a folding dinghy sailboat

barquito: Spanish for little boat

The story and photos of my folding boat   2007 by Man of the Cloth Productions.

- Oarlocks / Oars -

As this boat project neared its maiden launch date, I started to build oars.  Even though I hope to sail this little barque,  I need oars as a back up source of moving the boat on the water.   After checking  the price of manufactured oars, I decided to try making a very basic pair.  I wanted simple, cheap, reasonably strong and  serviceable oars. 

It was such a nice day here I moved my work bench outside.  I started by cutting out a template for my oars from a piece of old luan. 

I traced this pattern on to a 6'   2 X 6" piece of pine lumber with very straight grain.  I cut this out carefully with my saber saw.  A ban saw would also work. 

 I traced a center line and a tapering profile on each side of the oar blade.

 I traced the center line and a tapering profile on the blade end.

Using a belt sander with a quality #50 grit belt, I sanded off the waste material to make this profile.  I sanded until the belt came to the guidelines of the layout.


 To begin shaping the oar blade I added this "y" shaped layout on each face.  The oar  blade on the left  is ready to be shaped.   The one on the right is finished. 

I took my time and wore ear protection.  Each blade required about an hour.  I hope that these oars will not warp.  Pine has a tendency to warp a lot from exposure to the sun.  The end grain shows I selected stock that was from the center of the tree.  This might control some of the warping.  Time will tell.  Usually oars are made from select stock that is free of knots.


Next I turned my attention to the oar looms.  The saber saw  cuts left the lines of the loom a little wavy.  I used the belt sander to true the loom to a square cross section profile.  Then I used a  piece of scrap aluminum to add layout lines.  These lines were approximately a quarter of the  distance in from the edge.   Each of the four sides of the loom were marked this way.

I cut a notch in a scrap of wood to make a simple jig to hold the loom with an edge facing up.  Then I used the belt sander to remove the material down to these layout lines.   

This photo insert shows the final cross section of the loom.  My camera distorted this shot a little bit, but you can get the idea.  A hand grip can be added at the end for comfort.  The height and width of the loom are about 1 3/4" .    I was able to cut, shape and finish up by sanding  these two oars with #180 garnet paper in six hours.

I applied two coats of spar urethane to the oars.  I added a bit of white paint as trim near the grips.  I hand shaped round grips.  But I custom shaped one grip for the port and one for the starboard oar.   The oar lock pivots cost $8.00

The oars must have a strong base to resist the force of the oars.  The gunwales on this little boat are too small.  So I made blocks to support the leverage of the oars.  Someone gave me some odd pieces of aged walnut hardwood.  I used the table saw to cut these blocks into a standard, square size.  Then I cut a series of 45 degree cuts into the blocks to make these profiles.    The single hole received the oar lock pivot.  two 1/4"  carriage bolts will  go through the two smaller holes  so the bolt can me secured to the gunwale. 

I drilled four matching holes on each side to receive the bolts  that go through the oar block, securing it to the with wing nuts.  The additional holes allow the oar blocks to be moved for the most comfortable rowing.

I used latex caulk to add a layer of cork to the bearing surface of the bock.  I hope the cork will protect the gunwale and reduce squeaks.   You can see the edge of the cork in the photo above. 

 Assemble the Barquito   Gallery of Pictures

1 Basic Boating String Theory   2 Sewing the Hull  3 Keeping the Water Out  

4 Center Thwart  5 Bow  6 Foredeck  7 Transom  8 Oarlocks / Oars   9 Skeg  

 10 Rudder   11  Leeboard   12 Sail and Rig 

Other Folding Boats  On line Sailing School  Boat Building Links

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