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Spoons for a drift boat

Posted by ccarlson 
Spoons for a drift boat
October 05, 2018 12:36PM
Anyone ever use spoon blade oars for a drift boat? Out here on the east coast used oars are tough to come buy. I found 4 9.5' new spoon blade spruce oars for uber cheap.
Re: Spoons for a drift boat
October 05, 2018 01:42PM
I wonder too. Dan Lohmiller here in Bozeman, co-owner of the River's Edge, builds his own hollow-shaft oars. HIs oar tips aren't hollow but they could be.

Dan's first boat was a Beavertail, by the way, which he guided out of for a decade or so.

Keep us posted. If you buy them we want to know.
Re: Spoons for a drift boat
October 07, 2018 04:26AM
I've never seen anyone use spoon bladed oars with a drift boat. They are typically used in flat water rowing with more performance type craft.

Spoon blades are likely to be thinner and more prone to damage from rocks and the like, than thicker symmetrical blades.

Spoon blades are more efficient for hard pulling, but in a dory drifting down a river oars are used both the "pull" slowing the boat down and ferrying, and to "push" to speed the boat up through waves etc.

My whitewater canoe paddle is spooned, and the non-power face works for off-side pry strokes. I suspect that rowing in a river both sides of the blades could be used. One potential annoyance might the challenge in keeping the spoon power face oriented in the direction you want it. With symmetrical blades I don't need to pay attention to blade orientation when I lay an oar across the beam of the boat when anchored, and then put it back in the water when underway.
Re: Spoons for a drift boat
October 10, 2018 08:59PM
I haven’t tried them in a drift boat but, I do row a pair of 8’ one-piece Sawyer SST spoon blade oars on a smaller raft. These are the little 1.25” diameter composite shaft oars.
http://www.paddlesandoars.com/Oars/SAWYER-SST-OAR/ I have not found the asymmetry annoying in whitewater. I wish they made a full size version.

Anyway, I think it depends how much “spoon” we’re talking about. A little bit, like the SST, seems nice. You get a little extra power (stability?) on the pull and there isn’t much tradeoff on the push. I can see how too much “spoon” might be problematic.
Re: Spoons for a drift boat
October 11, 2018 04:55PM
I row mostly with a pair of Smoker LIghts I bought in 1979. They'll outlast me. One did split once when a tilt trailer collapsed on it.

It wasn't hard to fix. While I was at it I made the oar blades wider. I made a visqueen and 1/4" inch foam sandwich on either side of the blade with thickened epoxy putty trowelled onto the edges of the oars. Sandwiched it together, put weight on top and then took it apart 12 hours later.

And then ground the epoxy putty back so the perimeter of the blade was a little less than 3/4" inch wider all the way 'round. For both oars. And then glassed both sides of each blade over top of the putty edges.

It's lasted for more than a decade. I have patched it once or twice. In a gale force wind those wider oar blades become harder to handle. In normal conditions those oars bite the water harder, providing more horsepower. I like it. A lot.

It wouldn't be all that hard to mold a bit of a scoop onto the blades of an old pair of oars. Just to try it out.

....actually maybe it would be hard. Which makes it more fun. I'd make the same kind of visqueen foam sandwich except I'd use rigid styrofoam for the bottom, so it went around the blade and sloped up. Cover it with visqueen. Slobber putty. Put down more visqueen. More foam. Press it together and walk away.

Use some sanding skills 12 ours later. Glass that.

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