How To Build Your Own Oars
Geodesic Airolite Boats (

These lightweight oars are made from dimension lumber and plywood.

oars diagram


The shaft is 1 1/2"x1 1/2" cut from an 8 ft. 2x6 plank, tapered as shown. Spruce is preferred but fir will do. Scarf a 6" extension at the tip to support the blade end. 5/16" cheeks are glued on the shaft then shaped round to 2" dia. for the oarlock. 1/16" Leather is glued on the round with epoxy. A Kevlar roving strand is laminated with epoxy on the fore and aft face of the shaft. The Turk's Head Is made with 3/16" nylon braided line. An alternate button can be made with a 5 turn wrap of 1/16" x 3/4" Leather...al1 epoxied in place. Make the blade from 1/4" P1y. Luan under1ayment is a good choice.

turk's head knot

This is quite simple but I asure you it will take some practice to get it right. Use a 5-ft piece of line and make a Clove Hitch that is about 2 1/2" in diameter near the end. Now the trick is to pull the hitch together leaving two sort of floppy loops.

Now twist the loops back and forth weaving the fall of the line around, under and out the openings from side to side to form a braid. This pattern is repeated seven times. At this point adjust the knot so all of the braid patterns are uniform in size. Then continue weaving the line along side of the first strand so that the whole pattern becomes a double braid. Slide the knot on the oar; then make it as tight as you can. Use an awl or needle nose pliers to pull the strands. Start at one end and pull each strand continuously following in and out of the braid from one end to the other.

sequence diagram

Copyright 2002 Monfort Associates.