Shaw and Tenney - Maine Crafted Since 1858

Shaw & Tenney Blog

Rowing a Canoe
Friday, January 25, 2019

One of the questions we get fairly often is "can I set up my canoe for rowing?" The simple answer is yes.  Rowing canoes is not a new concept and companies have been making outriggers, rowing seats and even forward rowing contraptions for them for over 100 years.  The fact is, canoes make for a great rowing craft and with a very simple

Shaw & Tenney Whitehall wooden rowing boat
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Selecting the right oar for your particular boat and rowing style will significantly enhance your rowing experience.  Did you know spoon blade oars are approximately 20% more efficient than flat blade oars. That efficiency however is only useful if the hull configuration of the boat will benefit from it.  Learn more about our hand made wooden oars and selecting the correct oar style for your boat inside.

Wooden boat hook handmade
Wednesday, November 22, 2017

One of the unique products that we make are traditional wooden boat hooks. Shaw & Tenney has been handcrafting wooden boat hooks since former owner Paul Reagan discovered a beautiful antique wooden boat hook on his Sam Crocker designed motorsailer in the 1960’s. Since then they have become a popular item that matches our DNA perfectly.

Shaw & Tenney receives award
Thursday, October 19, 2017

First, we’re proud to announce that the Maine Wood Products Association (MWPA) has awarded Shaw & Tenney the annual Pine Cone Award in recognition of continued investment in Maine and innovation in the manufacturing and marketing of Maine wood products.

Friday, September 15, 2017

One of the most common questions we get from customers is what kind of wood should I have my paddle or oar made from? The fact is we offer a variety of hardwoods (8 species) as well as spruce for our paddles and oars. There are unique benefits, characteristics and limitations to each wood species for both paddle and oar making.


How to Size Your Oars

To determine the correct length oar for your boat measure the distance between the port and starboard oar sockets. Then apply the Shaw and Tenney oar length formula to determine the oar length that will provide the correct 7:18 leverage ratio. This length will provide an oar where 7/25 the length is inboard of the oarlocks and 18/25 of the oar is outboard of the oarlocks. It is the ideal ratio to row almost all boats. Sized correctly, when rowing your hands will be 1 to 3 inches apart and you will be pulling directly towards your abdomen. If you are popping out of your oarlocks when rowing your oars are far too short. If you prefer an overlapping grip, add 6” to the calculated oar length. If you have more than one rowing station in your boat, measure both. Typically they will require two different length oars which is fine if you’re going to be rowing tandem and need two sets. Otherwise you’ll need to compromise the correct length to work properly in both stations. If you are rowing more than 75% in one station size the oar to that length. As always feel free to call us and were happy to help you select the correct oar length and blade style for your boat.

The Original Shaw & Tenney Oar Length Formula

To help our customers size their oars correctly, we’ve been using the same formula since 1858: Measure the distance between the center of the port and starboard oar sockets, which hold the oar locks on each gunnel. This is called the “span” between the oarlocks. Divide the span by 2, and then add 2 to this number. The result is called the “inboard loom length” of the oar. Multiply the loom length by 25, and then divide that number by 7. The result is the proper oar length in inches. Round up or down to the closest 6” increment.

How to Size Your Paddle

For traditional wooden paddles the ideal length for the Stern paddler is the bridge of your nose or 6 inches less than your height. For the bow paddler the paddle reaching the cleft of your chin or 9 inches less than your height is correct.

For our Racine paddle if you are over 5’6” tall select the 63-1/2” length and the shorter paddle if you are under5’-6”tall.

When paddling solo we typically recommend a bow length paddle. For Canadian style solo most paddlers prefer an even shorter paddle.

For paddling canoes when standing (yes our mother let us do this) a 69 inch or 72 inch paddle is usually about right.

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