I have being toying with either painting or staining the oar because I didn't care for the finish. Then I saw a pin titled "how to make new wood look old" from Frugal Farm House Design blog and I thought I'd give that a try. She gives an awesome step by step with photos to see it go here. I will just tell ya the basics.
Step one: take some steel wool and put in a jar and cover with vinegar. Let it sit at least 24 hours, the longer the better. (I expected the vinegar mixture to turn black or something but it didn't.)
after 24 hours
Step two: make a strong cup of tea. I used Chai. brush the tea on the wood and let dry.
Step three: brush on the vinegar mixture.
The before pic above is after the tea was brushed on & it was still wet.
I expected it to happen instantly and it didn't. I walked away and came back an hour later and it had worked.
I'm really excited about this. I guess it's been around for awhile but I had never heard of it. Just wanted to share in case anyone else had never heard of it.
**edited to add- I sanded the oar down to bare wood removing all of the clear finish. This would not work if there is a finish on the wood because it needs to soak in.