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Thread: A-376 Afloat

  1. #46
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Houston, Texas
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    Hammer in the Drifts

    Don’t hammer too hard or you’ll mushroom the end. Use a spare piece of 3/8” bar to countersink.
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    Last edited by Hull376; 03-08-2021 at 08:46 PM.
    Kent

  2. #47
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    Make some Mahogany Dowels

    Since I recessed the drifts on the trailing edge, I needed to fill the holes. Stole this idea on YouTube to make mahogany dowels. Attach the 1/8” X 1” steel plate (in a bin at Home Depot) to a piece of pine. Drill a 25/64” (slightly larger than 3/8) hole through steel and pine, then use a Dremel or grinder cut off wheel to gouge across the diameter of the hole. Cut slightly larger than 3/8” X 3/8” square stock along the grain of scrap mahogany 4” to 8”. Sharpen one end of the blank to fit into the 25/64” hole, and also carve the other end if it won’t fit in your drill chuck. One end in chuck, other end in the jig, start the drill and push the square blank into the jig. Sawdust will fly, and the drill will shake and wobble a bit, but out the other end of the jig will appear a perfect mahogany dowel. Really cool.

    I used a Q tip to swab the holes with epoxy then pounded in dowel plugs. The plugs were tight and not much epoxy remained in the holes.

    The epoxy makes it look like I cut my finger off. The blood came out of the West System Hardener Can that color! A chemical reaction to something. It worked fine for dowels but I wouldn’t use it structurally.
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    Kent

  3. #48
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    Dowels in, bloody epoxy, cut and sanded
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    Kent

  4. #49
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    The Shaft

    I made a drawing of the shaft for the machine shop. Houston doesn’t have many mom and pop machine shops anymore They all cater to the oil and gas industry and have very expensive equipment and most don’t want to deal with small walk in projects. But I found one with “the new guy” who was willing to do it for a reasonable price. The computer controlled equipment was overkill, but was fun to watch. Note that I changed the depth of the blind holes for the bolts from 5/8” to 3/4” when Ebb recommended some more threads in the shaft. Machining included two key slots, six blind threaded holes and a machined boss at the bottom of the shaft for the rudder shoe bearing. The extra key slot is in case I need to replace the tiller head. They can be on either side of the fitting depending on the brand. I’m currently using a replacement Edson tiller head, which has the key slot on the opposite side from the original. The forum has found a variety of lengths for the rudder shaft so make sure you have a plan if you can’t measure yours. Mine is a little bit longer than it probably needs to be, we’re talking 1/2” here, but I can shorten it if needed.
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    Kent

  5. #50
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    Routing the cove

    I had no idea how to route the 1” cove which mates up with the 1” diameter shaft. A neighbor told me to make a table out of pine boards by taking two boards and nailing them together at a 90 degree angle, Then use two of these clamped to each side of the rudder, with fences nailed so the router cuts the cove in the middle. Easier to see a photo than describe it. I was off a little on one of the fences, so a couple of inches of the cove were not exactly centered. Didn’t matter.
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    Kent

  6. #51
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    Drill the 3/8” Bolt Holes in the rudder (UGH!)

    This step concerned me the most. Used the 3/8” X 12” drill bit. If one hole was off a little, it would prevent sliding the rudder all the way into the rudder shaft, or it would get stuck and be difficult to remove. Six holes, lots of chances for a slight miss-drill. But I carefully measured the hole centers per the shaft plans. Then I measured them again. Need to include the dimension to the bottom of the shaft when marking off the dimensions on the rudder (position of the rudder from bottom of the shaft). Only drill a few inches, remove the bit from the hole, clear the cuttings, then go a few more inches. No speed bits! I used some WD 40 on the bit to keep it spinning cleanly in the doweling jig as it got hot. Drilling for the drifts doesn’t have to be as exact, and is quicker. And drifts hammer in fast if you use the right undersized drill bit.

    After drilling, I inserted the shaft with the threaded rod screwed in place and it fit.
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    Kent

  7. #52
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    Access Holes, Peep Holes (AKA Cheese Holes), Washers and Nuts

    Used a 3/4” hole saw, then used jig saw to square off the front side for the washer and nut. I’m not proud about how they look (uneven, not very shippy unlike the rest of the rudder.) But they will work fine. A 9/16 box wrench fit the nuts in the peeps. I will fill them in with epoxy or other material. Some holes were almost spot on in alignment while others were deviated, but OK. These were 9 1/2” long holes. (Two of the drifts were 10”)

    Originally, I thought it would be cool to be able to take this design apart if I bashed up a plank like my father did years ago. This is not really practical. Damage from a grounding will wreck more than just a board, the drift construction won’t work for disassembly, and the swelled mahogany is going to grip the threaded rod. And the bolt rod will be bent. The boat would have to be on the hard for a long time to dry out enough to slide boards off the bolt rods. And to top it off, it isn’t likely I’ll have to pull it apart for any reason.

    I did put a few drops of blue Loctite on the rods before screwing them into the shaft holes so they wouldn’t back out while I was attaching and detaching the rudder from the shaft by installing and then removing the nuts. I still need to cut the slot for the keeper strap. Otherwise, I’m pretty much done. I have a new rudder shoe (silicon bronze made by Frank Pomeranz in 2004) and will put it on when I replace the rudder at next haul out. This design doesn’t need sealants, 3M adhesives, or resorcinol to hold it together. Authentic Honduras Mahogany is almost indestructible in salt water as long as you keep up with the bottom jobs (teredo navalis anyone?) It may last longer than the rest of the boat, and it will certainly outlast me! Fun fact: teredo worms are actually a type of clam that uses its miniature shells to chew its way into wood.
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    Kent

  8. #53
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    Sep 2001
    Location
    San Rafael, CA
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    Congratulations on reinventing the wh.... Original rudder. Only better!
    The original has only 3 thru the two main planks -- you've doubled
    that. And you couldn't guarantee a rudder more likely to never come
    apart, ever again. How you managed to drill them straight and 90 is
    beyond my comprehension and.. ability -- amazing. A family Ariel gets
    a traditional rudder. Couldn't be better. And flawless to boot.

    Your mahogany looks like Sepele to me. An African variety that's
    twice as hard as Honduras. Or could it be a plantation variety?? Not
    knocking, it to me doesn't look dark enough, the crowds of thin dashed
    lines I'm used to seeing. Spelle has a great reputation as a true
    mahogany.

    And just to say: Don't forget the copper electrical tape that Pearson
    used (halfway up the stock to hold the rudder straight.. So that when
    you run aground and lift the rudder out of its shoe, it will drop back
    'down again into the hole. (I say 'tape' because I think it is a three-
    fold pure copper strip that will take bending without hardening.

    Once looked down the rudder tube to the rudder shoe, Noticed the
    tube was a little OFF CENTER, crooked. Cussed Pearson and forgot
    about it Recently installed a two piece gudgeon that is meant to
    release the rudder by removing one half of the gudgeon. The fitting
    is held on by three bolts (and six nuts). So I had to disassemble the
    tillerhead as if to remove the rudder. So, lifted it out of the shoe and
    discover the rudder removes from ONE SIDE ONLY.

    As you and I know there is no bearing in the entrance to the bustle
    where the rudder tube lives. The rudder stock merely enters the hole.
    Good reason, because when you lift the rudder up you have to aim
    it port or starboard to drop it by the rudder shoe. It dawned on me
    that the slight off center cant to the tube is to facilitate the drop. The
    shaft on my rudder won't go starboard, it only drops to port, easily,
    as it obviously is meant to.
    Thus, you may want to make it easy to remove and replace the
    machine screw in an embedded piece to of threaded s.bronze.
    Seriously I don't think they make a sex bolt in s.bronze. Could try
    a piece of tapped G-10 embedded in the hull. Don't know, but G-10
    would epoxy in better.

    Will you celebrate with a bit of ceremony? I admit to buying two
    bottles of Proseco (yet to find a sour one at reasonable prices) put
    one in an old heavy sock to do the honors, and in the cockpit, open
    the other for strait toasts -- or 1/2n1/2 with fresh oj for mimosas.
    Your marvelous rudder deserves the moment.
    Last edited by ebb; 03-09-2021 at 03:01 PM.

  9. #54
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    Apr 2002
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    Thanks, ebb. Should be Honduras- the mill tag says so, but——-Anyway, copper it is for the keeper strap since I haven’t found source for silicon bronze.
    Last edited by Hull376; 03-09-2021 at 03:20 PM.
    Kent

  10. #55
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    Apr 2002
    Location
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    Which wood species is my mahogany?

    Ebb raises interesting questions about mahogany species, related species usually from Africa, not the New World, and “marketing names”. Below shows descriptions from The Wood Database https://www.wood-database.com/wood-a...s-the-lowdown/ where they do a good job of clearing up popular mahogany confusion.
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    Last edited by Hull376; 03-10-2021 at 12:31 PM.
    Kent

  11. #56
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    Sample of Mahogany from my Rudder

    OK! If you’ve read the descriptions from above, let’s look at a piece of my rudder board. And do some comparisons.
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    Kent

  12. #57
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    Apr 2002
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    Comparing my rudder wood sample to African and Sapele

    African Mahogany: My sample has clearly marked growth rings in the end grain. African mahogany lacks them. This rules out African Mahogany as my sample. My sample also has the ray ripples the same as those shown in the photo for Honduras species. African doesn’t have these.

    Sapele: This species is farther away from Honduras mahogany, is usually darker and more dense. It’s end-grain exhibits what look like lighter growth ring bands, but they are consistently distributed throughout, unlike Honduras where they only define growth rings. My sample has clearly defined growth rings. Also my sample has no cedar like smell when working with it. In fact, it has almost no smell.

    I was not aware of the range of the color of Honduras mahogany depending on age and where it’s grown. Color my world with New World true mahoganies.

    What do Y’all say is my rudder wood sample made of? If it’s not Honduras, I’m suing Mason Lumber under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act!
    Last edited by Hull376; 03-10-2021 at 01:16 PM.
    Kent

  13. #58
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    I always trust the first word that pops up and it was Sepele. But Kent you
    certainly have proven it's mahogany in your rudder. You're amazing!!! My
    wood ID is pure BS. However, I have worked with Honduras for as long
    as I've had the Ariel. I trip over two long 2bys on my garage-shop floor. The
    1.125x14.25 milled plank against the wall matches the pieces in the bone pile
    -- they're all medium brown, not dark, with an indistinct reddish hue.
    Whether the wood is flat or edge sawn it has distinct ribbons in its surface.
    Some of the surface is plain, but most is crowded with very thin broken and
    darker hairlines.
    When I beheld the pics of your rudder, It did not register as Honduras. No
    expert in wood identification. Selling mahogany as H. is 'what people do'.
    In the yard you often could tell (in the old days) a stack of Honduras because
    of the wide planks furniture makers craved. When you oil or varnish the
    stuff it turned into the mahogany we recognize immediately - no whatz wood
    is that.. I'm certainly wrong about it being Sepele. And you have scientifically
    found it to be what Mason Bros says it is. Lumber folks know what they are
    talking about. Any furniture makers where you are, or wood turners? Wood
    boat builders? Anyway you have given your rudder an awesome backbone, it's
    never going to warp, that's fer shure!
    If you will pursue this further, and it turns out that it is an African mahogany,
    The varieties found in the US are highly regarded and water tolerant. Often
    harder than H. and less expensive. Could be an even more perfect mahogany
    for your recreation of the marvelous hold over from the days of wooden ships
    the Pearson rudder stands for. Ebb's asked before: What's a bronze and
    mahogany rudder doing on a plastic sailboat??
    Last edited by ebb; 03-10-2021 at 03:17 PM.

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