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Rudder & Tiller wood

don44

New Member
My tiller & rudder blade are shot, really could use replacement. What kind of wood is used for these parts? My boat is a Sunfish clone called a Star Dancer, which differs from Sunfish steering parts. This is not a common boat so I am sure I would not be able to find replacement parts. So I have to make them. Please be merciful to a non-sunfish owner....
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Any good strong hardwood, mahogany or ash for example... you're gonna varnish both rudder & tiller anyway, so you have choices. Mahogany can be heavy, you can go with hardwoods that are less dense, but avoid pine because it's not as strong as other hardwoods, and it gets dinged up more easily. :confused:

Teak is nice, but expensive... you might get away with varnished birch ply for the rudder, though I'd stick with solid hardwood myself. :cool:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
My boat is a Sunfish clone called a Star Dancer, which differs from Sunfish steering parts. This is not a common boat so I am sure I would not be able to find replacement parts. So I have to make them. Please be merciful to a non-sunfish owner....
Star Dancers aren't all that rare you can't locate another for your parts and spares; otherwise, mahogany.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Whoa, I took a little nap after dinner, but let's look at your options one more time, starting with the tiller. Mahogany is indeed a good choice, but not the only choice... look at other hardwoods used in similar applications. Baseball bats are often made of ash, and you know how strong those bats are even in their skinniest sections... sure, you can break one, but it takes some doing. Look at ax handles made of hickory, strong as can be... again, you can break one, but it takes some effort. There's no earthly reason why you can't make a tiller out of hickory, as long as you treat the wood afterward, and as long as you select a good piece of wood to start: no knots, no cracks or other possible weaknesses. Just varnish the wood once you're done, or treat it in some way to make it waterproof. :)

Of course, you don't have to use wood for your tiller, you can use aluminum, carbon fiber, whatever, as long as you start with the right piece suited to the purpose. As for the rudder, mahogany is again a good choice, but not your only option. If you have a good hardwood store near your home, you can walk in and check out what the place has to offer... just go with something strong, avoid soft pine which tends to crack or split over time. And be sure to treat the wood, that is also important, aye? Okay, just wanted to elaborate on that topic for a moment, as I've made several tillers & one rudder out of hardwood, and not one ever broke on me. Nothing wrong with good hardwood, and it's cheaper than carbon fiber, LOL. :cool:
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Before I return to my rack to crash, I should add this: for centuries, oak was used to build wooden ships, no need to buck tradition if you have a preference for oak. Strong hardwood, the mighty oak... alright, now I'm done, I'm off to La-La Land to dream of fair winds & following seas, and a good sturdy craft to sail. :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
I have done web search and have not found another - Where would you find one??
I found a recent one in California, but it was mis-named. (It's a "JY"--some other 14-foot sailboat).

Another "Star Dancer" was a huge cruise ship! Finding one may be a case of good timing. :confused:

This may help:


Made by EDO, so Star Dancer may be a (relatively popular) Porpoise clone. Parts may interchange. :)

Even better, and the author is on this forum! Try making a "Conversation" (PM).


In your searches, include your state. Try "Facebook Marketplace", "for sale near you", "Craigslist", or "sailing-texas", "stardancer". (Include the quotation marks).
 
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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
The daggerboard, from what I’ve read on this forum (search Star Dancer above) is interchangeable with the Sunfish, so easy to find, Check your measurements to be sure. If you’re not into making a rudder why don't you add an inspection port in the rear wall of that cool cubby and switch out your rudder gudgeon for an easily found Sunfish gudgeon? Then add a Sunfish rudder and you’re ready to sail. Other clone rudders with similar specs should also work. I put a Sunfish rudder on a Phantom and it worked out well, with no noticeable weather helm issues. The only concern is what kind of foam/flotation is in that Star Dancer stern? You may have to take a core sample of foam out to get to the gudgeon, but it’s a short distance. Here’s the image from this forum:
C05FAA23-82D9-4340-A55A-2DC32A92DFD3.jpeg
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Forgot to mention this last night, and you probably already know it if you've done any woodworking, but when you make that tiller you want it to run lengthwise with or along the grain of the wood. Most hardwood planks are milled that way with the grain running lengthwise, but I figured I'd mention it... you want maximum strength in that tiller, so run with the grain and not across it, aye? Just wanted to include that important point, though I'm pretty sure you already knew it. ;)
 

don44

New Member
Bender, I found the thread by Eckhardt who discovered that the rudder gudgeon had poor screw fasteners. The design of the Dancer rudder & tiller is weak, so your suggestion of changing it all to Sunfish stuff is likely my plan. Granted there are other Star Dancers out there, but the possibility of finding a rudder & tiller in good condition is minimal at best. The dagger board is fine. I just acquired this boat - I really wanted a Sunfish (Which was my first boat years ago) but around here, they are high priced if in any modicum of useable condition. Some day if I find a good Sunfish, I will go for it.
 

don44

New Member
By the way, if someone out there that has a real Star Dancer sail with the correct (?) insignia on it, I would be interested in a tracing. My sail has some sort of winged carp on it which I think is incorrect.
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
I took a little time to refresh my memory with regard to wooden ship construction, and I found some interesting trivia... certain woods like ash, teak, fir and cedar are naturally resistant to weathering and rot. Oak was often used in warships, not only for keel & frame members but for planking as well, since it was so stout against cannon fire. However, commercial vessels often went with different planking (fir & cedar were commonly used), as this lessened the likelihood of rot and prolonged the life of the hull... especially important in warm tropical seas. :cool:

Masts & spars were built of "softwoods" like spruce, fir, cedar, larch, and varieties of pine, not only because these trees grew straight and tall, but because they had the elasticity to "bend" in high winds & stormy weather. Combined with standing rigging, these softwoods gave the entire rig a bit of desired flexibility in harsh weather. Of course, some of the softwood masts & spars aboard warships were enormous, so they could still withstand some punishment. All very interesting to this student of history and admirer of wooden ships. :rolleyes:

When I was young, I built a model of the famous clipper ship Flying Cloud, which set records for speed during her voyages. Early clippers were made of wood but used iron fasteners, later versions had copper-sheathed bottoms to combat rot, worms, etc. Eventually clipper hulls were made of iron, but the early ships set amazing records for speed during the Age of Sail... the Flying Cloud was known as an "extreme clipper" because she had design elements which were all incorporated to maximize boat speed. Wouldn't it be cool to build a replica of the Flying Cloud out of carbon fiber, just to see how fast she would go? :eek:

Anyway, those were just a few interesting facts I dredged up during this morning's web jaunt... if I ever luck out and hit the Big Time, I'm gonna buy an old wooden schooner and bring her back to life, just for the bragging rights of tooling around in an old wooden schooner, LOL. We used to see a number of classic wooden schooners in the Tall Ship Parade in San Diego, and during mock sea battles on the bay, so there are still a few out there... keeping history & tradition alive, no doubt. Oh, well, maybe one day... right now I'm reduced to dealing with a camel, famous "Ship of the Desert!" ;)
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
By the way, if someone out there that has a real Star Dancer sail with the correct (?) insignia on it, I would be interested in a tracing. My sail has some sort of winged carp on it which I think is incorrect.
The “winged carp” is the correct sail, so if yours is in decent condition consider it rare! Picture is posted in the other thread. If it’s shot, get a new Sunfish sail from Intensity.D24FC34A-BAB5-4E70-8245-E1D9BCFB775C.jpeg
 
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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
I like the R/C ship! And the cradle/dolly setup! Very cool! :cool:

That ship is *almost* as pretty as little Phoenix, shown here at the table this morning:

IMG_0255.JPG

Okay, maybe as pretty, LOL... little Phoenix sure is a slender little kitty, she's only half the size of the other cats, and I guess she's not gonna grow any larger. Oh, well, she has a big heart and a wonderful disposition, and that's what counts in this sailor's home, aye? Cheers!!! :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
The “winged carp” is the correct sail, so if yours is in decent condition consider it rare! Picture is posted in the other thread. If it’s shot, get a new Sunfish sail from Intensity.
That ungainly "winged carp" emblem has appeared in discussions here of Porpoise and its manufacturer, EDO Western. 'Not saying the Carp is wrong for this, but I'd expect a Star Dancer emblem to look like a star, as don44 has imaged--above.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Boy, "ungainly" is right (you can shorten that to "ugly" by removing a few letters), and I can't think of a worse logo for a name like Star Dancer... whoever came up with the Flying Asian Carp logo must have been high on crack. :confused:

Hey, OP, I haven't hit the Big Time yet, but I did pretty well in my job interview today, so I may be back on track soon as far as work goes... and like my last job, this one has the paid holidays, paid vacay, retirement plan, etc. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!! :rolleyes:

I still can't believe my former employer (the city) let me go when I hollered at some fool of an inmate for smoking near fuel in the maintenance shed... a clear OSHA violation, go figure. Oh, well, just another example of PC bull$h!t outta control, time to soldier on & start another line of work. :D

Be nice to get back on track for sailing vacations in Dago! A friend just told me about the Bonhomme Richard fire, I don't watch news anymore so I missed it, but I used to occasionally see that ship while sailing on San Diego Bay... now the ship is toast, might as well make an artificial reef out of the burned-out hulk. ;)

Well, I reckon it's time for a celebratory beer, maybe a little Western action now that the job interview is behind me... for those of you in the same boat, so to speak, you already know that there are jobs out there, but GOOD jobs with benefits aren't so easy to find. And this one is close to my house, too... :cool:
 
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