Types of Oars


Oars were originally made of timber - usually spruce with an ash stiff back (the shafts were hollow). Nowadays, oars are generally made of carbon fibre.

Rowing oars (sweep oars) are much longer than sculling oars (sculls) - the photo at left shows a rowing oar on the left and a sculling oar on the right.

Rowers usually call the oars "blades".

Modern oars have many options, including the overall length, the type of spoon (the painted part at the end of the oar - i.e. the part that goes in the water), the type of handle (adjustable length, diameter, material, etc), the position of the sleeve and button (the leverage point of he oar), and the balance point.

Howard Croker has a great page on Blade design.

Various spoon shapes are shown at right - left to right they are:

  • a carbon oar with a ribless cleaver (called a "slick" or a "smoothie")

  • a carbon oar with a ribbed cleaver

  • a carbon oar with a standard spoon (called a Macon)

  • an old wooden spoon 


This diagram shows the parts of an oar

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