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    I am just stripping back my very neglected oars to bare wood. The intention is to have refinished everything by spring for first sea outing so I need to get up to speed on finishes for GRP , centreboards et al. Oars first though so can still sail on local pond for next couple of months! The old varnish finish was flaking off it was so bad. The wood is some sort of close grained softwood (Spruce maybe). The cuffs (is that the right term) are so well fitted I cannot get them off without cutting so they are staying. What is the most sensible way to finish the oars themselves? I have read that handles should not be varnished/painted as it causes blisters so I guess Tung oil above the cuffs? Below here varnish, epoxy or what? I did read epoxy cracks on oars?? Is that because they are a softer wood than rudders and centreboards or is it just plain wrong. The blades are showing some damage including hairline crack at tip. Would glass fibre strengthening be a god idea as seen on WIT pages for Centreboard or maybe just epoxy the tips edges? Views anyone?


    If the collars (cuffs) are plastic they will probably come free using a bit of heat to soften them, e.g. a towel soaked in boiling water, or a heat gun. I had to heat them to put them onto my oars.
    Mine have just been varnished and I haven’t had any problem with that. I don’t tend to row for hours and hours though.
    I would have thought that epoxy might not have the flex for use on oars, but that’s just speculation on my part.

    A glass-cloth bandage epoxied over the ends of the blades will help stop them splitting, and will protect them when you inevitably start using the oars to punt or fend off.

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