So after 30 years I was determined to restore these beauties to their former glory. I stripped them down to bare wood and sanded with progressively finer and finer sand paper until they were as virgin as the day they were made. I then began laying on the many coats of varnish.
One day while I was busy in my labors I heard a voice down dock say "Now there's a man with far too much time on his hands, varnishing his paddles!" I looked up to see Captain Mike having a good chuckle. I picked up one of the oars and walked up to him and said "This is a Shaw Tenney oar, made in Maine, the oldest oar making company in the good old USofA" I think I also mention that they've been making oars since the 18 somethings and yes they make paddles too. Captain Mike got all flustered, because being a professional captain and all, he didn't like to be reminded that an oar is not a paddle. I really wasn't trying to call him on that point, I just wanted to let him see for himself up close what exceptional craftsmanship these Shaw Tenneys were. I also said that refinishing these oars was well worth it because a new pair would be hundreds of dollars. I understand that many people would not go through the trouble of refinishing, just use them till they broke and replace them with a cheap pair of ours from the local marine store... but then they would deprive themselves the pure joy and pleasure of pulling a boat through the water in the evening with the setting sun glistening off the shining surface of your exquisitely crafted, you got it, oars.