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Restoring a Split Rudder

DiMoCA

New Member
Well it's repaired. 3.5" deck screw, thickened epoxy and some bowtime joints. We'll see.
View attachment 41864
This looks amazing. Can I ask what tool you used to rout the bowtie joints, and cut the bowties so precisely? Did you have the rudder strapped together when you cut them out? I am a glazier, not a woodworker. The Google based research I've just done suggests that you need a router, which for me is going to be a Dremel tool....
 

Cam's Minifish

New Member
I cut them by hand. I eyeballed the bowtie shapes, traced them onto the rudder using a knife, penciled in the line so it didn't get lost, then cut them using mallet and chisels. There's actually three bowties as only one bowtie goes through and through. The other two only go about half way and as such you can't see the other on the flip side. The only trick was that the split that goes through had cracked horizontally and as such ends up at a different spot on the other side. To figure out where it came out, I drilled a small hole through one side of the split to see it came out relative to the other, then cut the bowtie mortise to split the difference. This is why the bottom bowtie isn't centered on the crack. If you're making multiples, make sure you mark which bowtie goes where and the orientation (speaking from experience :confused:). When I cut the bowties, I had already thrown through the 3.5" deck screw, so the rudder was strong enough that I didn't need to strap it, simply c-clamped it down to my bench. This was my first time cutting this joint, so thanks for the compliment in regards to fit. I used piece of pear wood I had lying around, which I think turned out nicely, maple was my second choice. I'm a librarian, so this should be easy for a glazier, :) use sharp chisels, cut about a 1/16 inside the line, pare to final form, then block sand bowtie to fit. Remember, wood filler (or epoxy in this case) always makes things fit better ;) Send a picture when you're done.
 
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DiMoCA

New Member
I'm wondering now if I might get away without the bowtie joints at all, and stick with the West 610? The cracks go through the blade, but they're not as severe as what you started with. More like Breeze Bender's at the top of the thread. I'm all about minimum intervention, and I can always go back later and add more.... something... if it re-splits. Any opinions all?
 

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Cam's Minifish

New Member
I'm wondering now if I might get away without the bowtie joints at all, and stick with the West 610? The cracks go through the blade, but they're not as severe as what you started with. More like Breeze Bender's at the top of the thread. I'm all about minimum intervention, and I can always go back later and add more.... something... if it re-splits. Any opinions all?
Having done it only once, I defer to those with more experience, but when you clean out the split, you'll want to see some daylight in order to ensure that the epoxy has gone through. I think with a 3" screw it should be fine, especially if you have a drill press. I'm really bad at making sure that I'm completely vertical when drilling and given the length of the screw and the thickness of the rudder, I'd probably pop it out one of the sides.

On a different note, I didn't realize there was a bushing where the tiller bolt goes. Is there another one under the rudder cheek fitting? I looked at the sunfish parts catalog and couldn't find it in the parts list. They do list a nylon "bushing" though in my vernacular it's more of a washer.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I'm wondering now if I might get away without the bowtie joints at all, and stick with the West 610? The cracks go through the blade, but they're not as severe as what you started with. More like Breeze Bender's at the top of the thread. I'm all about minimum intervention, and I can always go back later and add more.... something... if it re-splits. Any opinions all?
Your rudder has two cracks, at the usual stress areas. If the cracks follow the grain in such a way that a metal-cutting saber saw blade will "follow" the crack, then that's what I would do. Thixo or 6-Ten epoxy can then be introduced to the crack(s): Syringe Glue Applicator Liquid Injection Dispenser&3 Gift Dispensing I6O3 N P9E9 | eBay

Wherever the bushing came from, it was a good idea; however, esteemed member Signal Charlie says to fill the holes with epoxy mix, and drill to size. While the drill is out, drill two (or three) parallel holes in the forward edge to help clamp the crack closed. (However, external clamping—where practical—is desirable). Use the longest drill-bit you have, and "sighting" a straight hole will be easier.

The third hole (down) can take advantage of the damage on the leading edge. Add any wood—or a mix of sawdust and epoxy mix—and shape it to conform to the edge's factory taper.

A tight fit for driving the screw in should be avoided, as it tensions the wood in wrong directions. I'd test the screw and hole size on a scrap of hardwood. Tightening ("snugging") should be done by hand.

Depending on the internal shape of the screw head, a washer should be used until the epoxy is set. After countersinking (if necessary) reinsert the screw afterwards.

I'm undecided on adding epoxy-mix when inserting the screw(s). :confused:
 

DiMoCA

New Member
Oh my. Your advice is appreciated; it's a pity that I do not appear to speak the language! I work as a conservator of museum objects, specifically glass and ceramics, and minimum intervention on original material has been drilled into me for decades. So:

- Must I really cut into the rudder with a jigsaw blade, enlarging the crack to accommodate more epoxy fill? I had planned to spread the existing edges of the larger crack apart, inject the 6-10, force as much as I can fit into the surfaces of the smaller crack, and clamp the pieces to set.

- How would drilling three additional holes in "the forward edge" (of the rudder? or the crack?) help clamp it closed? I have quick-grip clamps and can cut a piece of wood in a V shape, to fit around the blade edges and keep them in plane while clamping from the outside. The whole idea of drilling more holes gives me the fantods.

- Right now there is a small wood peg, with what looks to be original varnish on the inset head, just above the bushing hole and going crosswise to the crack. I was going to take advantage of this by drilling my hole for the brass screw there, countersinking the head as you say. But why would I insert it twice? Won't the hole made by the first insertion and removal, weaken the final installation?

Honestly I don't care about the look of the rudder; I just want to get back in the water before it gets too cold up here.
 

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