How much damage is too much?

I often get asked to repair oars in a wide variety of states. From minor scratches all the way to blades missing huge chunks. The common factor is a concerned rower or coach wondering how much damage is too much to contemplate doing a repair. From this people will also be wondering how much cost is actually worthwhile.

A new pair of sculls is £600-800, so repairing/renovating/restoring and older set can be great value.

If this was owned by a masters rower I might suggest buying a newer pair of second hand sculls (as well as a few tips on how to look after your kit) if any suitable ones were available. However, the answer for a club or school will be different.

For a club or school this badly damaged scull is part of a pair, which in turn is part of a set. That set is allocated to a particular skill or age level. In this case you can see that no one wanted to buy a new set for this very junior squad as the newest oars are not needed and would stand out amongst all the older ones. It’s also difficult to take a pair from the next level up, and so on, with any new oars going in at the ‘top’ of the fleet. Anything like this just messes things up along the way even if the cost of a new pair of oars isn’t a problem itself.

So in this circumstance you can see that one very sad looking old oar is actually worthy of doing some quite large repairs.

This school set had two badly damaged blades needing significant reconstruction that was well beyond the usual bottom corner repair. However, this set is now back in action in perfect working order (with new sleeves and grips) and once painted was in a perfect cosmetic state.

The repair was worth it when the bigger picture was seen.