The oar construction gang are in the final stages of making the latest set of oars – and this involves needlework. First cut out a piece of 4mm leather, mark out & punch holes for the lacing, same number each side, then soak in water for a couple of days. The result is a soft & stretchy piece of leather which can be clamped to the oar and laced with strong waxed thread whilst still wet:
The soft leather has to be stretched around the oar, so that as it dries out & shrinks it is a tight fit. To do this, the lacing is pulled hard. Really hard:
and once all the lacing is done, tighten further by picking up each pair of stitches with a screwdriver & twisting tourniquet fashion:
Nothing subtle about this – an amazing amount of force can be applied without the leather breaking – far more than might be thought possible, to the extent that consistency of highness can be checked by the ‘twang’ each stitch makes when plucked. Once done, it’s left to dry out & shrink. Time for each oar – around 25 minutes to cut & punch the leather, 2 days to soak, an hour to fit, then a couple of days to dry out.
Theres some final painting & finishing off to do, but not long to wait now.