Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Rudder Hardware

     Finally got the rudder stock hung on some hardware that met my most important criteria:

  • Bulletproof
  • corrosion resistant
  • very cheap

  First, I cut some bands of metal out of an old hay baler with my wet saw.  

  I used to make a living with that thing.  Now I use it for fun.

Then, I cut a groove in an old stump and laid the bands across the groove and whammed a metal bar down over them so that they would fit around the rudder stock.

Who needs a fancy hydraulic press? 

I cut some bar out of an old chair.

  Then I straightened it and clamped it in place on the bands around the rudder stock.

  I had my dad weld these up.  I am so friggin' helpless!



  Here they are painted with coal tar epoxy.  A lot cheaper than having them galvanized.  The gudgeons are pieces of 1/2" galvanized pipe that I threw in the stove to safely burn away the zinc.  I filed out the internal ridge and found that you can insert a piece of pex pipe and leave a little bit protruding, which you can heat with a propane torch and mash down to make a perfect little top hat bearing.  No metal on metal, hooray!

I wanted to be able to boot the tiller where it goes through the transom because of rain and spray and bugs getting in through the hole. To have a lip for the boot to attach to, I just cut the lip off a plastic bucket and heat-formed it around an elliptical plywood mold.   

Here it is in place over the hole that the tiller goes through.

   That same evening, Ale broke a dish glove- manna from heaven!!   Looks like it fits perfect. 

   Here is the rudder stock installed with the tiller in place.  You may notice that the shape is a little different than what it was in the photo above.  In the mean time, I realized that I had had a brain fart when I was designing it.  I had put the pivot at the water line, which would have the stock dragging through the water all the time, so I cut it down.   There is also a little skeg I installed under the transom to get a little more distance between hinges .  The tiller is bolted to one side only so as to allow the rudder to swing all the way up so I can leave it in place on the highway.  

Speaking of the rudder, remember  I said it was too darn heavy?  Well, I tested it to see:

  I put a string of gallon jugs on it and dropped it into the pond to see how many it pulled down.  Turns out it was about ten pounds to the negative.  Of course, that weight doesn't have to sink the whole thing, just the underwater part, so I took off seven by drilling a 1.5" hole and plugging it with plywood. 

   While it does little for total displacement, it may make it a little easier to pull up.  


  I made this blog thinking of my family and friends mostly here in the US and Canada. However,  I have been fascinated by seeing the page traffic I get coming from Australia, the Phillipines, Thailand, etc. If any of you from those places read this, I encourage you to comment or check out my new contact page and send me an email telling me how you came to find this blog of all things. 


  1. I really like those old school hinges! You are doing a great job - she'll be in the water in no time,

  2. Thanks, Al. SO you think they have that classic flair? I guess they do look like the old stuff.

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  4. Oh, and thanks for your encouragement. I need it. Don't let my light style and happy pics on the blog fool you. I am down in the valley right now. Progress feels super slow, wanting to be out in the water or out in nature instead of in the shop, and feeling like it will never get done. Some days I just want to give it away and forget about it.