Substitute for oar leathers

I'm having fun making a set of 8-foot oars for my Northeaster Dory. I've used some lumber from Home Depot and the basic Pete Culler design and can now see that I will at least get a pair of oars out of it. They could even be good oars, but time will tell about that.

Anyway, once I finish the boat, I'm looking forward to trying out these oars and I've never owned (or used) any oars except ones with pins through them. So I'm wondering what is the function of the leathers? To cushion and protect the wood? To make things quieter? Something else? And that brings up a second question, can I use some vinyl-covered canvas that I have left over from building my skin-on-frame kayaks to serve as leathers? I know that the purists among you might be outraged at this rejection of tradition, but still . . . would it work?

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RE: Substitute for oar leathers

Well, try it, and if the stuff falls apart, do it over with real leather.

BTW, exactly what wood did you use form Home Depot?  I am thinking of making a set of oars, too, but nice spruce or cypress from a specialty lumberyard in my area would cost almost as much as a finished pair of oars...


RE: Substitute for oar leathers

   I used #1 pine--very clear with only a couple of small knots. I think I spent $21 for two 2x2x8's and one 2x4x8. So at least the oars will be cost-effective.

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