Posted by: Wayne | March 26, 2011

Rudder head

Since the last post I made a bit of progress.  I have:

  • Machined the rudder cheeks down to thickness
  • Cleaned the filler block
  • Used the top of the rudder blade to mark the lower curve on the filler block
  • Lofted and cut one of the cheeks to shape
  • Traced it onto the second cheek and cut that out as well
  • Drilled, countersunk, and installed the lower screws holding the cheeks to the filler block
  • Marked, inlet, drilled, and installed the lower pintle
  • Mounting the lower gudgeon to the transom
  • Installed the upper gudgeon, followed by the upper pintle
  • Trimmed the after end of the tiller into a slight wedge

At this point, I was able to hang the rudder from the transom.  I then clamped the tiller to the installed rudder head.  Once I had determined an angle that felt good, it was time to mark, then cut the filler block for the tiller.  After installing some more screws, it was time to mark and drill the pivot hole in the rudder blade and both cheeks.  Finally, I was able to relieve the filler block to allow the blade to pivot from fully up to fully down.

I apologize, but I was doing most of the above steps while my lovely wife was occupied with children, so no pictures were taken (I was too busy getting things done and didn’t want to slow down for pictures).  After the rudder assembly was hung on the transom, we proceeded to bring the children outside to inspect the progress.

The tiller installed in its final location. I guess the TLAR method worked.

The rudder assembly is hung from the transom in its final location. The cheeks are only screwed to the filler block.

Patrick and Gabriel having fun in the boat.

It looks like Patrick is trying to bear off quickly.

Gabriel trying his hand at the tiller.

Patrick and Elaina working together.

All together now...

I think Elaina is trying to head up.

That concludes today’s installment.  I still need to glue the rudder cheeks to the filler block, install the uphaul and downhaul cheek blocks, then sand and varnish the lot.  This actually shouldn’t change the appearance all that much.



  1. hey – good post; and the kids look to be havinga grand time
    well done

  2. Looking good Wayne! I really like the shape of your tiller. Looks like you got the curve just right. I botched mine so I have to make another. Your photos will be a great help, thanks. -Joel

    • Joel:

      I mainly got lucky on the tiller. I simply used a 2×4, a couple scraps of wood, and a handful of clamps to set the shape. Heck, I even decided to add another block during the glue-up for a mite more curve at the forward end.

      I test-fitted the tiller in the boat before finalizing the angle it entered the rudder head. If you leave extra material at the end of a new tiller, you may be able to do the same. I have found it is better to fit than measure, and better to measure than calculate.

      Best of luck with the remainder of your project. It is a lot of fun watching Ellie come together. It looks like you are a bit ahead of where I am. When do you think she will be ready for launch?

      God bless!

  3. Launch date, gosh, who knows? I gave up estimating dates long ago. Every time I pick a date for a goal I usually end up exceeding it by about double! I’d like to be done in time to attend the Sucia Island messabout that’s held here around the 4th of July and I’d REALLY like to show the boat at the Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in September. I should be able to accomplish both of them easily, but now I probably shouldn’t have said that! lol!

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