Tuesday, July 19, 2011


While there are things on board that can wait to be done like my overflowing project box. Then are somethings that are on the must do/ASAP list. Like repairing the oars for my Porta Boat dingy. I've mentioned before how I am really glad I purchased my Porta Boat dingy and am surprised that I don't see more of them on cruising sail boats. Mine has worked well for ten years despite the abuse I give it. That's ten years of folding and unfolding dragging it up on rocky Isle of Long beaches etc. So I should not have been surprised when heading back to the boat from a grocery trip one of the oars started to separate despite my gaffer tape fix of a few years ago. So after ten years in a salt water environment it was obviously time to fix the oar in a more permanent fashion.

The Porta Boat's lightweight  oars are made up of aluminum and plastic. They are also meant to be taken apart for easy storage:

What holds them together is a metal pin locking tab which several years ago rusted away hence my Gaffers Tape repair that held up for several years. I probably could have extended it's life rinsing the oars with fresh water from time to time but, like I said the dingy and the oars were not treated with kid gloves by me. So it goes.

The first step was to clean the oar pieces a little where they joined together:

I used some denatured alcohol and a 3M Scrubber pad to remove some of the tarnish on the pieces:

Since I never really took apart the oars in ten years as they were just thrown into the back of the car with the other pieces of the Porta Boat. I did not need to be concerned with ever taken them apart. I used some West System Gflex epoxy mixed with some low density filler smeared it around the oar pieces where they joined together and pushed them together. After the Epoxy cured I wrapped some more gaffers tape around the joint for good measure and to cover the hole where the pin use to be. The tape will help prevent water from getting inside the oar tubes through the locking pin hole:

I was thinking instead of using the gaffers tape I might have used some safety reflective tape instead. I would have served the same purpose but, might have provided a little more visibility when rowing through an anchorage at night. It certainly would not hurt.

CAPT. MIKE SIDE NOTE: I had an interesting discovery when using the Gflex Epoxy for this repair. I placed a scrap piece of plexiglass I had on board under the oar joint to catch any of the epoxy that leaked out of the joint. I found that the Gflex was stuck pretty tenaciously to the Plexiglass it dripped on. I also found that the epoxy also flexed rather well when I bent the plexiglass as shown below:

These properties of the Gflex epoxy gave me some ideas of using it on some future projects on board which I'll post about later.


Fixed Carbon said...

How did you get the two sections of the oars apart? Mine, aluminum like yours, have fused. Try as I might, they are stuck together. Thanks, Don

Capt. Mike said...


Well my oar came apart easily. Which is why I wanted to make the repair. If I were you I would try spraying some PB Blaster or WD 40 into the joint area and let it soak overnight. If they still would not budge I'd then use a heat gun on the outside tube to help break the corrosion bond. You might have to try this procedure few times to get results. But, I think it should work.