Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: oarlock modification

  1. #1
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    fishhook, ak
    Posts
    1,124

    Default oarlock modification

    I've purchased second hand some hook and pin oarlocks but they do not have any stirrups to catch an oar if it pops out, which recently proved obnoxious on class II water and would be quite troublesome on more substantial rapids because reclipping the displaced oar requires two arms, one of which is otherwise occupied during such situations.

    I suspect it would be fairly simple to fashion something that would work, and just a bit more work/thought to fashion something that will work well and over the long-term. I would like the stirrup to be a close fit so that the oar can be clipped back onto the pin with one arm.

    Am I wasting my time trying to fashion something myself and should just buy the carlisle stirrups? I figure I probably can find some rigid white plastic and cut some myself. Has anyone done so? I see that the commercial designed stirrups come with some gromets/gaskets, presumably to reduce wear on the actual stirrup. Where would one obtain such rubber pieces? Available in the mat-su?


    What is your preference regarding the performance of hook/pin oarlocks versus the open/horned style? Wife wants to get the other style, as they're all she's used in the past, and she was not impressed with the oars popping out, but I'm willing to give these another few goes (with stirrups) before reaching my own verdict.

    All experiences/insights appreciated.

  2. #2
    Member AlaskaTrueAdventure's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Paradise (Alaska)
    Posts
    1,543

    Default

    Well, after my white plastic oar-stirrups broke every second year, after being stored outside during the winter, I bought a second raft and used oar sleeves and blade-rite oar stops. I immediately preferred the sleeves and blade-rite oar stops over the old pins and clips. I now have three frames set up with the new sleeves and blade-rite oar stops, and a used set of pins and clips to give away.

    And I really diisliked the soft leather stirrrups i once attempted to use with the pins and clips....they were next to useless.

    Last thought concerning the two types of oar set-ups...I'll bet that Alaska Raft and Kayak sells ten sets (or more) of sleeve/oar-rite oar stops to every one set of pins and clips.

    One time I was using a rented raft. I accidently let the air taxi dude get away without me checking all the equipment. The oars were fitted with sleeves, but not blade-rite oar stops! So I searched around in the river bank gravel until i found some rocks that were square-ish and of the right size. I then duct-taped them into place. And the oars worked fine for the 40 mile rafting trip.
    But in the future, I do recommend using the proper commercially manufactured oar accessories.

    ...my experiences, my current preferences.

    dennis

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    I prefer the feel of oarlocks with stops and oar rights, but all my frames/oars are equipped with pins & clips, and I'm too cheap to change them now.

    I do not like the floppy NRS stirrups. After just a little use they cause the oar to bind when you're trying to slam the oar back in place. they almost always require two hands or a lot of twisting. The stiff plastic Carlisle stirrups work much better, but they do crack and break after a year or so of use. I have found that you can extend their life considerably (at least double) by trimming their width at the bottom so that when an oar gets twisted up in there they don't flex the stirrup so much. In any case, with minimal practice you can quickly slam an oar back into place, one handed, without removing your hand from the grip.

    I do think pins and clips with stirrups have some good advantages over oarlocks with stops and rights. You can reset them faster if they pop off, and you don't usually loose them if your boat flips. Of course you can use safety tethers with either one. You can also easily adjust their height if you get the long pins with a couple extra 1" pins sleeves to take up the slack. You should also use a clip at the bottom of the pin instead of a nut, so you don't need tools to do the adjustments. (12" bolts and schedule 40 pipe are easily available.) Another trick is to split the normal length pin sleeve in the middle and put in an extra large washer half way up. That way you can use the bottom half of the oar stirrup with the oar in a lowered position for easy water, but quickly raise the oar by letting the clip ride on the washer and use the top half of the stirrup to clear your knees when the boat starts rocking. And you can make that change with a fast one handed move without letting go of the oar grip too. It's a pretty slick move if you do whitewater separated by long slack water sections.

    But like I said, I prefer the feel of oarlocks with stops and rights. They're also easier to ship quickly, and they never get stuck half way in or out.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    fishhook, ak
    Posts
    1,124

    Default

    thanks dennis and jim for sharing your experiences. I read through several threads over on mountain buzz, and did some yakking over at ARK, and open oarlocks seemed to be the clear favorite choice, though pins and clips have a few loyalists, and oar-rights seem to have a number of detractors from the "purist" sort of crowd, though the majority is certainly supportive of them. Boy if you want an "earfull" (eye-full?) of rafting ego and opinion, just head over to mtn buzz!

    I've exclusively used open locks and oarrights on rental rafts and friends' rafts in the past, and they've always done me well. There seems to be some purist scoffing at the oarrights due to the inability to feather oars with them in place, though it seems to me that simply pulling the oars in 8" will free them and allow you to rotate the oars to feather if necessary.

    The characteristic I most appreciated about the open oar-locks is that both oars can simultaneously be pulled-in quickly and easily to avoid obstructions or, more often, simply to give the arms a brief rest. I did not find a comparably simple way of doing this with the clips/pins, though perhaps my forearms and triceps simply aren't up to snuff? I found it was too much work to 2-handedly pop each oar clip off the pin to rest, while the other oar is dropped into the water, and the least-obnoxious method of resting I found was to one at a time spin each oar so that the blade rested on the tubes in the bow. A lot of work and not at all feasible for the brief rests desired between rapids, and inconveniently time consuming when one wants a quick glance through the looking glasses, a quick cast at some grayling, etc. etc. etc.

    Especially If I am unable to find a way to quickly pull in oars with clips for a brief rest, then I'll shortly be in pursuit of some open oarlocks and a pair of sleeves and stops to go with. Do you have a one-handed and easy method to pull in the clipped oars Jim? Perhaps my clips are a bit tight or I should get a gym membership? Really appreciate your advise about adjusting pin height and spacer set-ups, which may come in handy if I stick-out this oar set-up for a while longer.

    An obvious disadvantage to the pins/clips I see is the sharp metal edges of the hose clamps ready to bite someone or something unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Mine are taped, but there still is potential danger there. Easy enough to avoid 99% of the time but of course it is the freak coincidence of events that leads to such situations and minimizing the presence of sharp metal objects seems to be a reasonable and responsible precaution to take.


    Do you guys use oar tethers most of the time? are there disadvantages to them?

    alright, enough pestering. better let you guys get out on the water.

  5. #5
    Member Heg's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Girdwood
    Posts
    233

    Default

    Yeah, the mtn buzz is pretty good stuff, I saw this video on there of the New Halen Gorge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awC3qqOGYzw If the guy would have had pins and clips, I think he would have had an easier time recovering his oar.

    I have pins/clips on both my boats, feeling they give me a little more oar security. I heavily wrap duct tape on all of my hose clamps and have never had a problem. I donít ever pop my oars out. When shipping them, I put my blade forward and knuckles out, this also gives me the ability to make subtle strokes while in tight spots. If I need to rest my arms, fish, or take a drink, I put the oars under my legs, or I have my wife/friend take over. With all that said, there are guys with a lot more time on the oars than me that prefer oarlocks/rights, so I guess it is personal preference. Brian Richardson at Alaska Raft Connection has some pretty cool custom pins/clips.

    Josh

  6. #6
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    I also thickly tape my hose clamps. If you can't ship your oars the clips are probably too tight. I hate tight clips. But I usually rest my oars with the handles under my legs, or even under the seat if the handles are set long enough.

    I've never used tethers with stirrups on pins, but there have been a couple occasions where I wished I had. Usually if a boat flips the stirrup captures the oar shaft and it's not able to slide past the oar clip. But I have a bill that proves this is not always the case. Also, a pin is often the first thing to break off when your boat is upside down. Bye bye pin, clip and oar. That has happened to me more than once. In both cases a tether might have saved the day.

    Tethers are far more common on oarlock setups. Any time you need to use oar sleeves to tighten the oar, and don't use a tether, you are asking to pay a $200 fee for being an idiot on a river. I personally see little danger in short tethers, but that is the usual thing I hear, since they represent two more loose ropes to get tangled in. Just keep them very short with a metal ring to slide easily on the oar shaft. Add a plastic quick release and you're good to go. That way if the oar hangs on something solid the quick release breaks and nothing else gets stuck.

  7. #7
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    931

    Default

    Oar pin, sleeves, clips, and cuffs are a very good system... when you add all the right ingredients.

    Thanks Josh for the plug --- pics of
    DSC00060.jpgDSC00089.jpg your boat/frame the day you picked 'er up

    Yes... our tweaked parts/assembly are far better than others offered online or at the local Alaska outlets. The system on Josh's cataraft is a well thought out, reliable working example... plus custom touches that really do make a difference and will continue to perform years down the road.

    No reason to change up everything unless your whole pin and clip parts are trashed.

    Additionally, if you do decide to go open oarlocks as the replacement option... I can show you much nicer, less hassle, more versatile, and cost effective open oar locks than typical run of the mill.

    As Jim related & I'll add --- properly/conveniently tethering your oars is a good notion (for any lock system) as well as placement/orientation, including
    easy release and security of your spare.

  8. #8
    Member scott_rn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    power commuting twixt the valley and anchorage
    Posts
    803

    Default

    Brian,
    You forgot to answer the original question about making the stirrups, or do you sell yours?

    Speaking of which, I gotta get a couple of things from you. I better work some overtime.

  9. #9
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    931

    Default

    Yep - we make 'em!

    DSC00058.jpg

    DSC00061.jpg
    Sounds good!

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    931

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Heg View Post
    Yeah, the mtn buzz is pretty good stuff, I saw this video on there of the New Halen Gorge: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awC3qqOGYzw If the guy would have had pins and clips, I think he would have had an easier time recovering his oar.

    I have pins/clips on both my boats, feeling they give me a little more oar security. I heavily wrap duct tape on all of my hose clamps and have never had a problem. I don’t ever pop my oars out. When shipping them, I put my blade forward and knuckles out, this also gives me the ability to make subtle strokes while in tight spots. If I need to rest my arms, fish, or take a drink, I put the oars under my legs, or I have my wife/friend take over. With all that said, there are guys with a lot more time on the oars than me that prefer oarlocks/rights, so I guess it is personal preference. Brian Richardson at Alaska Raft Connection has some pretty cool custom pins/clips.

    Josh
    Josh -

    Absolutely spot on... I gave this guy very solid logistics, gear selection w/ first-hand info on running the Newhalen River Gorge sections of which he paid little attention to anything -- made pretty obvious by a total lucky flail of the run with no control whatsoever including risking others. To top it off puts the 'thrills' on U-tube as some daring exhibit. Not a leadership example in my opinion, particularly from an outdoor recreation instructor.

    I told him if running single boat and having no real safety
    1.) The 'weight' of at least 5 or 6 people in the boat all low center of gravity and holding on tightly is highly suggested
    2.) All wearing High-float type III/V PFD,
    3.) Dry-suits plus helmets even tho' the water is not super cold and definably deep.

    I recommended oar rigging from the middle of the raft having 'two' spares in a 15-16 footer. These guys got lucky, clearly having no concept of how truly powerful that river can be if crossing into deadly eddy-lines along the walls, near the pillar, or between slots. They may as well have laid down on the bottom of the boat and inner-tubed the section. Thanking lucky stars they got lucky.

    Now to be clear - I still look at the Newhalen Gorge as a get 'er done right 9 out of 10 times running a very controlled, conservative line. I also keep in mind that 1 outta 10 can be lethal!!!

    As to the subject matter and off the soap box:
    Pin/sleave/cuff systems remain a more positive lock and bite in the scenarios where 'green water' (so to speak) can 'float' the oars off most open oar locks unless they are 'tuned' (and still it is a possibility). Recovery is important for control of the boat and safety of the people on it - so a more positive lock with instant bite angle is a good thing!

  11. #11
    New member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Cheyenne, WY
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Great info - I just ordered some 12" pins to give myself more options anyway. I'm curious about the reference to a clip instead of the nut on the bottom of the pin. Can you tell me more about that? I heard this tip once before but don't understand what kind of clip you are talking about. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Strutz View Post
    I prefer the feel of oarlocks with stops and oar rights, but all my frames/oars are equipped with pins & clips, and I'm too cheap to change them now.

    I do not like the floppy NRS stirrups. After just a little use they cause the oar to bind when you're trying to slam the oar back in place. they almost always require two hands or a lot of twisting. The stiff plastic Carlisle stirrups work much better, but they do crack and break after a year or so of use. I have found that you can extend their life considerably (at least double) by trimming their width at the bottom so that when an oar gets twisted up in there they don't flex the stirrup so much. In any case, with minimal practice you can quickly slam an oar back into place, one handed, without removing your hand from the grip.

    I do think pins and clips with stirrups have some good advantages over oarlocks with stops and rights. You can reset them faster if they pop off, and you don't usually loose them if your boat flips. Of course you can use safety tethers with either one. You can also easily adjust their height if you get the long pins with a couple extra 1" pins sleeves to take up the slack. You should also use a clip at the bottom of the pin instead of a nut, so you don't need tools to do the adjustments. (12" bolts and schedule 40 pipe are easily available.) Another trick is to split the normal length pin sleeve in the middle and put in an extra large washer half way up. That way you can use the bottom half of the oar stirrup with the oar in a lowered position for easy water, but quickly raise the oar by letting the clip ride on the washer and use the top half of the stirrup to clear your knees when the boat starts rocking. And you can make that change with a fast one handed move without letting go of the oar grip too. It's a pretty slick move if you do whitewater separated by long slack water sections.

    But like I said, I prefer the feel of oarlocks with stops and rights. They're also easier to ship quickly, and they never get stuck half way in or out.

  12. #12
    New member
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Alaska
    Posts
    931

    Default

    If you ordered Pins (the 12" variety - guessing NRS for example)... you'll have a nylock-nut locking it in place under the oar tower. It is possible to further 'backup' the system by lock-washering plus having a hole drilled through the shank (in the threaded section once you set it optimum for yourself) then thru-pin it.

  13. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Anchorage
    Posts
    1,449

    Default

    Lynch Pin: I use a lynch pin instead of the nut on the bottom of the oar/thole pin (12" bolt). One like this: http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.a...LP&pdeptid=981, but I buy all this stuff at a local hardware store. I drill a hole in the bolt at the appropriate spot and push the pin through it to hold all the tubing and washers in place on the thole pin. I've never had one fail to hold.

  14. #14
    New member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Cheyenne, WY
    Posts
    14

    Default

    Attachment 37308Attachment 37309Thanks for the tip, I'm gonna try a lynch pin. I found I needed a socket to tighten the NRS pins tonight and do not want to add that to my burgeoning gear pile next month for the flight into the Brooks Range. The 12" pin seems like it just barely gets me high enough. I was hitting my knees with the 9" pin on the return stroke. At this point, I'm not thrilled about the alternative option of devising a different (lower) seat than the cooler. From all I've seen, I assume I have these rigged right? (I've used sleeves in the past, this raft came used with pins)

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •