Making oars for a light boat


Active Member
I built my own oars for the last boat I made and will probably do it again soon. The cost was minimal as I bought a couple of hardwood closet dowels for the shafts and I think I used some spruce for the business end. I cut flats exactly opposite each other on the table saw then used Gorilla urethane glue to put the 3 pieces together. Once they were dry it was a simple matter to cut them to shape on the band saw and shape them with a plane, some chisels and a sander. The handles I carved out by hand till they reached a comfortable shape. Three coats of marine varnish for a finish.

I had doubted that they would be large enough because the cross section was so small but they pushed the boat along quite nicely and I never saw any need for bigger oars. Here are some pics of how they started and what they looked like when finished. Cheap thrills-I probably didn't have $25 in the pair. This is an easy and fun job and will produce an oar that is certainly adequate for a lake or pond boat. For moving water I would definitely use something more robust.


Rob Ast

Active Member
Nice work Ive. Any particular reason you went with the wedge shape? Seems like you could have increased the surface area without much difficulty by simply making a more rectangular blade (or go even fancier and make it asymmetric).