Rudder, Tiller, and Hatch Cover

Rudder and Tiller roughed in.


(to start of project)

It occurred to me that you can sail without Toe Rails, but you can’t sail without a Rudder and Tiller. Ergo, no Toe Rails today; but lots of Rudder and Tiller. And Hatch Cover.

The Hatch Cover was started . . . mmm . . . yesterday? Friday? I’m losing track of time now. Anyway, spent a day getting it framed in, glued, and clamped. Then a day to cure, and then a grippie lip edge, followed by scraping and sanding. Needs fiberglassing underneath, and a hold-her-down thing. Everything is covered in dust, and there’s no time to clean. I mean everything. I like the way the Hatch Cover turned out, though. Exactly as I’d hoped. Just needs Le Tonk to set it off.







The rest of yesterday and today was spent on Rudder and Tiller. Both of the designs were laid out in Adobe Illustrator months ago, and printed out full size. That saved a huge amount of time when it came time to start cutting. No figuring out or measuring – just cut out the pattern and trace it. Awesome.

It was also nice to make something for a change that didn’t have huge consequences if you mess up. If you don’t like the first one, make another. Not like the other stuff, where if you make a mistake it becomes part of the whole boat. By comparison, this was easy.

One could, of course, make both Rudder and Tiller out of plywood, which is what the plans call for, and would be totally serviceable. But I made this more complicated. The rudder is laminated out of three plies of three different woods: White Oak for the leading edge and spine, for strength and where the hardware will attach; White Pine in the rest of the blade, so it’s not so heavy; and Black Walnut cheeks for added strength where it’s narrow, to match the Transom. All glued up, then shaped with grinder and sander – hence the dust everywhere.


Rudder pieces, laid out for glue-up.


The blade is still pretty rough, but it will be glassed and painted to match the hull, the Walnut and Oak left natural. The intension was for the lower end curve of the cheeks to match up with and continue the line where the hull, transom and skeg meet. Got it pretty close. Won’t see until the transom is shaped.









The Tiller, made of Ash, looks insanely long – almost 5 feet. It seems pretty crazy until you actually sit in the boat and measure it out. Basically, it’s the length and thickness of an Ash hoe handle, which is exactly what I used to test length and girth. Seems skinny, too, but I’ve never broken a hoe handle, and i’ve worked them pretty hard.







The angle of the Tiller is still just a tad high. It got to late to mess with it any more. There’s also a chance the wood may compress some over time, and it will settle on it’s own, so I think I’ll leave it high for now and see what happens. Easier to lower it later than raise it.

The Tiller tilts up so you can scoot under when tacking, or just to get it out of the way in the cockpit. There’s a brass pipe and ring fitting to go in the Rudder Head that will hold the block for the Main Sheet, and also serves as a post for a matching notch in the stock to lock the Tiller in place. There may be more adjustments to make after trying it out. The stock is left long for now, protruding from the back. Once all adjustments are done, it will be trimmed and shaped flush with the Rudder Head.






melonseed skiff, mellonseed skiff, melon seed, mellon seed   


7 Replies to “Rudder, Tiller, and Hatch Cover”

  1. “It got too late to mess with it any more”. You mean, you’re wife enforced the “No-power-tools-after-Midnight-and-its-1:37AM-and-YOU-have-to-work-tomorrow rule”! He didn’t mention the blogging until 4:40am, but I will. Beautiful work, but I’m still fuming.

    Monday, September 27, 2010 – 08:30 AM

  2. Terri-
    We promise, soon you will get your husband and partner in play back! “Really, it’s 1 AM? I didn’t have a watch, so I had no idea……” See previous post…..

    Monday, September 27, 2010 – 12:55 PM

  3. Terri, he will not do this again any time soon, I’ll wager. And it’s almost over. Out here we are very impressed with his dedication and skill.

    Monday, September 27, 2010 – 03:54 PM

  4. Hi Barry, your works are masterpieces, not only boats… beautiful pieces of modern art… may I copy? 😉

    Tuesday, September 28, 2010 – 02:21 PM

  5. Thanks Giuseppe, as we say here, it would be the sincerest form of flattery.

    Gorgeous job you did on that kayak, and looks like the local kids are having as much fun with it as you.

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010 – 02:20 AM

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