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Oar Rope Wrapping Guide

Warning: Wrapping oars is not easy. Please read through all the instructions before you start. Feel free to call us at 541-535-3606 during business hours (Monday thru Friday 8:00AM - 4:00PM PST) if you have any questions or do not understand the process.

  1. Determine the area to be rope wrapped. A rough rule of thumb is that two-thirds of the oar should be outboard of the oarlock or clip and one-third inboard. Some other things to consider: distance between oarlocks, height of oarlocks above water line, seat height and position as well as rowing styles.
  2. Every inch of wrap uses 3-4 feet of 3/16” diam. rope, depending on the diameter of the oar. Wrap zones of 20-24 inches will use 80+ feet of rope.
  3. Before you start you will need to take a 2 foot length of rope and tie the ends together making a closed loop of rope. You will also need a heavy hammer and a block of wood. The oar can be wrapped with or without glue under the rope. If you plan to wrap over epoxy or other glue, mask off area to wrap and spread the glue. Sticky stuff under the wrap is good insurance for the longevity of your wrap, but it makes the wrapping process much harder.
  4. Starting at the handle end of the oar wrap zone, tape or hold down the first 2 inches of rope on the shaft. Make a sharp 90° bend (perpendicular to the shaft) and then wrap the first wrap over the top of it, entrapping the rope to the oar. It is important that this first wrap is very tight. One, or better yet two, helpers (i.e. oar turners) are required, although some have claimed to be able to wrap oars single handedly. The rope needs to be kept taught (stretched) at all times.
  5. Proceed spiraling the rope down the shaft, keeping the wraps tight together, until you are about 6 inches from your predetermined end point. At this point you need to slip the 2 foot loop of rope under the next wrap. A little more than half of the loop should be laid down on the shaft so that it can be wrapped over. Continue wrapping, stopping while at least an inch or so of the loop is still free.
  6. At this point, cut the rope so that an inch of the rope can be tucked through the loop and forcefully pulled back under the wrap in the step above. Do not loosen tension at any time during the wrap - especially now! Hold tight to the bitter end until it is entrapped and pulled under the wrap.
  7. Next place the wood block in the other end of the loop (this loop end should be coming out of the wrap approximately 6 inches from the end of the wrap.) With the handle end of the oar against something solid, take your hammer (sledge hammers work well) and drive the block towards the handle, which will in turn pull the loop out from under the rope wrapping. The loop should entrap the bitter end and pull it under the wrap where it should be firmly held. The loop, after pulling the bitter end some two or three inches under the wrap, should come free and be easily driven out from under the wrap. If a gap remains at the exit point of the loop, you can use your hammer (claw end works well) to lightly rearrange the wrap to close this gap and others that you might have.
  8. If using rubber stops, they go on easiest when warm (very hot water works well, or toss them out on the pavement on a hot day.) Start at the handle end. Put the stop over the grip. Pull down on the outermost surface of the rubber stop. The idea is to turn the donut inside out, flopping down the shaft every time you "skin the cat." Final adjustment can be made by brute force, moving the stop an eighth of an inch at a time, working around the shaft. Gripping the stop takes a little practice. Try locking your fingers forming a circle with your hands. Catch the outside of the rubber donut with the heel of your palms; pull down hard. Make sure the oar blade is against a firm stop. Obviously, sticky palms work best, so you'll need to wash off that sun screen if out on the water.

Now get out there and enjoy! TEAM SAWYER