Took my boat out onthe John Day from Spray to Service Creek Friday. It was a good trip and She behaved herself and handled like a Lady. Back in Feb. I had neck fusion surgery, and am still recovering from the loss of strength I had in my right arm. by the end of the trip ( 4 1/2 hours ) my arms were beat. This info, leads to my question.
Imagine an oar as a lever, with the oar lock as the fulcrum point. When I hang 5 -16oz sinkers off of the handle, just below the grip, the oar becomes balanced. How much "blade" weight do I need or want? I'm thinking of wrapping the oars just below the grip with pencil lead to balance them out, but am unsure how much to put on them. Any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated.
Regarding the oar formulas, I have a 18x54 highsided boat that is 86 inches (yes 86) at the oarlocks which comes out to be a 12 foot oar; however I use a 9 1/2 foot laminated fir Sawyer and it moves that particular hull around fully loaded in technical class 3-4 water with ease.
I also have a 16x48 standard sided (64 inches between the oarlocks) Don Hill boat and the formula comes out to be a 9 foot oar; and I use an 8 foot oar, works really good.
With time, you will come to realize moving a boat is really all about the 'angle of the dangle' (hull angle vs. the current angle under your boat). Eventually the need for the biggest blade and the newest 'do dad' will go away. There are hundreds of oar system set-ups, opinions and techniques. If your goal is to row efficiently and effortlessly then there are only about 3 ways (opinion) to set up your boat based on what you are doing with it.
Just experiment and test different lengths of oars, oarlocks, seat heights, distance of oarlocks forward of oarsman seat, types of oars (yours look homemade? nice job), etc. and you will eventually find what works without finishing the day with aching muscles. There is a basic science to it, but after that you have to tweak it for your individual needs, abilities and style...
By the looks of the photos I have seen of your boat, your oars might be too long for that boat (unless the camera lens is distorting the photo). In this situation, the length of the oar relative to the oarlock (pivot point) is making the oar in your hand too heavy. (other oar designs may be the right length but the blades are too heavy, then maybe needing a counter balance, or just get a better fitting oar).
I couldn't tell you an exact weight, but overall the blade side of the oar when in the oarlock needs to be just a little heavier than the grip / handle. Why? I'm not really sure, maybe so when you let go it slides into the water and rests against the stopper for convenience. Or so it does not slide the other way and inconveniently take out the family jewels...