Step 17: Oars. Make Them Yourself. [And Do Not Shop at Outdoor World]
The oars I bought were pathetic. But I'm from Colorado (Denver). Not really a boating area either. REI didn't have any oars. I went to Outdoor World (Bass Pro Shop) and they didn't have any either, despite what their website said.
(Side note about Outdoor World. I was disgusted that they had so many dead animals all over their store. And they've taken the liberty of killing hundreds of year old trees to decorate their store. I don't consider myself necessarily an environmentalist or an animal activist, but this place is grossly using natural resources and indescriminantly killing animals only to decorate a STORE. A store like "Outdoor World" is the anthesis of everything nature and the outdoors is. They are consumptive and irresponsible to the outdoors and the life therein. Please. Don't shop at places like this. One glance at any Bass Pro Shop or Outdoor World will explain what I mean.)
Anyway. The process for making oars is thus:
Use a piece of paper ( I had some tar paper for roofing available) and fold some in half. My first set of oar paddles were 18" long. I suggest some a bit longer. I free hand sketched half of an oar shape. Unfold and trace on to 1/2" plywood. Cut those out with a jigsaw.
Then I ripped a 2X4 in half (sound familiar yet?) and cut a 1/2" notch in to it. Several inches up. Use your judgement. Has to be pretty strong. After all, this is another point of force and momentum. If the paddles break off the oar shaft, you're stuck in the middle of a lake.
Use Liquid Nails in the notch and put the paddle into the oar shaft. Then carefully put some 1" screws through both sides of the shaft into the paddle.
I then cut some of the corners off of the shaft to start making it round. I made a second set of oars, larger ones, and I cut the edges before I notched them. Either way.
After that I sanded the shafts and paddles with 40 grit sandpaper.
Then I sanded all of it with 150 grit sandpaper. That made it really smooth.
With the first set of oars I coated them all the way with deck waterproofer. That made the really smooth finish I had accomplished very rough. Unfortunately.
The second set of oars I made I only coated the bottom half of the shaft and paddles with deck sealant. the handles I left very smooth and untreated. I figure, as much as I row, those handles will not get wet enough to warp. And I'd rather keep them smooth.