How to Hang Oars on a Wall

how to hang oars on a wall

How to Hang Oars On a Wall in 4 Steps

After hammering out 163 pairs of boat oar hooks, I have some tips and tricks for how to hang oars on a wall.

My name is Terran Marks and I’m the blacksmith at Brown County Forge. If you have an oar to hang, here’s how I would do it.

Step 1: Measure Your Oars to Find Your Hook Width

Oar Circumference - Brown County Forge
Measuring Circumference

Not all boat paddles are the same size so you’ll need hooks that will fit your particular oar.

The easiest way to measure your oars is to measure across the oar for a diameter measurement.

Using a ruler or tape measure, rest your measuring device on top of the oar.

Where the edges of the oar handle hit is your rough diameter.

That’s the measurement we’ll use to make the hook.

The most accurate way to measure your oars is to wrap a string one time around the oar handle to find the circumference.

Then, with a little math we can find the diameter and then the hook width.

Step 2: Research Hooks Online to Find Some that Will Fit

How to Hang Oars on a Wall - Brown County Forge 5

Now that you’re armed with your measurements, you can venture into the world of hooks and hangers online.

I’m consistently amazed at the variety of ways people have come up with to keep things off the ground.

No doubt there are many hooks out there that could do the trick for your oars.

Make sure they come with screws and that they’re the correct size and length.

You don’t want to have to run around to five hardware stores trying to find the right fasteners.

Now, it’s not my intention to try to hard-sell you on the ones I make.

They might not be your style or fit the price range you were thinking.

That’s completely okay.

I will say that I custom make them one at a time based on my customer’s measurements.

Read their reviews here.

All mounting hardware is included and they ship directly to your door.

Step 3: Your Hooks Have Arrived. Now Let’s Hang Them!

Oar Hooks - Brown County Forge

For the most secure mount, you will want to screw your hooks into studs.

Depending on the construction of your home, your wall studs will be either 16 inches on-center or 20 inches on-center. That just means that every 16 inches (or 20), you will hit the center of a wooden stud.

Using a stud finder is a safe bet to be sure you’re mounting into solid wood.

That last thing you want is to mount your hooks in plain drywall and risk your heavy oar coming crashing down.

I recommend drilling pilot holes first to make it easier to place your screws when it’s time.

Before you drill ANY holes, make sure your two hole heights from the floor match! Unless you want your oar to tilt, it’s best to use a tape measure to measure from the floor up to your desired oar mount height.

Mark lightly with a pencil. Then drill your pilot holes.

Step 4: Slide that Beautiful Oar Into Your Hooks

Brass Oar Hooks - Brown County Forge

And that’s how to hang oars on a wall in 4 simple steps!

Now you can enjoy your securely mounted oars for years to come.

Maybe your oar is from your college days of rowing crew.

Maybe it’s an antique store find.

Or maybe it’s an authentic gondola oar from Venice to remind you of your honeymoon!

No matter the size, weight, or length, there’s a custom pair of oar hooks waiting to be made for you.

Brown County Forge’s Oar Hooks

Throughout this post, you’ve seen examples of the oar hooks I make. From the bright brass just above to the standard blacksmith steel at the very top, each pair can be custom-fitted to any size oar.

Our most popular are the steel ones coated in beeswax. They come in 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3 inches, and larger if you need it.

Most oars will fit in 2.5 inches and below.

All steel sizes up to 3 inches are $49 per pair with free shipping in the U.S.

If you’re more interested in brass, they range from $32 to $38 per pair.

The material is thinner, but plenty strong and they really add a nice accent to your home.

I’m Happy to Answer Any Questions

I’m always happy to answer questions about hardware and hooks.

I can be reached easily in two places, the best being email:


Forging Knives with Chef-Owner Red Barn Kitchen

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge

Dagan Stocks, the chef-owner of Red Barn Kitchen (Decatur, Illinois) made the trip to the shop today to forge his first knife.

As a long-time professional chef, Mr. Stocks has used many knives over the years. He also has a good-sized personal collection.

During the class, we geeked out a bit over Bob Kramer’s Meteorite Knives while I showed Stocks how to forge steel the old-fashioned way.

First Time Forging – Excellent Results

I’ve had a few professional knife wielders and collectors in the shop over the years. They consistently do a great job.

I think using and studying a tool for a long time makes it easier to forge.

With over 530 student projects at the shop over the years, having manual dexterity and heat tolerance help, too.

An Epic Gift

Red Barn Kitchen - Brown County Forge

Mr. Stocks didn’t end up at Brown County Forge by chance.

His wife set up a weekday knife class for him some months back.

After solving some scheduling issues, we were able to make it happen.

Putting the Knife to Use for Red Barn Kitchen

Stocks plans to use the knife to section some hogs for the restaurant.

The pork will be sliced into the cuts he needs for his barbecue entrees.

Is it sharp enough, you might ask?

Yes, it is. He took his time grinding in the bevel and hand filing to get it sharp enough to slice.

He’ll be using his personal whetstones to put the final edge on it.

Is forged steel food-safe?

Absolutely! Your kitchen knives at home are made out of steel.

Granted, very few of you will have forged blades, but steel is a great choice for cutlery.

It’s durable, easily cleanable, and won’t transfer food particles like porous plastics.

Red Barn Kitchen - Decatur Illinois - Brown County Forge 3

More Info on Red Barn Kitchen

To experience their farm-to-table comfort food, craft cocktails, and a huge selection of whiskeys go to:

910 S. Airport Rd.

Decatur, IL 62521


Thanks for making the drive to Brown County Forge!

5 Things To Do In Southern Indiana

Things to Do in Southern Indiana - Brown County Forge

As a native, here are my top 5 things to do in southern Indiana.

First, a little background on me:

  • I grew up in Brown County, easily one of the most beautiful parts of the state. (It’s pictured above.)
  • I’ve traveled around the world and decided to come back to Indiana to live on purpose.
  • Vacations that involve sitting on a beach for hours or never leaving a hotel room sound awful. (No judgment, just personal preference.) So you won’t find recommendations like that here. Besides, Indiana doesn’t have much of a coastline.

5 Things to Do In Southern Indiana

5. Go hiking

Southern Indiana is home to thousands of acres of woods from the Hoosier National Forest to Brown County State Park on down to Clifty Falls and New Harmony State Park.

My personal favorites for hikes close to Bloomington are:

All of our state parks and national forests are historic. You’ll find CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) era structures, steps, and bridges in many of them.

4. Explore Some Historic Architecture

Things to Do in Southern indiana 2 - Brown County Forge
New Harmony, Indiana

Indiana has been a state for a long, long time (since 1816).

We’ve had a lot of time to build things in those 200+ years.

Most of the original log cabins are gone, but some of the buildings built out of sturdier stuff are still here.

West Baden Springs Hotel is one of them. It was built over 100 years ago and was once referred to as the “Eighth Wonder of the World.”

Not bad for a small town with a funny name. (French Lick, IN)

If you’re more interested in the rustic side and pioneer life, New Harmony is worth a trip.

I spent many Spring Breaks there as a kid, learning about early settlers and enjoying the peace and quiet.

3. Do A Self-Guided Eating Tour of Bloomington’s Fourth Street

Rainbow Bakery - Bloomington Indiana

Bloomington isn’t just a college town, but it definitely benefits from having Indiana University in it.

The city has become a cultural melting pot of people from many different nations around the world.

I love getting to know different people and I especially enjoy eating food with them.

If I’m ever looking for a food-based adventure, all I need to do is start at one end of 4th Street and eat my way to the other end.

Along the way I’ll hit everything from Tibetan to Creole to vegan donuts. (As a non-vegan I put them up there with the best of ALL donuts.)

If you run out of options on 4th Street, you’re still right in one of the densest pockets of amazing food in the entire state.

A quick Google Maps search will show you a full list of microbreweries, Afghan food, traditional Irish fare, and a lot more.

2. Take an Art Class

If you enjoy laughing, painting, and sharing a little bit of wine, Bloomington’s Wine and Canvas classes might be a good choice.

You don’t need to have an art background to make something fun that looks good. And the people there are bound to be good company.

Not technically an art class, but the Sculpture Trail in Solsberry is an open museum of metal arts. (Fair Warning: The video below contains heavy metal music. I’m more of a Sinatra guy myself so feel free to keep it on silent.)

Pretty. Freaking. Cool. =]

1. Make It All One Epic Trip

There’s no shortage of awesome, interesting things to do in southern Indiana.

We didn’t even touch on the Madison Regatta (like super-fast boats?) or the historic houses down there by the Ohio.

If you’re from out of town, add all of these things together and throw in a dash of spontaneity and you’ve got yourself quite a trip.

If you’re from here, hopefully you got some new ideas from this article.

Gone are the days of just sitting around waiting for something to happen.

It’s time to get into it and Enjoy!

How to Become a Blacksmith

How to Become a Blacksmith - Brown County Forge

Have you ever wondered about how to become a blacksmith?

In this post, we’ll talk about what it was like “back then” and compare it to what it’s like now.

How to Become a Blacksmith “Back Then”

If we were living 150 years ago, you could become a blacksmith’s apprentice before turning 10 years-old.

The blacksmith would likely be just down the street in your small town so you would know him or your parents would.

Your job as an apprentice would involve these daily tasks:

  • Keeping the shop organized and clean.
  • Starting the forge fire and operating the bellows.
  • Fetching water.
  • Shoveling coal.
  • Learning the trade through simple, repetitive projects like making nails.

Your decision to become a blacksmith wouldn’t necessarily have been yours to make and you wouldn’t necessarily love it.

But you would be in it for the long haul as most trades relied on the apprenticeship to journeyman to master path.

How to Become a Blacksmith Now

The process for becoming a blacksmith is quite a bit different in the 21st Century.

The demand for blacksmiths is drastically lower due to our advancements in machine technology.

What was once made by a blacksmith can more quickly and more precisely be made by a machine.

The one exception: Shoeing horses still requires a human blacksmith. There are no robot farriers. For this reason, becoming a farrier is one of your best bets for a steady income as a blacksmith.

Farrier Work

To become a farrier or horseshoer, it’s recommended that you do formal training.

There are multiple farrier schools across the country that specialize in getting people up to speed with horseshoeing.

Here’s a good resource for Farrier Schools:

U.S. Farrier Schools

Let’s look at one school to get an idea of time commitment and cost.

The Arkansas Horseshoeing School offers:

  • 8-Week Course: $6,900
  • 12-Week Course: $7,900
  • 16-Week Course: $8,900
  • 24-Week Course: $15,900

Comparing costs for a college degree from the University of Arkansas, you’re looking at $35,280 (in-state) $92,672 (out of state).

The benefits of going to horseshoeing school are spending a lot less money and walking away with the training you need to start earning money after a few weeks versus a few years.

Maybe you’re not interested in doing farrier work, though.

If you’re looking at traditional blacksmithing, knife making, etc. we’ll talk about those next.

Traditional Blacksmith Work

Becoming a successful, professional blacksmith in the traditional sense is much harder than farrier work.

Since these skills aren’t in demand, you need to spend a lot of time networking, marketing, and finding a specialty within blacksmithing to focus on.

To get a broad base of blacksmithing skills, there are classes and blacksmith schools in almost every U.S. state.

The Blacksmith School Map is a good resource for finding what classes are available near you.

Personal Story:

I learned how to forge at a school in western North Carolina called The John C. Campbell Folk School.

I was fortunate to be accepted into one of their 9-week Work/Study programs that allowed me to:

  • Enroll in three weeks of blacksmithing classes at no charge.
  • Live on their campus for free.

In exchange, I worked with other work/study students to keep the grounds and garden in good shape and welcome regular students each week.

My only expenses while I was there involved class materials costs. Thankfully, steel is relatively cheap and they have a large scrap bin that can be used for experimenting.

I was taught by extremely talented professional blacksmiths in each of my three classes and came away with a great foundation to get started on my own.

How to Become a Blacksmith in 3 Steps

  1. Find a school or classes near you that teach the skills you want to learn.
  2. If you can’t afford the tuition, they often offer financial assistance.
  3. Absorb as much information as you can while you’re there. Ask questions. Most blacksmiths are happy to share their knowledge.

After taking the time to learn from people with experience, you’ll be in a better position to get started.

At that point, you might begin your research into where to buy forges, anvils, hammers, and tongs.

If you’re already there, you might find these articles helpful:

Where to Buy Anvils

Where to Buy Forges

Buying Hammers

I’m Here to Help!

If you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email.

How Much Do Blacksmith Classes Cost?

How Much Do Blacksmith Classes Cost - Brown County Forge - Terran Marks the Blacksmith

Ready to dive into blacksmithing, but aren’t sure about how much blacksmith classes cost?

If you’re searching the Internet for classes near you, you might have a hard time finding class pricing.

Since Brown County Forge is in Indiana, I’ll use Indiana class offerings as the example.

Four Options for Blacksmith Classes in Indiana

There are four main options for blacksmith classes in Indiana, each with a different pricing structure and availability:

  • Conner Prairie
  • Indianapolis Arts Center
  • Indiana Blacksmithing Association
  • Brown County Forge

Conner Prairie offers a few single-day blacksmithing classes per year that last from 9 AM – 5 PM for $225-$235.

The Indianapolis Arts Center offers 8-week classes during the summer for $389 per person. Each class session is 3 hours long in the evening from 6:30 – 9:30 PM.

The Indiana Blacksmithing Association (IBA) is a not for profit organization started in 1981 “with the purposes of gathering and disseminating information about blacksmithing, exposing the public to blacksmithing, and encouraging the training of blacksmiths.”

The IBA holds meet-ups once a month at different locations around the state. During these meet-ups there will be a live demonstration and opportunities to swing hammers at no charge. Membership is $35 per year paid in June.

There are 14 IBA satellite groups around the state of Indiana.

Brown County Forge offers classes every weekend that range in price from $120 for a 3-hour Beginners Class to $220 for a 4-hour Railroad Spike Knife Making Class.

Because I focus solely on blacksmithing classes and there’s no coordination of locations, supplies, and demonstrators, I can offer classes this often.

The benefit to you is that you have the opportunity each week to learn more about blacksmithing. Even if a given weekend’s classes are full, you can always request an evening appointment.

The Price Range By the Numbers

  • Conner Prairie – $235/person for 8 hour day a few times per year
  • Indianapolis Arts Center – $389 over 8 weeks for 3 hours per session. A few offerings per year.
  • Indiana Blacksmithing Association – $35 for annual membership. Meet-ups once a month near you with 14 groups around the state.
  • Brown County Forge – $120-$220 for 3-4 hours every weekend and by appointment.

Why Does a Blacksmith Class Cost More Than $100

I can only speak from my personal experience running a business, but I would imagine that the following holds true for other organizations.

The price of a class includes these factors:

  • Materials – From the steel we hammer to the fuel we use to the consumables like wire brushes and grinding belts. Everything has a cost.
  • Overhead – I rent my shop space from a larger business to be able to host classes.
  • Liability Insurance – In order to keep everyone safe and covered, I carry $1,000,000 in liability insurance.
  • Expertise – There is value in learning from people who have extensively studied their field and put it into practice.

Here to Help!

I hope this post helps answer some questions about blacksmith class pricing. If you have other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me: