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How-To Videos


Below you can view our instructions and videos guiding you through the installation of Gilman Grips (Indexing/Clocking, installation, and counterbalance), the removal of old oar handles, and compatibility with Sawyer, Cataract, Edge, Pro-Loks, and Carlisle. 

Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Check out our Youtube channel for an overview of our product!


Installation of Gilman Grips


In this one minute video we will show you how to easily install your GG counterbalance.


The rod will extend into the grip cylinder 3” but it will only screw into the last one inch of the cylinder.

Clamp one end of the steel rod into a vice or have someone hold the rod with large channel lock pliers or a pipe wrench.

Screw the rod all the way into the GG until it bottoms out leaving approximately 5-1⁄2” extending past the grip.

There will be some rust on the steel rod. This is normal and will not affect the performance of your GG.

Now you are ready to index and install your GG.


In this short, 2-minute video, we will show you how to properly index/clock your GG oar handle. This is a very important process. These directions must be followed or your hands will not be in the correct ergonomic position during your stroke.


1) Wrap a piece of 2” wide masking tape all the way around the oar shaft on the end where the grip will go.

2) You will be drawing 2 lines on the tape at center of the oar shaft on the top of the oar in step #3. The top of the oar will be directly in line with the 3⁄4” button hole at the blade end of the oar. You will use these 2 lines to index your GG to the top of the oar blade. All/any play or slop must be rotated out to find the top dead center for your indexing/clocking marks.

3) To find the center of the oar shaft place the oar with the blade on a flat surface. A flat floor should work fine. Shim up each side of the blade end of the oar (with something the same height like 2 books or 2 blocks) until the blade sits flat. Now place something flat like a book or block under the grip end of the oar shaft. This should raise the oar stop off the floor. Place anything that is about 1” on the book/block at the grip end of the oar to mark the center of the oar shaft on the tape at the button side of the oar shaft. Make a line with a ballpoint pen. Rotate the oar 180 degrees in either direction and repeat the line. Now you will have 2 lines very close together. Split the two lines and center the second clocking mark between the two lines. (If there is any movement in the oar blade at the button be sure to twist the movement out by twisting the oar shaft in opposite directions before drawing each line.)

4) Indexing your GG. You will find 4 small round indexing marks on the collar of your GG. The collar is the part of the grip that will butt up to the end of the oar shaft. The collar will be Gray on the Black grips or Lime Green on the Purple grips. Line up the second indexing mark from the top in line with your mark and the top of your oar blade as shown below.

2nd indexing dot on Gilman Grips Oar Grip
2nd indexing dot with tape on Gilman Grips Oar Grip

The top of your GG will have a Black or Purple line perpendicular to the collar 1⁄2” above the second indexing mark.

5) Install your GG with the second indexing mark in line with the top of the oar blade and in the center of the 2 lines on your masking tape. Be sure to leave on the masking tape with the line on it until the glue is fully dried. That way you can make sure it hasn't moved out of alignment. If your grips are uncomfortable during a stroke it is most likely due to misalignment during this process.

Note: Do not hit, bang, or pound on the GG during this process. The GG should slip in without the use of tools. Edge oars offsets their button on the side of the oar blade. The button is located on side of the oar shaft, not on the top. This means your indexing/clocking mark will not line up with the button on Edge oars. Please make sure that you have the oar blade oriented in the correct position for left and right. Your indexing/clocking mark will line up with the top of the blade, not the button.


In this 2-minute video we show you how you can easily install your Gilman Grips.


We recommend installing your GG using 3M Hi-Strength 90 spray adhesive.

1) After the 2” wide masking tape is marked with the top of the oar blade,(see indexing instructions) test the fit of the GG into the oar shaft. We recommend using a file or sand paper to slightly bevel the inside edge of the oar shaft to slip over the TPE waterproof gasket on your GG. The fit should be snug but the grip should slide all the way in until the collar touches the oar shaft. The fit will not be as snug when the glue is applied because it will lubricate the surfaces. The cylinder of the grip should fit in Cataract and Sawyer oars but will need to be lightly sanded to get the proper fit in Edge and Pro-Loks oars.

2) Once you have the correct fit use the spray 90 to coat the inside of the oar shaft for 4” into the shaft. Then coat the GG cylinder on the part that will slip into the oar shaft. Do not spray all the way to the collar start about 3\4” from the collar. Let the parts dry for 2 minutes.

3) Slip the GG into the oar shaft rotating and twisting the GG back and forth as you slip it into the oar shaft. Once the GG is inserted all the way to the TPE gasket pull the GG all the way out with a twisting motion. Let the parts dry for 10 minutes. Now apply a second coat of spray 90 on each part. Let dry for 2 minutes.

4) Insert the GG into the oar shaft with a twisting motion and then pull back apart and let dry for 30 seconds. (Use a paper towel to wipe off any excess glue at the end of the oar shaft). Now in one motion insert the GG all the way into the oar shaft and aline the second clocking mark with the center of the 2 lines on the masking tape. (Top of the oar blade) It’s best to slip the grip all the way in then rotate the GG to the correct indexing mark. Do not bang the grip on the floor or use a hammer to bang the grip in.

5) Repeat this process on the other oar. Re-check the alignment in about 20 minutes. Let the oars sit in a 70 degree or warmer room for a minimum of 48 hours undisturbed, to allow for the glue to cure before use. Do not let them sit in a colder room because the glue will not cure properly. Remove the tape and use lacquer thinner to clean any excess glue off the oar.

Spray 90 can be purchased at most home improvement centers or good hardware stores for between $11 to $15. We recommend using only 3M Spray 90 because it is designed to be used with polypropylene and has a 600 lb psi. (pounds per square inch”) shear strength. In addition this glue can be reactivated with heat to make adjustments to the indexing or to remove the GG.


This 1-minute video will cover how to adjust the fit of the cylinder of your GG oar handle for all carbon fiber oars, including Sawyer Smoker Bandit, Edge oars and Pro-Loks oars


The process used to manufacture these carbon fiber shafts gives them a smaller ID ( "interior diameter"). Your GG will require sanding down the cylinder to achieve a proper fit before installing. We recommend having someone hold the GG for you during this sanding process. The fit should be snug and tight but allow for the GG to slide all the way in the oar shaft before applying the adhesive.

Note: Do not hit, bang, or pound on the GG during this process. The GG should slip in without the use of tools. The bench vice in this video is for showing the sanding process only. If you use a vice or tools you will damage the TPE (molded rubber) on the GG. Have someone hold the grip for you during the process. We could not get a clear shot in the video with someone holding the GG so we used a vice to demonstrate. You can clearly see the GG is loose in the vice.


Removal of Old Oar Handles and Compatibility


In this short, 1-minute video, we will show you how to remove the factory handles from your existing composite oars. This method will work with ALL composite oars.


For Sawyer, you do not need to remove the foam plug and the handles will come out in about 5 blows. You can use a 1.375" to 1.5" diameter steel slug in any length over 5" for all oars other than Cataract.

Cataract oar handles can be very difficult to remove with this method. Some Cataract handles have come out relatively easy and some we could not remove with this method. For Cataract oars, we recommend that you saw 3.5" to 4" of the oar shaft off to remove the factory grip.

Pro-Loks oar handles are part of the oar shaft and must be sawn off.

The tool used to remove the foam plug consists of an adjustable length paint roller handle, a screw on end fitting with a screw glued into the end. These items can be purchased at the local hardware store for around $15.


Note: DO NOT REMOVE ANY LESS THAN 3.5" from the grip end of the oar if there is a factory counterbalance or you will saw into the steel counterbalance rod. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES AND DO NOT SAW INTO THE STEEL ROD.


Gilman Grips are compatible with edge oars.

Remove the factory grip.

Use 80 grit sandpaper to sand the cylinder until you have a snug fit. The GG will not fit properly until sanded.

Have someone help you, holding the grip so the cylinder over hangs the edge of a bench. Then place a 1⁄2 sheet of sandpaper over top of the cylinder. With one hand on each end of the sand paper and both hands under the cylinder, slide the sandpaper back and forth so you are sanding the top half of the cylinder. Repeat this process by rotating the grip 3 times using 1⁄3 of a rotation each time. Be sure to sand the TPE gasket at the collar each time. Repeat until you have a snug fit. Be sure the GG will slip all the way tight into the oar shaft before applying glue.

See the installation and indexing instructions before gluing in your GG.


Gilman Grips are not currently compatible with Carlisle oars Because of the way they crimp there aluminum into the oar handle. If you cut their factory grip off and slip your Gilman Grips into the oar shaft your Gilman Grips will hit the 3rd aluminum sleeve. This will prevent your Gilman Grips from slipping all the way into the oar shaft. It is possible to notch your Gilman Grips to accommodate that 3rd aluminum sleeve but we do not support this installation.


Gilman Grips will fit into and work with Cataract oars however you will need to remove the factory installed grips to install your Gilman Grips. Cataract uses a steel slug as the core for their counterbalance grips so the grip and the weight are all one piece that will have to be removed. Their unweighted grips are made with a fiberglass core instead of the steel core. Cataract uses epoxy to install their grips so there are 2 options to get their grips out. We recommend using option #1 as option #2 can be time consuming and difficult.

1) The simplest and easiest way is to cut the grip off of the oar shaft using a chop saw with a good carbide blade. This will shorten your oars by 4" in length. Then your GG will slide into the clean shaft.

We realize making you oars shorter by 4" may not work for everyone, but it is the simplest method to remove the factory grips and it may help to balance your oars. If you cut off less than 4” you will cut into the steel slug of the counterbalance. Be sure to wear safety glasses.

First remove the foam plug at the blade end of the oar. The plug should be just past the locking hole for the blades. You can use a wire coat hanger by unwinding the hook end and straightening out the wire. Use the end with the spiral to screw into the foam 2” then pull the foam out. If the foam gets pushed in past your reach you can pick up an extendable paint roller handle and add a screw to the end. You will find what you need at at Home Depot.

2) After removing the foam plug use a solid 1-3⁄8” to 1-1⁄2” diameter steel rod approximately 12” long like a slap hammer inside the oar shaft to knock out the grip. Slip the rod into the oar and with the grip end down raise the oar shaft up and down quickly so the full weight of the rod is coming down and hitting the grip as you are moving the oar up in motion. After many blows the grip will start to come out. Repeat this process until the grip comes all the way out. On the final blow the steel rod will come out and hit the ground hard. Keep your feet out of the way. We recommend doing this outside so you do not damage the floor.

We will be posting how-to videos on both removal methods soon. Please refer to the indexing and installation instructions before installing your Gilman Grips.

Please call Cataract directly to let them know that you would like to see them incorporate Gilman Grips into their oars.


Gilman Grips are compatible with Pro-Loks oars.

Pro-Loks handles are made as an intrical part of the oar Shaft and will need to be sawn off to install your Gilman Grip oar handles.

1) Mark where you want to cut the handle with masking tape on the oar shaft. This will be where the oar shaft is the largest diameter at the transition of the handle. Using a fine carbide tipped saw blade or a fine metal cutting blade in a chop saw is the best method to remove the factory grip. This method will not shorten the finished length of your oars because your Gilman Grip will be inserted into the oar shaft replacing the factory handle.

2) Use 80 grit sandpaper to sand the cylinder until you have a snug fit. The GG will not fit properly until sanded. Have someone help you, holding the grip so the cylinder over hangs the edge of a bench. Then place a 1⁄2 sheet of sandpaper over top of the cylinder. With one hand on each end of the sand paper and both hands under the cylinder, slide the sandpaper back and forth so you are sanding the top half of the cylinder. Repeat this process by rotating the grip 3 times using 1⁄3 of a rotation each time. Be sure to sand the TPE gasket at the collar each time. Repeat until you have a snug fit. Be sure the GG will slip all the way tight into the oar shaft before applying glue.

Please feel free to talk to Dan Little at Pro-Loks about cutting off your factory handels. 509-369-3775. Or, you can call us and we can walk you through the process.

Please refer to the clocking and installation instructions before installing your Gilman Grips.


Gilman Grips will fit into and are compatible with Sawyer composite 1.625” ID oars. Sawyer makes a heavy duty commercial oar shaft used in the Grand Canyon that is a larger diameter and will not work with any standard 1.625” grip or blade.

Sawyer uses a set screw and silicone to hold their grips into the oar shaft.

1) Remove the set screw.

2) We recommend removing the factory grip using a 1-3⁄8” or 1-1⁄2” steel rod 4” to 12” long as a slap hammer inside the shaft to knock out the grip. You do not need to remove the the foam plug. Slip the steel rod into the oar shaft with the grip down. Raise the oar up and down quickly so that the full weight of the steel rod is knocking the grip out. Continue until the grip is knocked out. This method is very quick and effective. Scrape out any remaining silicone from inside the oar shaft before installing your GG.

You may be able to get the grip out with someone holding onto the oar shaft twist and pull the factory grip out. Remember to first rotate the factory grip until the silicone bond is broken then pull the grip out. You may need to place the grip into a vice to get enough force to rotate the shaft and break the silicone bond. This method is not always effective and will take more time.

Please refer to the indexing and installation instructions before installing your Gilman Grips. You must use glue, do not rely only on the screw to hold in the GG. Be sure to remove any silicone that remains in the oar shaft before installing your GG.

You can re-install the screw you removed if you are not using a counterbalanced GG. If you are using a counterbalanced GG than you will need to switch to a 1⁄2” long stainless steel screw. Make sure to predrill the size of the screw shank at least 1⁄4” into the steel rod so the tip of the 1⁄2” screw has space to go into. Be careful not to break the screw and do not use a screw longer than 1⁄2’ if you are using counterbalance. Set the screw by hand and not with a screw gun so you do not break the screw or strip out the threads.


We are here to help our early product supporters. Please feel free to call me to discuss the best options to get Gilman Grips in your hands. My cell number is 406-763-6464 please give me a call if I can help. If you happen to be in Whitefish MT. please call and I would be happy to install your Gilman Grips for you. Thanks, Jeff