Rudder blade repair

Thread starter #1
The wooden rudder blade of my 1978 Sunfish has split a chunk off down through the attachment holes. I am thinking of cutting a larger piece out of it , so the holes are not in line with the repair. Then attaching a new piece in place, with pins and epoxy. Then shape the new piece.

I see the blade had a pin of some sort inserted above the top hole. Any information about what it was made of?

I bet others have done this but I can't find any reference to it. Do you think it will stand up to use in the real world? Or any other suggestions.
Thanks Gary
 

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Webfoot1

Active Member
#2
Use brass bushings in the pivot holes to keep from splitting. If you have the
piece that split off you can epoxy and clamp it back together. If not I'd
square off the broken edge with a table saw and dowel the holes closed
before glueing on a new strip.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#3
The wood rudder of my 1978 Sunfish has split a chunk off down through the attachment holes. I am thinking of cutting a larger piece out of it , so the holes are not in line with the repair. Then attaching a new piece in place, with pins and epoxy. Then shape the new piece.
I see the rudder had a pin of some sort inserted above the top hole. Any information about what it was made of?
I bet others have done this but I can't find any reference to it. Do you think it will stand up to use in the real world? Or any other suggestions. Thanks Gary
As to the pin—I'll have to check outside—as I have three rudders here. Can you tell it's raining right now? :(

Try this link—a plus, as it comes with an additional link:
Repairing Split Rudder

Talking fix and/or replacement:
Rudder Cracked Today

.
 
#4
, so the holes are not in line with the repair.
I think a good repair will be stronger than most wood fiber, so I would cut to leave the best possible mating surface regardless of where the holes are. I think it’s cool that you are going to pin it too!
What Webfoot1 says I agree 100% now you have me thinking that maybe I need some metal reinforced holes in my dagger board.
 
Thread starter #5
Thanks, I will cut it out to get square surfaces , put three pins in and epoxy it all together. I'll practice on the old rudder first and then see if I want to put some long pins in a new rudder I have cut and shaped out of a nice piece of sapele. I think I will also look around for some brass bushings for the attachment holes also. They all seem to get worn out after a while. The old style rudders used plastic bushings for the tiller bolt.
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#7
Your idea would work but I would use thickened epoxy to mate the fracture surfaces back together and then put a hardwood dowel crossgrain just above the top hole. The splits we have seen run grainwise from the top, usually from slamming rudder up.

Then clean up the holes and fill them with thickened epoxy, drill new holes. The epoxy will be your bushing

The "pin" you mention is a hardwood dowel that is there to help prevent the grainwise split.

Either repair will be good. Long term if you use metal bushings you have to keep an eye out for dissimilar metal corrosion, esp around salt water.

Cheers!
 
#8
The new style rudder have a tendency to crack if you pulled them up by the tiller handle and they snap up. When they were just cracked it could be repaired with fiberglass both side at the top and it would still fit in the tiller handle. Your repair will work and with carefully raising and lowering it will last a long time. Even with the new all white fiberglass rudder I'm still careful on the raising and lowering.

1536748170742.png
 
Thread starter #9
Thanks all, L&VW the links were great. I've just finished the new rudder I have made from a piece of sapele. I used a TASK doweling jig and a long drill bit to make three holes. Epoxied in some hard maple dowels about 6 " into the edge. Jig even worked perfectly on the beveled edge. I did insert bushings while I was messing around with it.

Also put a dowel into the edge of the daggerboard as I noticed it was starting to crack also.

Now to fix the old broken rudder. Should be easy , just have to find a good piece, and make it fit to epoxy on.
 

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Webfoot1

Active Member
#12
Epoxy by itself breaks down under UV rays. What you're doing is
using epoxy as a filler/sealer. You apply epoxy to unfinished
wood and scrape off as much as you can with scraper before
it sets up. Spar varnish provides a UV barrier. Personally I
like to use just spar varnish as I can completely strip and start
over. There is UV resistant epoxy on the market but you might
fine it a real bear when it come time to refinish, or not.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
#13
Looks great! You don't need varnish unless you plan to leave the blades out in the sun. Not recommended to leave them out, varnish or not :)

We put West System 105 Epoxy Resin on ZIP with 207 Special Clear Hardener. Our Ships' Carpenter buddy recommended it, it is what he uses on interior brightwork and said it would be good on ZIP, who sleeps indoors or under a cover. 2 coats of epoxy is good for sealing.
Zip rudder chain.jpg

Thanks for posting the info.
 

mixmkr

Active Member
#15
West has a UV resistant epoxy....but unless you leave it outside all the time, like Signal says, the regular is fine too. I have a set of blades to prove it also. I KNOW I'm right :)
 
Thread starter #16
Good information. Nice to know my local shop Noah’s in Toronto also advised two coats of epoxy and then varnish. I did use West resin and 207 hardener. I just sanded it a little tonight and will use Epiphanes varnish when I get some warm weather.

Meanwhile l picked up a piece of oak to splice into the old broken rudder. Made the first cuts to fit it in and will pin and epoxy it together in the next few days.
 
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