Quite often a client will ask for a full length oar to be sectioned. This can help with shipping and storage, or it could simply offer more options for display if space is limited at the current time.
The common way to achieve this is to install a plug of some type in to the oar shaft. Most timber oars are actually hollow (unless you have a very old one!) and you can fashion some timber to match this space. Modern carbon fibre oars are simple tubes and a tapered round plug is easily shaped.
Most of the time the cavity is a regular shape. The Sutton oars (very common in the UK) have a nice neat square hole that makes creating a section join quite easy. Some of the common Australian oars (Croker and Sykes) had a curved arch shaped cavity due to their method of construction (two matched halves with a back strap instead of the Sutton 4-sided box).
Here is an example of one join:
However, what do you do when you saw an old oar in half and you are presented with this?
There is a central rib, presumably designed to provide stiffness, that divides the cavity. This was going to make work a bit more difficult. By chance I met an old oar maker after this who had started work at Aylings in 1963 (as a 14 year old) and remembered this old design well (right down to the leather sleeve and cast aluminium button).
Using two thin strips, I fashioned up some ‘D’ shapes and repeatedly trial fit them until all was well. Once I was happy I bonded the pieces into the handle end. The finished result isn’t as neat as the much simpler Sutton example above, but has come together rather well.
I hope the customer is pleased when he gets it!