Make a Chair From an Oar

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Project by Woodbridge posted 05-02-2016 02:30 AM 2147 views 4 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It has been a while since I have posted a new project. My wife and I are have decided to move from the city and build a new home on the shores of Georgian Bay, Ontario so my focus for the next year or so will be on building the home. Of course the new home will include a larger workshop!

These two oar chairs were the last projects I completed in 2015. They were built for a woodworking article that has just been published in the June 2016 edition of the Woodworkers Journal.

Along with the article you can also watch my first woodworking video, provided as an on-line extra for the article, on getting started with marquetry. Of course I have a lot to learn about marquetry compared to many of the experts on this forum. My new workshop will have room for a Chevalet, which will also necessitate to a trip to Victoria for some expert traning on its use.

The oars for these chairs were about 100 years old and were used on a boat to ferry people to and from the Toronto Islands. They are approximately 100 years old and were purchased from a collectibles dealer. They are a softwood. As much as possible I left the original colour and patina in place. The seats are made from cherry which was lightly stained to match the colour of the oars. The two forn legs were cut from the handle of the oar. The back legs from a piece of ash. The back leg assembly is joined to the seat using a hip joint: the same type of joint used to construct a Maloof rocker.

The blade of the oars are decorated with lighthouse themed marquetry panel. The tops of the blades reflect the wear that each blade was subject to.

The first marquetry panel is the Gibraltar Point Lighthouse located on the Toronto Islands. Started in 1808 it is the oldest surviving lighthouse in the great lakes. .

The second is the light house at Peggy's Cove Nova Scotia and is an iconic Canadian image.

I have built a previous oar chair

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

8 comments so far

View shipwright's profile


7992 posts in 2820 days

#1 posted 05-02-2016 02:55 AM

Very nice work Peter.
It is hard to top your first one though because if the signifigance of the oar you used in it. I like your lighthouses too.
I have seen the one at Peggy’s Cove but not the other …... and I am determined to see a traboccho next fall.
Maybe I’ll have to rent a boat and sail in the Toronto Islands to score the trifecta. :-)
Your marquetry is good already but a chevalet will make a big difference and it would be great to see you out this way for any reason.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View DocSavage45's profile


8587 posts in 2864 days

#2 posted 05-02-2016 03:05 AM


Your an author and a You Tube star! Did you have an outline, script, or did you wing it? Thanks for posting !

Definitely and art chair!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Woodbridge's profile


3548 posts in 2440 days

#3 posted 05-02-2016 03:12 AM

Thanks Paul. I will get out there. My wife loves Victoria.

Tom, I did create an outline and a loose scrip which got better with each take. The delivery is pretty stiff. I wonder if Stumpy Nubs has a woodworking video acting course? I could use it.

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

View DocSavage45's profile


8587 posts in 2864 days

#4 posted 05-02-2016 03:20 AM


LOL! My friend CharlieK is doing interviews of woodworkers. When he started out he had a lot of “ugh” pauses. He has really relaxed, and his editing has gotten better.

I tend to be too spontaneous, talk too much, and I can’t believe I’m mumbling like tthat. LOL! Self conscious,? You bet!

If you continue you will get better just like with your carving.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View kiefer's profile


5619 posts in 2689 days

#5 posted 05-02-2016 03:35 AM

Nice work Peter!
Nice to see your work published and I would call these two Canadian Heritage Chairs .


-- Kiefer

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#6 posted 05-02-2016 01:40 PM

Totally unique,nice work.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Mean_Dean's profile


6553 posts in 3169 days

#7 posted 05-02-2016 11:38 PM

Those are pretty cool chairs! I love the reuse of the oars, and the marquetry is very good! Definitely the perfect chairs for a beach house!

-- Dean -- "Don't give up the ship -- fight her 'till she sinks!" Capt James Lawrence USN

View Woodbridge's profile


3548 posts in 2440 days

#8 posted 05-03-2016 12:02 AM

Dean, Jim, Klaus thanks very much for you kind comments. I’ve managed to collect 5 more oars and have them in my shed for future oar chair projects..

-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario

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