Refinishing rudder, tiller and daggerboard this weekend

Thread starter #1
I have seen a few post about these pieces being refinished and the ones from the boat I purchased are in rough shape. I purchased Total boat penetrating epoxy and Rustoleum marine coating spar varnish. My plan is to sand the parts down good possible clamp the tiller together with epoxy in the middle. The add a few coats of epoxy an da few coats of varnish. I am a little concerned about the cracks. Is there any other ideas to repair cracks?



Active Member
Fill the cracks with epoxy and micro-balloons. I've used it over the years
on oars where the ends have split. It's a rock solid stable fix.
Thread starter #4
Well since I already have the bottle Ill try using it with micro balloons. I was hoping to get it done this weekend, but micro balloons will proly be hard to find around these parts. So... after applying the micro-balloons epoxy....I can just start applying the coats to the rest of the wood without waiting for it to dry right?
Thread starter #6
I used a heat gun to remove the old varnish and epoxy. I had to order micro balloons couldn’t find it around here. I suppose I could also apply fiberglass around the cracks right?


Well-Known Member
A previous owner did a nice job of applying fiberglass cloth to one of my daggerboards. However, water got in somewhere, caused the wood to swell and popped the fiberglass at the seams. In other words, I don't think a crack repair with cloth or tape is going to last. :(
Hi there,

The daggerboard and rudder for my boat were in pretty rough shape when I first got the boat. There were cracks and splinters and the daggerboard was short by a couple of inches.

For the cracks, I wanted to, and I think it is important, to clean all of the dirt and rot out of them, so that the epoxy will adhere. I used my radial saw to do that, but I think a saber saw or a bandsaw would work. The advantage of the radial was that I did not have to cut all the way through the board. Be sure to cut a little past where the crack appears to end. You can then fill the kerfs with thickened epoxy, or as I did fit and epoxy scrap mahogany strips into the cracks and plane/sand them down. If you just use epoxy, I would tape the back with masking tape so that the epoxy will not run out.

If you search for daggerboard, green strip in this forum I posted a picture of my daggerboard. That picture will show you how I lengthened the board and replaced the leading and trailing edges which were splintered.

Hope that is helpful to you.
Thread starter #10
Well thanks for all the advice. I will post some pictures once its all done. So the epoxy I can do about 2 coats before it dries then sand it down with 220 and I can do the Varnish 3-4 coats? The directions on the varnish says I can do coats 2 hours apart without sanding.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Usually best to follow the directions on the product you are using. Some epoxy does not need sanding unless you wait several days and it is fully fully cured. One way to test those epoxies is the fingernail test, if the epoxy dents with the pressure of a fingernail, then you may not sand it, but instead put another coat on, aka a "hot coat." Also the product will tell you if it needs to be rinsed to remove amine blush.

If you bought TotalBoat from Jamestown Distributors, you can call their number 800-497-0010 / 401-253-3840 and talk to the Tech Team about your application. We talk to Dave a lot. The tech data for the products is online as well. They ship cups and sticks and gloves with their epoxy, a nice touch. We use them so much that we have become Ambassadors for the brand! TotalBoat products ship free and they also sell the other brands we use, Interlux, Pettit and some Rustoleum. We buy enough each year that we joined the VIP Club and all of our items ship free, with a small surcharge added if we buy hazmat.

And if you have other wood repairs you might consider THIXO or Pettit Flexpoxy, it is epoxy that is already thickened that comes in a 2 part caulk tube. I like it because it measures itself out, already thickened. You can squeeze out a small amount and mix it yourself or use a mixing tip and it does the mixing for you. It is expensive though, but worth the convenience in many of our applications. We just wrote an article about Flexpoxy for the digital magazine Small Boats Monthly.

Kent and Audrey
Thread starter #16
So my first attempt at epoxy did not go so well. Anyone ever had epoxy catch on fire? So i decided to work on my epoxy inside since its much warmer. I mixed the epoxy in a red plastic cup and filled in a few deep spots. I went downstairs to grab the tiller and when I returned the plastic cup had melted with smoke coming from the epoxy. Epoxy is everywhere including all over the bottom of the rudder. I suppose I will have to wait until its dry and sand it off and try again. On another note.. always wear gloves when working with epoxy. This stuff feels like stripper when it gets on the skin.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
If you put a lot of epoxy in a small container it can melt cups. Better to spread it out in a bigger container and use a thicker cup. In warm temps a 98.6 degree hand can get the epoxy cooking off pretty quick, especially if Fast Hardener is used. Put the cup on a surface and hold the top edge when mixing vs cupping it in your hand. And I always put leftover epoxy outside when finished in case it gets warm, not uncommon to come back to melted cups.
Thread starter #18
Happened to me again in one of the larger mixing containers. Started heating up and shortly after the thing was boiling. So I finished the epoxy....It didn't turn out perfect, but I rather get the boat out than spend another day or 2 resanding and applying epoxy. I had 2 issues. One is when I turned the rudder/board over the coat the other side it developed "bumps" from the epoxy that attempted to drip off, but didn't quite make it off the wood. The other issue is the were some areas like the edges that didn't take epoxy well. In any case going to varnish it this weekend and hopefully get the boat out next weekend.