Posted by: Wayne | April 6, 2010

Rudder – Day 3

More progress, some mistakes come to light, and more lessons learned.

Today I pulled the rudder blank out of the clamping frame.  It didn’t fall apart.  It does has some sizable gaps in the epoxy joints.  More on that later.  I got the shape of the rudder lofted onto the blank and mostly cut out with a jig saw.  I then spent a bit more time with two block planes, a rasp, and a chisel (sorry about the lack of pictures).  The final result is that the rudder blank is close to the final outline of the rudder.  I still have a bit of work left on that part.

A very satisfied assistant with the rudder blade.

The rudder blade has a straight leading edge, a bit of a curve to the trailing edge, nubs for the uphaul and downhaul lines, and a curved upper section around the pivot bolt.

The current shape of the rudder blade. It still needs a bit of shaping.

As mentioned earlier, some of the epoxy joints had a fair collection of voids.  I am not going to worry about them until I have the rudder blade in its final shape.  At that point, I am planning on taping the bottom and ends of each seam and adding a slightly thickened epoxy mix (think thin syrup) to the voids, working it in with a pin or similar.  I figure that this, in concert with glassing the whole thing should result in a rudder that won’t break on me.

Just a few voids. Hopefully these will fill in later without too much fuss or drama.

Lessons learned from this:

  • Plane the mating surfaces of the wood a lot smoother.  This should yield a tighter joint.
  • Mix the epoxy a bit thicker.  Use more silica initially.
  • Use a bit more epoxy.  I think I skimped a bit on this one and it shows.
  • I am very glad I decided to start with the rudder blade and not the centerboard.
  • I will be laminating up a packing piece for the rudder head from cherry before doing the centerboard to make sure the revised technique works well.

Oh, well.  We live, we learn, and we make mistakes.  The good news is that I think this mistake can be corrected without too much difficulty.


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