Building the Bouchie Dory – Part 34 – Making thole pins on the tablesaw

When my customer asked for thole pins on this boat I kind of groaned. My earlier experiences with the more traditional options for oarlocks were not great but upon reflection, I didn’t know a damn thing about rowing back then. I grew up in Ontario where we paddle, not row. If your boat doesn’t have paddles pushing it forward it probably has a water-skier trying to pull it backward. Either that or you’re just busy fishing.

I don’t get out rowing much but I have enough experience now that I can keep oars in place without them having to be nailed to the gunnels. 

When I took this boat for its test drive I was immediately sold on the thole pins. You can pop your oars in and out with one hand which is no small thing if you find yourself on a collision course with a dock or floating gin palace. They also add a distinctive old world character to the boat which frankly is pretty amazing given that it’s just a few sticks.

I have recently acquired a lathe but given how consistent those thole pins turned out, I would be very tempted to construct a better table-saw jig if I had to do this again. 

Jim Tolpin’s Tablesaw Magic book doesn’t have this sort of lathe jig in it but it is a great resource just the same. Unfortunately it’s out of print but you can still find used copies out there.

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