The plan...
The rudder

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What a long, bleak and cold winter!!

Here we are at the end of April and I was only able to start work on her 4/1. Even then, I had to pick my days since the temperature would sometimes dip into the 30's. Not good working weather in an unheated shop.

In case your interested, below is the shop I do all my work in. I built it myself several years ago. the deck was added last year.

My design. Dutch swing door made of cedar. Windows are individually paned Those took months to make. 9 windows. All different sizes. The fence was my last project before I got the boat. The second, third and 4th set may never be built for another couple of years now that I have this project to work on. I am glad though. Oh, the siding is cedar that I milled myself to a dutch lap.

I digress.... I started to work on the rudder at the beginning of the month, weather permitting. Any day over 40 degrees, I was doing something. The last entry was when i returned the rudder to my shop tried my hand at removing the paint. I decided to continue and found the left and right stock littered with holes. Some were sealed up an not used. All the ones that were being used had copper rivets Some were very close to the edge indicating some wood was taken down. I ground the rivets down and removed the pieces. I gave up on removing the paint. I knew I would be creating new ones.

Below is a shot the the rudder without the other pieces. I also removed the hinges. Here is a story... The top hinge had a crack in it. part of the strap that fastens to the wood and right at the wrong spot. I cannot use it. I brought it to a friend of mine who has a metal shop. He built a stainless steel fixture to allow me to do without the strapping. You will see a picture of recess I built later. The top hong, based on wear marks, seem to indicate that it carries most of the load of the rudder. When I re-instal, I will try to distribute the weight better.

First pieces built below.. I took on re-creating the left and right stock. Simple enough. One snag though. Although I could get the right wood (white Oak), they did not have stock wider than 7 inches. The original flair had to be modified to allow this. Structurally, it does not effect the rudder but I am a bit disappointed I was going to be making an exact replica. Below is a shot of the raw cut with a bit of sanding. You can see the difference in the shape at the bottom.

Fo these two pieces, I knew that I would be varnishing them. I like varnish. I have read tons of articles about how hard it is to maintain and perhaps I will get tired of it but for now, I want it. Just these two pieces will be varnished The balance will be painted. For several days I debated if I should detail the edge for a little "flair". Just going with a simple round over would be easy but in the end, I decided to go for it. It will be a nightmare when refinishing. We will see how that goes. You can see the test pice I routered to make sure I had right depth.

Brief interlude.. Here are a couple of shots of the interior of my shop. Dust everywhere what a mess. I love it. :-)

Before routering the top stocks, i traced the pattern on the main vertical piece. This will be the backbone of the rudder and I needed to get it right.

The original rudder has rather large stock. The main piece was well over 12 inches wide. The largest I could get was 7 inch. She would have to be built out of 4 sections glued together. Below is my layout on my table for fitting. Notice the recesses. On the original, the board are glued together with a thin insert in between (tongue & groove) I am sure the grains are running in opposing directions for strength. I took a different approach One reason is that I do not have the tooling to create a deep enough cut to allow a proper insert. I decided to router a lip on each board and laminate opposing grain direction pieces on the outside on both sides. Below is a shot of the three main pieces, the 4th needs to be done yet. To the left is the bottom of rudder.

From the 7 inch wide stock I was able to create 13 sets of opposing grain "inserts" that would be laminated into the recesses I created. You can see one of them laying on top. the others are glued in and the lane closest to camera is already sanded down. Routering out the recesses on main stock was a bit scary I tried doing this with router in hand but the bit started to creep down without my realizing it. There is a small section where the routered insert is too deep. and of coarse, it is in a portion where the most strength is needed. I continued by using a router table. The rest came out fine.

Not feeling that the inserts I created was going to be strong enough, I decided to create a recess going across the whole rudder and inserting along grain direction for added strength. You can see it below. This shot is the clamping fest I needed to do in oder to get the bottom on her. The glued oak stocks were brought at different times. My purchased yielded the main front board and the two top pieces. That piece was not planed and I was able to plane it down to a perfect 1". For the additional wood, I was only able to get boards the already planed down. Those were just shy of the 1" I wanted. By that point, I could not get the main board down to match. since I was to far into working it. This and the fact that my glueing was not entirely perfect, yielded a bottom piece that had to be gently persuaded to match. And by gently I mean use as many clamps as I can and force it into place. :-)

Oh, I also got the shape started on her. Since I do not have a band saw large enough for this type of cutting, I had to router it to shape. Another scary event.

Nest I laid out the screw pattern and created recess for the oak bungs. This was tricky since i wanted the whole patters to match. The holes would be in line with the holes from the other side. Since I am going to be using bronze screws rather than rivets, the screw holes had to line up given the depth that the screws were going. Doing this with a hand drill was a challenge My drill press was not large enough to do it there. it worked out though.

So, here she is. Shaped and sanded. Bungs in place. The last detail was creating a rounded edge on her backside. Sanded out glue marks and smoothed her out.

Here is the old one next to her.

Some detail shots. here at her top. Tried to keep bung grain in line. Some are off a bit.

Those bungs are just to fill. I made the mistake of thinking I could screw this and the other piece in but went with glue. Bungs are just to fill. Look s nice though.

Bottom detail shot.

Finishing.. I have no idea what I am doing. I have read and read and searched and searched No one has a clear answer. I decided to do this...

Boiled Linseed oil. Seals her up a bit. Been used for a long time. Must work o.k.. Several coats of this. Thin and wiped down hard. Let her dry.

Next, top stocks will be varnished. 50/50 thin for first two coats. sand 220 in between. Grain direction only. 75/25 for more coats. 320 grit wet or dry. then finish several coats 5% reduced.

For the rest, three coats gray primer. Oil based paint for flexibility several coats till satisfied. It bothers me that I will covering up this detail work with anti fouling paint. At least I have a picture.

One more of her in the shop. I never felt anything so smooth. before linseed I sanded with 220 and it is like rubbing silk. even better. I feel the imperfections. I am perfectly happy with that.

Shot of top stock with one coat linseed.

Here are the details on my laminating. Looking at the main board and the secondary. A littile filling to do. The old rudder is done inverted to this. THe insert is inbetween the two main stocks. Picture is looking at the back down towards the bottom of the rudder

This is between the second adn third stock. Same story. Bit of fill needed. The third stock was a tongue and groove. The stock was small enough that I was able to create it with my table saw adn router. BTW you see that white lid? it is full of roofing nails. I have no idea what todo with it. If anyone wants it, let me know.

One last thing... This is the insert I routered out for the new hinge. I willpost of picture of that. I basically broke off the strapint of the bronze piece and bolted on a stainless steel 1/8" stock The recess is from that stock adn the depper one is for the bolt I have in the old bronze pieces. The steel pice will be flush with the wood so I may, after setting its position, laminate athin wood stock for appearances sake. details. all about the details.

Thats it so far. Writting this while varnish is drying. Many coats to go on that and then the rest. Will post a fial picture of when she is complete.


Here is something I have been struggling with. Finding the right wood.

Having knowledge of at least a couple of boat building schools on Long Island I thought it would be difficult, but not impossible, to find a suppler of some of the different wood I would need. White Oak, Mahogany, Teak, etc. But, after scouring the internet, I found nothing.

One last attempt was to look on Craigs list. Since my goal was only to acquire White Oak, I thought there may be someone looking to get rid of some old flooring material. Fortunately, I found someone selling air dried white oak! Bad news was that they were moving and only selling in "bundles".

Picture posted on craigs list shows a 10 - 15 planks at least 4/4 and 15ft length. I would never need all of this and the cost would be prohibitive. On top of this was transporting it all. But I called anyway and set up an appointment to look at it at least. Perhaps I might get lucky with some off pieces laying around that they will sell me.

Well, on 1/30 I took a couple of hours off from work and went. Glad I did!!

They gave the impression they were closing down but all they are doing is relocating the yard. They have a industrial building where they keep planks on racks and a full mill shop. They took me for a short tour and had plenty of 4/4 white oak boards 12-15 ft long that they can sell by the board ft..

I purchased one right then and there.

They also have some of the other exotic hardwoods I may need later on.

I cannot tell you the relief I feel. I thought that during the spring, several weekends would be spent traveling out of state just to get the wood I need.

Added photos:

Below are some added pictures I promised...

This one is of the rudder hanging on her back stem. You can see the chewed up portion by the prop. Not sure if this was a run in with spinning prop or just wear and tear. Rest of wood looks good in picture but reality is different.

Here is a close up of something I find a bit odd. There is a second reinforcement just above the pin fitting. Both on her stem and the rudder. Not sure if this a left over from a rotted out old fitting. I will be removing both of the old. Will need to scarf in new wood on stem.

Pulled the rudder off and brought it to my workshop. Below is another picture of what seems to be old strapping from a previous failed pin. It by itself seems to be just reinforcement but since there is a matching strap on stem, I think otherwise. It was probably left just to keep the strength. Rebuild will no longer need this.

One of the reasons why I wanted to work on Rudder is that it allows me to explore some techniques I will need to develop for future projects. One of them is knowing how to take her down to the wood from multiple layers of paint. Looked for a broad nozzle for my propane torch to throw a gently flame to scrape paint off wood but could not. Just hit it with what I had. Couple of burn spots but nothing that could not be sanded out.

Towards the top, you can see the bolt hole for the tiller. Just to the right of it is a wood plug. The receiver for the tiller goes from left to right and is all the way through. I am suspect if this was the original design because the plugged hole is from a previous fitting and not a bolt hole for a tiller. Also, as I got further along in removing the paint, I discover a large amount of plugged holes that seem to be old fittings. It seems to me that at least on one occasion, this rudder was rebuilt using the same members on the outside, while replacing the wood sandwiched between.

This too was my idea, keep the outside members, replace the middle. My hopes were to have the outside pieces varnished but the numerous plugs would make it look a bit off. Also some of the fittings are so close to the edges that any sanding down would require me to remove those fitting completely. The rear of her outer pieces are not finished right in that they are very rough rounding flats. You cannot see it here but I want to at least finish it of nice regardless if going with varnish or paint.

Original start of post..

1 - The rudder - I am a bit surprised this is the best picture of it I have but I will replace with better shots by end next week.

It is hard to see it but her rudder is all chewed up. It is functional but is in sore need of a total rebuild. The last thing one needs is to be under sail and to have your rudder fall off. One reason I want to start with the rudder is that I will be applying several techniques I will be using on other part of her. Paint removal to bare wood, router use and fitting replacement. The color scheme will change also. She will no longer be white but will be varnished. Records indicate that several other areas that are painted now were varnished also. The rudder will help me get the technique down.

Also, it is something i can easily start in the cold weather. Seems this winter on Long Island is colder than usual and this is one I can easily get started in my shop where some heat can exist.