The oars in their raw state awaiting the attention of spokeshave and planes
 
Engines are all very well and undoubtedly useful when they're needed, but there is nothing quite like rowing a small sailing boat on a fine day. So when a customer, who is taking one of the boats we have built on a "raid" later this month, approached me and asked for a pair of substantial oars that would be up to the challenge of five days of constant action, I was delighted to oblige.
The result is a pair of hand-made oars of Douglas fir with oak inserts and mahogany tips that should pull his 18-foot double-ended gaff cutter through Scotland's Great Glen in style.
The oars were made by hand, using hand tools only, and the looms were rounded using planes and spokeshaves, not a lathe. They were finished off by being coated in in Deks Olje. It all might be a little more time-consuming but the results from this traditional method are unique and delightful.
The oars also match the mast and boom of the boat itself, so the combination should be easy on the eye as well as easy on the environment.
Now all he has to do is to pull them into what is sure to be a headwind - unless he can find a galley slave to do it for him while he stands at the tiller banging a drum. For the slave's sake I just hope he doesn't want to go water-skiing....

The new oars are much longer than ones we usually make