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Thread: rope wrap vs. plastic sleeves on oar shafts

  1. #1

    Default rope wrap vs. plastic sleeves on oar shafts

    I was wondering if folks have a preference either way. Any advantages / disadvantages to one over the other? I would guess the plastic sleeves are more durable, but rope would be quieter? In my very limited experience I've only used oars with a rope wrap on the shaft. I'm outfitting my own raft this spring and originally planned on going with Cataract oars with rope on the shafts. But I found a deal on plain shafted Cataracts too good to pass up. Now I'm wondering if I just buy the sleeve protector and call it good or look in to having someone wrap them for me. Anyone do the rope wrap themselves? For float hunting I was thinking the rope would be much quieter, that's why I was leaning that direction.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007


    Would mostly depend on whether you want to run open oar locks (wrap) vs. Oar-rite (plastic sleeves)?

  3. #3
    Member DannerAK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Whiskey River


    I run rope wrap on a drift boat setup with wood oars. During my time commercial raft guiding, we always used plastic sleeves on cataract shafts with oar rites. They are pretty strong and hold up day after day hauling boat loads of fat tourists down the Nenana Canyon and the like.
    The sleeve or rope wrap won't necessarily be the part making noise. If your oar locks are worn, loose, or bent then you will experience squeaks and clunking. In this case a little lube can temporarily ease the noise issues. Also rowing technique and experience will reduce the amount of noise produced during rowing. Good luck with making your decision. You will be happy either way once on the water!

  4. #4


    Jeff- In my opinion I really like the rope wrap. When I started rafting in the 70's they did not have plastic sleeves or oar rights-- as we only had ash oars to use this was the only option, other pins and clips, which I only used on 16+ foot rafts, and we would take the time and pride of doing our own rope wrap. Rafting was a different world back then, using old black surplus, Non-bailing, small tube rafts-- but it was fun and we were young and did run some BIG water with them. Now with all the options, it can drive some one crazy who is just starting out. for the $'s it's hard to beat a carsile with the plastic sleeve. I personally use glass oars, being an old pole vaulter. I still use the rope wrap , as it is quiet and just feels better to me. Again just a personal preference. Cataract, Sawyer, both make a great glass or glass/graphite oar. I like an oar with a good flex and smooth, rebound. I stay away from graphic, as they are stiffer, harder to bend, and seem to break more. I also go with one piece as they have a better flex and rebound than ones with a sleeve in the middle. Again a personal opinion. The factories have machines that wrap the rope and use epoxy on each end to hold the tight wrap in place, In the early days we would use small nails and contact glue on our ash oars to keep the rope from shifting.
    I sell Sawyers, Cataract, and Carsiles so I am not bias at all- just what I use and like. Which ever you choose -- let the factory put the rope on them when you make your order,
    Just my thoughts.

  5. #5


    Hey Jeff- I just reread your original post-- If you just get the plastic sleeves and put the rubber O-rings on them you will be fine and save some money. Did not realize you got a deal on some used cataract oars. Should be fine. Also, I will have no problem to put a rope wrap if you want let me know.

  6. #6
    Member AKBighorn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I bought an old drift boat last year and completely rebuilt it. I used rope wrap on the oars as that is what was there and I thought it would be quieter as well. Never wrapped oars before but after watching a youtube video and playing with a sample piece of rope I was quite happy with the results. I thought at first it would be a pita but it was funner than most of the labor I put into rebuilding the boat. I'd say give it a shot wrapping your oar with a scrap piece and go from there.


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