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ocollin1
09-13-2007, 08:33 AM
I plan on building the Whittolz 17 some day. (That leaves it pretty loose don't ya think !?)

I'm going to start putting some lumber away for the future.

What's the right way to make a tiller? Should it be laminated or could it be a single heartwood "core" of a small log?

Thanks,

Steve

Jim Ledger
09-13-2007, 08:38 AM
Forget the tiller.

Don't put wood away. Buy it as you need it.

Get a few sheets of plywood.

Loft the boat.

Joe (SoCal)
09-13-2007, 08:47 AM
Forget the tiller.

Don't put wood away. Buy it as you need it.

Get a few sheets of plywood.

Loft the boat.

Agreed ;) get in to it man, what-cha-waitin-fer. :D

Oh and if'n ya need help with yer tiller ya can't find a better Tillerman Than Jim "The Legend" Ledger ;)

paladin
09-13-2007, 09:19 AM
Find an area for a single sheet of plastic coated MDF and loft the boat...the frames can be flat 1 x 4 stock and the stem, keel etc can be laminated from the same material....if you have some room and time or even stuck inside during winter or bad weather days, cut the wood strips or parts for the spars and laminate them up. They will be the small bits and pieces that you will need as the hull nears completeion, make cleats etc when you can't work on the main hull.....the small stuff can be made from smaller pieces of hardwoods.

ocollin1
09-13-2007, 09:20 AM
Thanks for the very practical advice! But...

I havn't even bought the plans yet ! I also need to learn how to loft !

Oh, and did I mention there's no garage yet to build her in !

That's why I'm little more in a philosophical/daydream mode.

I also happen to get all my own lumber off my land and can pick and choose what I keep for furniture.

It really was a quick question so I can look whistfully at my woodpile and dream of which piece will become the tiller.

Thanks,

Steve

Thorne
09-13-2007, 10:38 AM
Well, get the plans first -- how else would you know the dimensions?

Assuming a curved tiller is required - I'd look for a curved piece that might match your needs. Failing that, a straight piece that you could gradually bend.

Bruce Hooke
09-13-2007, 11:15 AM
For a tiller with a lot of curve you can either laminate or steam bend or find a board with the right natural bend in it. For a reasonably straight tiller you can just cut it out of a nice hardwood board; if the board does not have knots and there is little or no grain runout then such a tiller will be just as strong as a laminated tiller. Of course you could still laminate the tiller if you like the look, but that would be an aesthetic decision not a decision driven by necessity.

Two things should be noted:

1. You don't want to use the very center of a log for just about anything. Including the pith (the center of the tree) in a board pretty much guarantees that the board will check down to the pith from one or more sides. For big beams you sometimes have to put up with this, but you certainly should not include the pith in a smaller board if you can in any way avoid it.

2. If you are harvesting the wood from your own land, then to get a piece of wood large enough for the tiller while staying in the heartwood and avoiding the pith, you are going to need at least a medium size tree, say on the order of 7" or so in diameter. It would probably be more efficient to cut down a somewhat larger tree, say in the 10" range and saw the whole thing up for lumber rather than just trying to get out enough wood for a tiller. A tiller does not really need to be all heartwood, so I suppose you could go with a smaller diameter tree, but it still seems like it would be more efficient not to cut down a whole tree just to get a tiller.

outofthenorm
09-13-2007, 11:19 AM
I get it Steve. Yer in wistful dreamin' mode. Remember that the tiller is the part you'll caress most often. It should be strong, limber, beautiful and probably curvy. A grown curve is always best, all heartwood, not necesarily boxed but could be - there might be a perfect branch of ash or oak (or something more unusual) in offcuts from your woodlot. Get some plans, pick out a piece of wood and make a tiller just for the practice.

Does no harm to start cutting and shaping and smoothing.

- Norm

edited to add: Someone here must have the Wittholz plans. Couldn't we loft a tiller pattern and send it to Steve?

ocollin1
09-13-2007, 11:40 AM
Thanks Guys,

Now I know which direction to go in. As I fell trees for firewood I can keep certain sections for future boat building uses.

FYI here's a few of the less than common species in my woodlot:

Serviceberry (Amelanchier canadensis)
Butternut (Juglans cinerea)
Eastern Hop Hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana)

Also, White ash, hard & soft maple, yellow birch, beech.

rbgarr
09-13-2007, 12:22 PM
I've mentioned honey locust before but it doesn't look like you have that. Go with white ash!

Texasgaloot
09-13-2007, 12:36 PM
...Go with white ash!

I have a friend who carved a tiller for his Columbia 26 out of a single piece of teak. He then inlaid it with mother of pearl; it looked more like a fancy guitar fingerboard.;)

The point is, of course, beauty is in the eye of the builder. Ash is used quite often for tillers. On the other hand, I have a friend who has done some impressive duck carving in butternut; it can finish up beautifully, but will not have the same strength as ash. With a 17' boat, I'm skeptical that strength will be at the top of your list. My $0.0034, adjusted for inflation.

JimD
09-13-2007, 12:42 PM
I also need to learn how to loft

Nuttin' easier than lofting a chined plywood boat. You probably already intuitively know just about everything you'll need to learn about that part of it.

Bruce Hooke
09-13-2007, 01:03 PM
...not necesarily boxed but could be...

If you box (include) the heartwood, it WILL check. I just don't see why boxing the pith would be a good idea for a tiller. The pith is also quite weak so including the pith will make for a weak tiller.

outofthenorm
09-13-2007, 06:56 PM
If you box (include) the heartwood, it WILL check. I just don't see why boxing the pith would be a good idea for a tiller.

Don't want to be argumentative, but I didn't say it should be boxed, just that it could be. My last boat - a 1954 vintage 5.5 metre - had a curved, grown boxed ash tiller - virtually no run-out and the heart visible at both ends. In fact the inner end was pretty well all heart because it was only about 1 inch in diameter. No checks, no splits, no problems after 22 years when I sold her. I think it may depend on how well dried the wood is before it's shaped. Just shows there are few real absolutes in boat building.

- Norm

almeyer
09-13-2007, 09:58 PM
I also need to learn how to loft !


Steve,
Lofting the Wittholz 17 shouldn't be that difficult, if it's the one I'm thinking of. There are several books that give good instructions on lofting, Greg Rossel's "Building Small Boats" is one that I like. There's also on-line instruction, try this link:

http://facstaff.colstate.edu/linton_ronald/Lofting%20W24/lofting.htm

Al

Bruce Hooke
09-14-2007, 12:11 AM
Don't want to be argumentative, but I didn't say it should be boxed, just that it could be. My last boat - a 1954 vintage 5.5 metre - had a curved, grown boxed ash tiller - virtually no run-out and the heart visible at both ends. In fact the inner end was pretty well all heart because it was only about 1 inch in diameter. No checks, no splits, no problems after 22 years when I sold her. I think it may depend on how well dried the wood is before it's shaped. Just shows there are few real absolutes in boat building.

- Norm

I'll have to believe you that the tiller on your boat included the pith and had not checked. In my experience it is quite rare for wood not to check if includes the pith. I don't think it has anything to do with how long or well the wood was dried before the piece was shaped. The problem derives from the fact that wood shrinks more "around" that in does "in" (towards the pith), so as it tries to shrink around the pith a lot of tension is set up in the outer surface which almost always leads to checking. Woods where there is not so much difference between the tangential and radial shrinkage rates will check less, as will smaller pieces of wood, and the latter may be what saved your tiller.

The only sure-fire way I know of to avoid this is to treat the freshly cut wood with PEG, which stabilizes the wood and prevents it from shrinking, but this a relatively difficult and expensive solution mostly saved for more unusual pieces of wood.

So, I stand by my opinion that it is not a good idea to include the pith if you have a choice.