We take quality seriously. Every member of our production team is an inspector and has the authority to reject a component or finished oar if it is not within our specifications. If an oar or an oar component doesn’t meet our standards, it doesn’t leave the shop. We also have some pretty severe strength tests in place. We have learned that it is better to break the parts rather than the completed oar…and it is better to break the oar in the shop than on the water.
Here are just a few of the ways we ensure oar quality.
Shafts and Blades
These two major components are molded at our factory in Morrisville. The carbon material is precisely prepared using a computer controlled cutting table and assembled into predetermined patterns that are inspected prior to molding. All molded parts are labeled with the name of the person who made the part, the date it was made, and other information to help identify the part.
Every shaft is tested for strength and stiffness on a device that applies far more force than the shaft will see in the field. The shaft is then labeled with the result of the stiffness test.
The molded blade “blank” is visually inspected for surface defects before it is cut into the desired shape on our computer controlled router. Once cut to shape, it takes a turn on the “Blade Terminator,” which tests for structural defects. We then measure the blade at three points to assure the orientation and curvature will be precise when it is bonded to the shaft.
During assembly the blade is bonded to the shaft, and the sleeve, handle and grip are installed on the oar. After adhesives have cured, the oar heads to the “Morrisville Monster” to undergo a final test of all components and attachments. The Monster puts more load on an oar than would be seen under normal rowing conditions.
Each assembled oar is then tested for leaks to ensure that no holes or loose bonds are present and that your oars will stay dry inside.
After assembly, all oars that survive the Morrisville Monster move onto final inspection. At this point, final measurements of pitch, length, inboard and blade orientation are confirmed.
The inspector is responsible for all the inspection points listed above including visually inspecting all components of the finished oar to ensure there are no cosmetic defects. If the oar passes final inspection, we add the port and starboard markings and apply the final identification label that lists the oar specifications and serial number.