Preview: Advanced Rowing with Havilah Hawkins, Part 2 – The Unvarnished Truth about Ash Oars

*     *     * is a membership website with over 1,000 videos and articles on boat handling, repairs, maintenance, boat building, dream boats and more.

Sign up above to learn more, and get 10 of our best videos.

*     *     *

The proper oar explained. And who could do it better that Off Center Harbor guide Havilah Hawkins?

Get Free Videos Start Free Trial Members Sign In

Comments, Thoughts or Suggestions?

You can leave a comment or question for OCH and members below. Here are the comments so far…

Leave a Comment

13 Responses So Far to “Advanced Rowing with Havilah Hawkins, Part 2 – The Unvarnished Truth about Ash Oars

  • Avatar

    John Swansey says:

    I have been rowing boats nearly my whole life, including in competition, and thought I knew everything about it. Thanks for showing me how much I don’t know. Great vid. Would like to see more footage of rowing under way in different conditions.

    Here are my variations: when I’m rowing my dinghy a lot I occasionally switch to a hand-over-hand bicycle stroke alternating left and right. When there are two of us in the dinghy I sit on the stern thwart with my passenger in the bow and row facing forward with a “push” stroke, as I have only one set of oarlocks on the gunwale..

  • John Homer

    John Homer says:

    Great video… I have used Ash to make oars and they work great…but mostly here in the Adirondacks we use soft maple. I find the flexibility and durability much better than Ash for our use. Although Ash looks better under varnish in my opinion. Just my sawdust and shavings opinion…Cheers

  • Avatar

    Shane McGovern says:

    Awesome video as always, keep up the good work!! Love to see how Havilah makes the Oars!!

  • Avatar

    Jon Lenton says:

    Unfortunately, I had 6 large Ash trees sick with the Ash bore beetle. I cut them down and planked the lumber a year ago. I had wondered about making oars and paddles with it, now I know it is a good idea… winter in Kingston Ontario Canada will be more fun. Thanks

  • Avatar

    Dan Yuhas says:

    Thanks, Havilah!: I was always taught that white oak was preferred in ship building over red oak because the microscopic tubular structure of the red oak allowed water to travel far deeper into a part than those tubes in white oak which have little “dams”in their structure. My forester father never taught me about the structure of ash. Can you tell me whether ash (with no tar or paint protecting its end grain) shares the water penetration resistance reported in white oak?

    • Avatar

      John Werle says:

      White oak has its pores filled with tyloses which block water absorption. Red oak, and most other woods, including ash, don’t have them. Black locust also has tyloses and, if I recall correctly, iroko also has them.

  • Avatar

    Jim Tolpin says:

    Darn it, now I’ve got to make another set of oars to play around with! Good video.

  • Avatar

    Hey Greg!!! You still alive? Its great to hear from you. I hope all is well with you and yours.
    We’ll have to ketch up one of these days some how.

  • Avatar

    Dirk Faegre says:

    Good video and interesting philosophy on ash oars and rowing. However, I respectfully disagree (at least for me). There’s something too hard and brash about ash. Spruce however has a softness and warmth that imparts good feelings. The springiness (is that a word?) brings delight whilst coasting thru water. The feedback to the rower thru the spruce handle is just plain pleasurable. Hawkins is clearly on target about a few things that ash bring to the boat, but give me spruce any day. I’ll suffer a few inconveniences for the enchantment of spruce … oars so lite they practically float on their own — on the water and over the shoulder.
    Keep calm and row on. And keep dem videos comin’.

  • Avatar

    Oke Meyer says:

    Great video. Listening to Havilah about the ASH oar makes me wonder what will replace the ash since they are being devastated at such a fast rate. What a shame, it is one of my favorite woods to work with.

  • Avatar

    Conbert Benneck says:

    Havilah, thanks for teaching an old salt new tricks. One of the joys of being a sailor is you keep learning something new and improving your capabilities on every trip.. I thought I was a very competent rower until I saw this video.
    Thanks Havilah, for expanding my dinghy rowing know-how and horizon..

  • Avatar

    Greg Snead says:

    Great video Havilah, Good to see that you are still fooling around on the water.


Get Immediate Access, Plus
10 More of Our Best Videos

Your email is safe with us.
We'll NEVER share it, and we DON'T spam.

or …

Start Free Trial

Get Instant Access as a Member to the Entire Site

  • Access all 1000 videos/articles
  • No risk! Cancel anytime
  • Get a nice discount if you join