How To Take Care Of Boat Oars


Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

Table Of Contents

All of you who enjoy floating and fishing should read this.

A wooden dory was gifted to me last summer, and I've been refinishing it slowly and stupidly ever since. I've never done it before, and I find the procedure agonizingly slow. In the process, I have also learned a lot about wood, some of which have to do with sanding and varnishing. Many helpful techniques exist to make the procedure simpler. If you enjoy how a pair of worn-out wooden oars look and row, you may quickly restore them to their former glory. Let's see how to care for your boat oars.

Here's How:


1. Prepare your outside sanding workspace. It is advised that latex gloves and a respirator be used throughout the process: wrap handles and rope wraps in blue painter's tape to protect them.

2. For each oar, get two or three sheets of 60 and 120-grit sandpaper. You can use an orbital sander with a configurable speed for the blades. As it will result in flat patches, do not attempt to use this for the shaft. Use sandpaper for sanding the post manually. All you do is remove the varnish or protective layer from the wood. Sand the oar as much as possible in the direction of the wood's grain until it looks dull.

3. Use compressed air or canned air to blow away sawdust, then clean with denatured alcohol.

4. Cover with painter's tape any parts of the wooden oar, such as the handles or rope wraps, that you don't want to be stained.

5. The varnish will reveal several dust particles once it has dried if the room is dusty or unclean.


6. To access as much wood as possible between applications, spread out plastic drop cloths and support the oars at the VERY ends.

7. Using an oil-based stain here is optional and depends on your car's appearance. Make use of a paintbrush designed for oil-based coatings. Wait two hours for the stained oars to dry before applying more paint for a deeper finish. If you prefer the natural appearance, proceed directly to varnishing.

8. Before applying varnish, clean the brush with mineral spirits or paint thinner. To spread the varnish around and make cleaning the brush simpler after you're done, it also helps to lightly dunk the meeting in the paint thinner before you begin varnishing.


9. Use a brush to apply varnish, moving in a single direction. Remove any brush hairs, and check the bottom of the oars for any drips. Here, less is more. Don't strive for perfection. Varnish self-levels, thus overbrushing, will make it appear unappealing. Before adding a second layer, wait 24 hours. Before doing so, lightly sand the area using 220 grit sandpaper. Clean once more with denatured alcohol after blowing off. Repeat until you are happy with the appearance of the oar.

10. Wait 24 hours before catching any fish!