Frequently Asked Questions
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Leathering a pair of oars is not as difficult as one may
think. With the aid of sharp hand plane and tack hammer, together with a little
skill, a professional looking result can easily be archived. Every boatbuilder
or shipwright will have their own particular way, but all follow these basic
steps in attaching the leather to the oars.
First the leather needs to be skived which involves feathering out the edges so there is no step or ridge. Place the leather on the edge of a flat surface and using the plane carefully par down the underside edge on all 4 sides to an angle about 25o. Care needs to be taken not to break through on to the top side as it will be seen when in place. The leather now needs to be submerged overnight in water to help soften it so that it can be stretched tight onto the oar.
Wrap the leather round the oar, lining the join with the flat of the blade. Starting on the opposite side of the join, insert a copper tack to each edge of the leather locating it in position and square on the oar. Stretching each side round the oar, insert another two tacks in each edge at 90o form the first tack. Stretching it round further, the leather will now overlap where it is to be joined. Pulling it as tight as possible insert the copper tacks through both layers working across the join but maintaining the tension as you go. Leaving it overnight to dry and harden off, a clear boot polish can then be applied, after which it will not only be ready for use but look traditional as well.