttle position is by the twist.

The finished handle and then the finished extension. The overall length is something near four feet. I didn't measure. Note the shape at the hand grip. That should easily let me feel where the throttle position is at. I joined the two pieces with 1 3/4" deck screws. The "bottom" of the pipe also has a series of holes drilled through to allow any errant water to drain out.

Total cost, including clamps: $12 and about two hours (including glue-drying time) light labor.

Here it is installed with exhaust clamps from the auto parts store. I set it up so that the "up" part of the hand grip is centered at 50% wide-open-throttle. In use, it's slightly too long for comfort while seated on the center thwart and slightly too short for comfort (and safety!) while standing in the forward foot well. I will probably chop three inches from it and use it from a seated position. I probably will also install a swiveling, padded seat on the center thwart. My long legs feel cramped on these seats and the hard wood bruises the tush.

I still need to figure out how to arrange the emergency shut-off lanyard to work from the extended tiller. If I run it through eyes up to the handle, every time I move away from the tiller, it will turn the boat. That's unacceptable. I really don't want to worry about whether a dangling bit of twine will tangle in something, so simply lengthening the lanyard really isn't a good solution, either. I'm open to suggestions.

Here's a shot of Hogswallup's improved wake. Moving me forward dropped the bow about six inches. He doesn't pound nearly so bad in lumpy water. The downside? I get completely soaked in spray! Need to figure out how and where to install some spray rails. Also, I can't throw the tiller "hard over" because I can't reach far enough; and it's now tricky to work the throttle, gears and steering in close quarters. With practice it will get easier, though.

I still wonder if a hydrofoil or thrust ring would make any useful improvement.

1 comment:

charlielee said...

this is a really good idea. thanks, I'll be using this on my oar extension and save some money

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