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Thread: wood core rudder question

  1. #106
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    This morning the other side of the primary rudder got a coating of "sealer" epoxy. The carbon strip on that side decided to drink some in, too, so I might have been kinda skimpy with the juice when I bonded it. Vacuum Bag #2 is tomorrow! I have a buddy coming over to help so there will be two pairs of hands. MUCH better..
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  2. #107
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Yesterday the primary rudder got vacuum-bagged. My friend Greg S. came over in the afternoon and between 1:00-5:00 we got it done. We prepped all the fabric before beginning, and with the two of us it was immensely easier than doing it alone. The rudder sat under vacuum and heat for about 2 1/2 hours before I turned stuff off and went to Burns Night. I'll un-bag it this morning. The only downside is that one end slipped off the sawhorse while I was adjusting it and fell about 10 inches straight down on my toes. I now have a broken big toe on my right foot. I'm headed to Urgent Care here in Palo Alto later this morning for some x-rays and probably a boot to wear for a month. There goes what remains of any training during the Highland Games off-season. I'm not terribly happy about that.

    While we were at it, I cut off some extra flash on one edge of the E rudder stock and Greg got some 6 oz. glass and epoxy on it. I got two layers of 6 oz glass on the bottom of the e-rudder, so that is getting very close to being done.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  3. #108
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Sorry to learn of the toe injury-at least the rudder seems to have survived the trauma.I hope the end result justifies the pain and effort.

  4. #109
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    I de-bagged the primary rudder today. This time the bleeder has pulled a significant amount of epoxy out of the mixture. 93% of the rudder is absolutely pristine. The bonding is tight, the weave is filled, the peel-ply finish is smooth. The center of the rudder where the loads will be highest is rock-solid. The ends aren't so great, and a bunch of glass will need to be cut off and patched in. The lower, aft corner of the trailing edge , well the glass got folded over somehow in the bag on one side, so there's about 4 inches of the trailing edge of that curve that will have to be patched in. However, this is a low-load zone so it's no biggie. There's one sort-of medium-sized bubble in the aft part of the transition from "boxy" to "foil" that I'm attempting to heat up and mash down. I've slit it with a razor, got some epoxy under it and a bigass Highland Games weight, which is round, is sitting on it overnight. Yeah there are some bits here and there that will need cutting out and patching in. But all in all, this rudder is a *Significant* improvement over the E-rudder. It will be plenty strong. Wherever the loads are high, the glasswork is really solid. I'm pleased.

    After an uncomfortable night, I went to Urgent Care this morning. The PA melted a hole in my toenail, which soon was very messy. However, that relieved a lot of pressure. X Rays, to my surprise, reveal that there is no break. Considering the pain and spectacular colors I figure it broke for sure. I've spent the day in an open toe'd orthotic shoe, and managed to walk several blocks around Berkeley to go to a concert and meet Mrs. Alan H's nephew for dinner. No surgery. No titanium pin in the toe.....things could be worse.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  5. #110
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    John, this has been a LOT of work. However, I've learned a tremendous amount and so far the results are surprisingly good. They're not perfect, but they're awfully good. I'm about $500 into the project of building two rudders. If I'd bought a single rudder from Custom Composites aka Phils Foils, it would have been around $2400. I can see why, considering the labor. When it's all done, I think my primary rudder is going to be comparable to a Pro job.

    I'm really glad I practiced on the emergency rudder, first.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  6. #111
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    OK, here are some close-ups of the laminate, taken in the middle of the rudder where the stresses are highest. I'm very pleased!

    IMG_0238-sm.jpg

    IMG_0242-sm.jpg
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  7. #112
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    It's not perfect. In the interests of honesty and helping the poor sucker who comes along next month or next year and reads this thread as preparation for making their own rudder...here goes. This first one is likely a result of deciding to slam the upper edge of the rudder into my big toe.

    IMG_0240-sm.jpg

    While it's bagged, under vacuum and taking heat from some space heaters, the rudder is suspended by two bolts, one at each end, driven into the ends of the rudder. Each bolt sticks out 3-4 inches and the structure rests on that, on the sawhorses. After it went *crash* and I screamed a lot, my friend Greg S. and I pushed it back up on the sawhorse but probably caused this displacement. It's not a big deal, as it's not in a high-load area. I'll cut it off, grind it flat and wrap the top 5-inches of the rudder with another layer of triaxial, anyway.

    The bottom of the rudder is kind of ugly. We got layers of breather in between the glass and the wood, so that messed it up. Also, one side of the cloth got turned over in the bag, but we couldn't see that through the breather. Ah, well... I'll have to grind out and fix that trailing edge, but again, not a super high-load area.

    IMG_0243-sm.jpg

    down here, "smooth" is the most important thing and I can make it smooth.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  8. #113
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    One side of the rudder was essentially perfect. There's some minimal fairing to do. The bottom, you've seen. There's only one flaw on the other side, and the weight you see in the above picture is how I tried to fix it.

    Attachment 10288
    After I unbagged it, I found a "bubble" where the rudder shape transitions from the "boxy" stock to the smooth foil shape. I cut the semi-hard laminate in this area with a razor in the longitudinal direction in a couple of places. Basically, I "popped the bubble". Then I warmed it up pretty good with a heat gun until it was really flexible. I smooshed some fresh epoxy underneath it. Then I added some weight and let it sit overnight! it worked! Now, the whole bubble is not "perfect" some of it will have to be ground down and faired, but the part I smooshed with the weight and chain actually conformed to the wood pretty well. It just needs to be faired, now.

    I've shown you all the flaws. The other side is essentially ~perfect~. Seriously, 95% of this job is perfect. The parts that aren't are easily fixable/fair-able and mostly in low-load areas. This is SO much better than the emergency rudder. I'm stoked.

    Here's a view of the table and layout. You can see my trucks rear-view mirror on the right. The truck wasn't there when we did the layup on this table.

    Attachment 10289
    Last edited by Alan H; 01-29-2018 at 03:46 PM.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  9. #114
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    The black stuff is the linear carbon fiber strap, laid directly on the wood, under the triaxial fiberglass. It should add significant stiffness to the structure.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  10. #115
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    You did well.I have never achieved perfection and don't get too upset about one or two stray fibres.I tend to sheathe my foils on their side and use a piece of melamine faced ply to create a fair trailing edge.

    S4200020.jpg
    You can see that I prefer hi-vis peelply.
    S4200029.JPG

    S4200032.JPG

  11. #116
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    I actually have some leftover melamine from making our countertops, 20 years ago. Actually putting them in the bag is a brilliant idea.

    Thanks for your kind words John, and for following along in this thread. I'm very glad I learned what I did on the Emergency rudder. This came out better than I hoped. Sure, it's not perfect, but it will be strong and fair when I'm done and I've learned a tremendous amount along the way.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  12. #117
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    This weekend I cut off the "flash", the excess fiberlass, with a cutoff wheel on a Dremel rotary tool. Well, OK, I have the Craftsman version of that tool. man, that thing is the ticket for that job. I ground out the worst of the "bubbles", not that they're bad, with an attachment on that tool as well.

    What remains is the following...
    1.) fill in the cut-out "bubbles" space and the "folded over" part at the bottom with a mixture of glass fibers in epoxy, and build them up to more-or-less flush with the rest of the rudder.
    2.) get a layer or two of 6 ounce cloth on the bottom...sand and fair
    3.) the trailing edge is a little thick, it's pretty darned straight, just thick. So I'm going to buy a 4 foot long strip of pultruded fiberglass rod, square in cross section rather than round. It'll be 1/4 inch on a side. I'll epoxy it in there on the trailing edge and fair it. That should give a nice, squared-off edge.
    4.) once over the whole rudder with epoxy/microballoons to fill any little divots or places where the peel ply didn't quite stick
    5.) paint - probably a two-part epoxy below the waterline and Interlux enamel above the waterline. Below the waterline will get two coats of black Petit Hydrocoat antifouling
    6.) Install the custom pintles that I'm having made at my local welders
    7.) Install and sail

    All of this is pretty obvious to anybody else coming along in the future who is thinking about making their own rudder, so I think I'll leave this thread until the rudder is done. That's why I did the thread in the first place, for the next poor slob that thinks they want to build their own transom-hung rudder. There's no point in belabouring it. I'll post one last pic of the rudder before I mount it on the boat and call it good.
    Last edited by Alan H; 02-05-2018 at 02:42 PM.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  13. #118
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Are you certain about epoxying a strip of glass to the trailing edge?The bond area won't be too large and a knock might dislodge it.Definitely a good idea to do any remedial work and fairing now and you may be impressed by the quality of what you reveal.The whole process is a lot of work but this is offset by the knowledge that you could not have bought a better rudder.

  14. #119
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    John, if you look here: http://www.libertypultrusions.com/wp...y-Imperial.pdf

    you'll see that this company sells square-cross-section pultruded rod. If it's got 1/4 inch on a side, and the epoxy oozes up the sides a little bit (or I help it along in that regard) I bet I can get half an inch of bonding there.

    However, today I got out the ruler and actually measured the width of my trailing edge. Up at the point where it starts flaring out to the taper leading to the rudder "stock", it's about 3/8ths thick. At the bottom, just before where the curve starts that fairs the trailing edge into the bottom of the rudder, it's exactly 1/4 inch thick. In the intervening 4 feet, it very slowly and remarkably evenly, tapers from that 3/8ths to 1/4. I'm actually quite surprised that I got it so well shaped.

    Conclusion... I think I'll mix up some epoxy and wood dough and make a strong trailing edge out of that stuff and leave off the pultruded square rod after all.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  15. #120
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Actually, I bought the s.s. bits for the rudder gudgeons today. $90 at my local metal supply place. That's just the cut and punched pieces of stainless, which still need to be welded together. Considering as Rig-Rite doesn't carry rudder pintles with 5/8ths inch pin holes, or holes larger than that which allow for a bushing between the pintle and the pin, I kind of had to do this. IN fact, NOBODY but Rudder Craft carries them, and RC won't sell theirs.

    The closest thing that Rig-Rite has takes a 1/2 inch pin (not 5/8ths) has two holes (not three like mine) for bolts through the rudder, has 1 1/2 inch straps (same as mine) and is used on old Pearson 27's. Here are the specs on the P-27

    Displacement 5800 lbs.
    Ballast 2175 lbs.
    Sail Area 330 sq. ft.

    Here are the specs on my boat

    Displacement 4500 lbs
    Ballast 1750
    Sail Area 326 sq ft.

    I think I'm good to go as what I'm building is constructed the same way as those P-27 rudder gudgeons are, only beefier. You have to ask Rig-Rite for a quote to get a price on those puppies, they don't list the price on the website but I would guess they're around $350 a pair. Schaefers cast stainless J-24 gudgeons are $150 each, $300 a pair at West Marine. J-29/J-30 rudder gudgeons, some of which are which are welded up, others are cast, both take a 1-inch pin, are $450 a pair.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  16. #121
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    I would take welded fittings over cast every day of the week-and for any function except ballast.

  17. #122
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Quote Originally Posted by John Meachen View Post
    I would take welded fittings over cast every day of the week-and for any function except ballast.
    That's encouraging to hear! I'm waiting on the estimate from my welding guy. Hopefully he'll come in at< $100 each if I do all the surface prep.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  18. #123
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    It appears that I'm continuing to update.

    Today I filled in all the places that didn't bond well under vacuum. I cut up a mess of fibers from leftover triaxial cloth and mixed them in to some epoxy. Then I artistically applied this stuff, which I will call "flooge", by hand to all the appropriate places. I had to go to TAP plastics for another quart of epoxy and hardener. While I was there I bought some 4-inch wide glass tape. The top of the rudder, where the tiller straps will be, is now wrapped in two layers of tape in epoxy.

    This is probably preposterous overkill, but you know, halfway to Hawaii or something, I might be glad I did that.

    I also used an abrasive wheel to take all the scale off all the stainless bits that will be used for the pintles. That way I will pay the welder to weld, not spend an hour cleaning pieces of stainless.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  19. #124
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Much sanding today, even work with a little wood rasp to knock down some bulky fiberglass. Then I slathered fairing compound on one side. I think there's a light at the end of this tunnel.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  20. #125
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question


    As part of my rudder-making experiment, I made an emergency rudder "for practice". Besides, to do the event I want to do in 2020, I have to have an emergency rudder setup, so I figured I might as well make one.


    The strips of redwood that make up the core of that rudder were glued with PL Premium.

    Here's an offcut from the emergency rudder that I tried to torque apart - redwood-glue'd up with with PL Preminum polyurethane adhesive. You'll note that the wood broke before the joint gave up. Admittedly, it broke near a knot. However, I physically could not break the other parts of this offcut with my bare hands and I'm a pretty strong dude. The bonding surfaces that I could not break are about 1.5 inch by 1.5 inch.


    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  21. #126
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    As a result of that test, I'm pretty confident in the overall strength of good old PL Premium. Whether it's actually cheaper than epoxy, not sure. However, it comes in relatively idiot-proof caulking-gun tubes, it's available at any hardware store, and it's brain-dead easy to use. Whether it stands up to repeated cycling as well as epoxy, I leave it to the experts to test and measure.

    Down the line a couple of years I will build a 15-18 foot boat to do the Texas 200 in. Since my hopes to build Frank Z's lugger have kind of fizzled ( no fault of Franks) I will probably knock together a super-simple sailing skiff, which is in keeping with the DIY, QAD nature of the T200. I'm sure the boat will be marine fir ply from Home Depot, copper nails, PL Premium, and 1 x 2's also from Home Depot.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  22. #127
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    That should demonstrate that the glue is stronger than the wood it is bonding,as indeed is PVA.At which point you have to ask what more can you hope to achieve.In the particular case of a rudder you can even have a foam core with a glass sheathing where the core is quite weak and brittle and yet the entire component is adequately strong.Your well glued wooden core and a glass sheathing should cope with all normal sailing loads easily.

  23. #128
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    OOps. That was supposed to go in the "polyurethane glue" thread! gack!
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  24. #129
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    It's been two days of fairing compound, waiting, and sanding... The important stuff is really smooth. The fore and aft edges of the rudder, above the waterline, not so much, but that doesn't really matter.

    Tuesday night I go to my friend Len's house and we grind, shine and weld the gudgeons.
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  25. #130
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    I planned out the tiller head fitting today, and made the tiller. Also, there was much sanding, and final fairing of the trailing edge. For northern California, it's bluidy cold right now. It will go below freezing tonight. These temperatures make it tough to get the epoxy to kick off. I store the rudder in the garage overnight, and work in the driveway on the days I can, which this weekend has been all three days..
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  26. #131
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    For cold weather,I find a sheet of plastic over the job and a light bulb beneath it can work wonders.

  27. #132
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    It was welding night at my friend Lens house last night. I bought him a new tank of argon and two tubes of different sized stainless welding wire, and stood around while he did all the work! I also saw Lens new "toy"...he says that he doesn't golf or have other expensive hobbies, so why not. New toy is a 3-D, 6-head CNC metal lathe, complete with vacuum evacuated enclosure. Dang.....

    Bevelling the edges to give some room for the weld puddle to settle into..

    IMG_0273.jpg

    IMG_0274.jpg

    IMG_0277.jpg

    IMG_0278.JPG
    Attached Images Attached Images
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

  28. #133
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    Default Re: wood core rudder question

    Here's my Custom Boat Jewelry, all cleaned up. Hmm... actually it needs another going-over with the wheel, but that's OK. I was seriously impressed by the fact that the after-welding contraction of the diagonal bracing pieces actually bent the 3/8ths thick piece that everything is welded to. That piece is 3/8 x 1/ 1/2 x 3 it's pretty seriously stiff.

    IMG_0280.jpg

    IMG_0282.jpg
    CLC Skerry = "Vingilothiel"

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