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Thread: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

  1. #1
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    Default How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    The plans for my Beg-Meil show basic construction details for both the rudder and the tiller, but no direction or suggestion is provided for connecting the two. The rudder blade fits with a pair of cheeks that allow the rudder to swing up. The top of the cheek assembly has a slot into which the tiller can be inserted, but there is no mention of how to fix it in place. A simple pin thru the plywood "ears" and thru the tiller itself is one way. Is there a "standard" or preferred means? Please see the photos below of the work-in-progress. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

    IMG_0867.jpg

    IMG_0866.jpg

    IMG_0865.jpg

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    You can drill a hole through the tiller and both sides of the rudder head then thread a piece of line about the same diameter as the hole with a knot on each end. If the fit is nice this works surprisingly well with minimal fuss, and little danger of failing.

    Another option is to trim the tiller flush with the back of the head and screw on a turning toggle. These work well as long as they don't come loose.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    The small cheeks holding the actual tiller look like they could use a pivot bolt back to the main cheeks that allow the rudder blade to pivot.
    All the sailboats I have bought, borrowed, or built all have had some sort of pivot from tiller to rudder.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    It's been done every which way you can imagine. But as Spot say, you really want the tiller to pivot up. It makes switching sides when tacking far easier, and there's no perfect height for everyone. The farthest it can drop would be knee clearance for an average person. On this point, that red line in Spot's illustration should really run straight forward, contacting the tiller to set the lowest point it will drop. But the aft part does need to curve down so the tiller can be raised.

    Also, when at anchor, it's nice to be able to get it completely out of the way. As far as locating it, in the above scenario the cheeks would be screwed and bonded to the tiller. For the pivot, I've always favored quick-release pins of one kind or another so it can be pulled and fitted without tools.

    I would also beef up those cheeks. You really don't want to risk having the tiller snap loose. Even on a smaller boat, it can get loaded very heavily at times.
    -Dave

  5. #5
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    On this point, that red line in Spot's illustration should really run straight forward, contacting the tiller to set the lowest point it will drop. But the aft part does need to curve down so the tiller can be raised.
    True, true. Edits are the green lines.
    spot_wb_cheeks2.jpg

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Make a mockup from scrap wood, and butcher it until it works how you want it.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    A pin,on a lanyard,aft of the stock would work.As would a hook on the tiller,to be pulled into place by a loop of shockcord.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Thanks all for the great suggestions! I like the idea of being able to raise the tiller. I will take Nick's suggestion and mock something up. I'll post some more photos and solicit more suggestions.

    Regards,

    Dean

  9. #9
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Unless you really want to pivot the tiller, then use the slope, from fore to aft where the tiller enters the rudder cap. On the Morbic, it is 40 mm down to 36 mm. I made the tiller, then screwed the rudder cap into place to produce a tight fit, ot the right slope, so that the tiller jams into place. The surface of the inside groove is rough, and I think that will keep the tiller in place ... but I will fig a lanyard as well, just in case.
    I like your laminated tiller,

  10. #10
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    If you use something like a helm impeder or something similar it will keep your tiller in your rudder and it is very handy to have on a dinghy.

    For tilting the tiller up, wouldn't the pivot point have to be right at the forward part of the slot rather than in the middle?

    I'm fine with mine not tilting. Crew can stay out of the arc of the tiller and if I need it out of the way for lying about I remove the whole shebang.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    I definitely like my tiller to swivel to vertical. I would be very frustrated having a tiller that only ran horizontally--just takes up too much space when I want to be sitting in my sternsheets lounger, or digging stuff out from under the aft deck under the tiller.

    It hasn't been mentioned on this thread, but another option is to run the tiller outside the rudder cheeks rather than inside. Run a bolt or pin through the entire thing--rudder and tiller--and it pivots up nicely, with a wingnut or retaining pin to hold the tiller on the pivot bolt. It always seems far less complicated to me to do it this way, and probably stronger (depending on how you design the tiller arms to fit around the rudder cheeks), though it doesn't look as sleek and streamlined as running the tiller inside. That's the way I've always done it on my boats.

    Tom
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Here are the three ensembles currently 'in the yard'. My guess is that the OP's plans are to make something sort of like the Omega but with more of a handcrafted look being made from wood rather than metals.
    spot_wb_rudders1.jpgspot_wb_rudders2.jpg

  13. #13
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom;[URL="tel:6727057"
    6727057[/URL]]
    It hasn't been mentioned on this thread, but another option is to run the tiller outside the rudder cheeks rather than inside. Run a bolt or pin through the entire thing--rudder and tiller--and it pivots up nicely, with a wingnut or retaining pin to hold the tiller on the pivot bolt. It always seems far less complicated to me to do it this way, and probably stronger (depending on how you design the tiller arms to fit around the rudder cheeks), though it doesn't look as sleek and streamlined as running the tiller inside. That's the way I've always done it on my boats.
    Another vote for this. Jim Michalak and Dave Carnell, two highly simplifying boat designers both make them this way.

    597C1E07-2A15-42A3-B923-6A3D4E55413A.jpg

    Carnell mentions in his plans that the 1/4” bolt through the tiller ahead of the rudder notch is important for preventing splitting.

    Heres Jim Michalak’s article on rudders: http://www.jimsboats.com/1mar22.htm
    Dreaming of sailing in Iowa, building a Carnell Nutmeg.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    This is the simplest system that I know of.



    The tiller drops over the rudder top and hooks into the notch at the back, and is then rotated down to its final position.

    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    I would also beef up those cheeks. You really don't want to risk having the tiller snap loose. Even on a smaller boat, it can get loaded very heavily at times.
    I agree! I’ve broken two homemade tiller/rudder joints on friend’s boats. One time I was trying to help her around a tack by using the rudder to ‘push’ by sculling and the other was when it was really windy and we had some serious weather helm. Luckily we were able to limp in to the marina.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Here is an image of an older Beg-Meil, built pre-CNC kit, with a tiller attachment as described by Nick:
    6F8351A9-27CE-4BC5-B13A-3A5787E5A002.jpg
    And here, a couple of images of the CNC designed rudderhead/tiller on a CNC Ilur:
    70898C54-046B-4B9E-A111-DA1525974D88.jpg
    F329616E-88A0-4DEE-9E6E-EBD228FA96CC.jpg
    I have not had any issues with the rudder head being insufficiently stout. This is the second tiller—it is a bit larger in cross section to make hardware attachment for a Huntingford helm impeder easier, and it is a bit longer than Vivier originally specified. The lower picture shows a bronze pin to prevent tiller loss, though it would take a catastrophic upset for it to become necessary. I also altered the aft/upper area of the rudder blade to allow more complete lifting out of the water, which is a benefit on the beach or under oars.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Thanks John, thanks Nick. My assumptions were incorrect.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    This is the simplest system that I know of.



    The tiller drops over the rudder top and hooks into the notch at the back, and is then rotated down to its final position.

    I really like this--it makes instant removal of the tiller quite simple, which is nice for sleeping aboard, or anchoring for a while.

    The plans for Don Kurylko's Alaska (my boat) show it this way, I think, but I didn't really understand the drawings or how it would work at the time. So, I used a 1/4" bolt through the rudder head and tiller instead. Works OK, but you can't remove the tiller easily. Although, it does rotate all the way to vertical (and beyond), which also gets it out of the way.

    Tom
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  19. #19
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I really like this--it makes instant removal of the tiller quite simple, which is nice for sleeping aboard, or anchoring for a while.

    The plans for Don Kurylko's Alaska (my boat) show it this way, I think, but I didn't really understand the drawings or how it would work at the time. So, I used a 1/4" bolt through the rudder head and tiller instead. Works OK, but you can't remove the tiller easily. Although, it does rotate all the way to vertical (and beyond), which also gets it out of the way.

    Tom
    The downside is that it can't work with a sheet horse.

    finished 003.jpg
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    What about a push/pull design?

    Jeff C
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Peerie Maa View Post
    The downside is that it can't work with a sheet horse.

    finished 003.jpg
    A line for a sheet horse would work fine, yes? Unless there's some reason I'm not thinking of that requires a rigid bar?

    With enough slack, that might give you noticeably more room to raise the tiller. Or, detach one end when you want to raise it?

    Tom
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  22. #22
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    A line for a sheet horse would work fine, yes? Unless there's some reason I'm not thinking of that requires a rigid bar?

    With enough slack, that might give you noticeably more room to raise the tiller. Or, detach one end when you want to raise it?

    Tom
    Yes, there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Although, the sheeting base may be a bit wider than can be achieved with that form of horse.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  23. #23
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    I notice that Nick shows a tiller extension and would always recommend one.It allows weight to be placed where it does most good and the boat will always sail better if the transom isn't dragging.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Completely agree with this. The longer MkII tiller not only allowed installation of a helm impeder, but lets me move forward during upwind sailing, and provides enough tiller surface to mount a forespar quick release widget, with the extension stowed within easy reach when needed, but quickly stowed on the sternsheets when it is not.
    59AA837E-0757-4213-BFCF-E9C3EC16DE1B.jpg
    Last edited by John hartmann; 09-17-2022 at 05:15 PM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    I have a CLC Northeaster Dory that came with a push-pull tiller. I sailed the boat for a year, but was never comfortable with the push-pull. I converted it to a traditional tiller in much the way that others above have described. I made a pair of cheeks from some plywood left over from the build, and made the tiller from a scrap piece of ash. It took a little fiddling to get the dimension correct to allow the tiller up & down, but patience and making some mock-ups got it right. I debated on what the pivot pin should be originally thinking of a bolt and nut, but then settled on the stainless clip. This works very well.
    tiller.jpg
    tiller front.jpg
    tiller clip.jpg
    tiller top.jpg

  26. #26
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Thanks all for the sketches and photos. I'm convinced the option to raise the tiller is worth the effort of a bit of re-design. If the I were willing to scrap the work done to date, I would add a fork to the tiller to capture the rudder as others have suggested. I'm making a mock up with scrap lumber to test a pivoting cheek concept as Spot initially suggested. I hope to post some photos soon.

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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by RichW View Post
    I have a CLC Northeaster Dory that came with a push-pull tiller... This works very well.

    tiller front.jpg
    RichW -Very nice! Hoping DeanP sees this too.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    I've decided to go with a couple of cheek pieces on either side of the rudder body. The photo below shows the whole assembly clamped together and hung on the transom. The lighter piece of plywood clamped at the top is one of two cheeks that will capture the tiller.

    IMG_0875.jpg

    This photo shows the pivot point, aft of the rudder that will allow the tiller to be raised to vertical. I think I will sleeve the holes to prevent water intrusion.

    IMG_0876.jpg

    Here, the tiller is clamped in place. I will likely round the end of the tiller and may run a bolt thru the plies of the tiller to prevent any peel failure that could be induced by the pivot hole I drill parallel to the plies.

    IMG_0878.jpg

    I plan to make the check from Mahogany ply with a layer of glass on either side. It will be glued and screwed to either side of the rudder.

    IMG_0879.jpg

    More to follow...

  29. #29
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Looks like a solid solution. Did you sit in the boat to check the comfort factor? I always do, both on and off a boat cushion.
    -Dave

  30. #30
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Looks like a solid solution. Did you sit in the boat to check the comfort factor? I always do, both on and off a boat cushion.
    That's a good idea. I've been meaning to bring my wife aboard for cocktails. We'll have drink and test the tiller (in the basement)!

  31. #31
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    Default Re: How to attach the tiller to the rudder?

    Quote Originally Posted by DeanP View Post
    That's a good idea. I've been meaning to bring my wife aboard for cocktails. We'll have drink and test the tiller (in the basement)!
    LOL! Watch out for sharp tools and splinters...
    The solution looks nice. I would be inclined not to add the anti-split hardware and spend a little time making the three holes for the tiller bolt more waterproof and bushing-like. One could drill 1/4"(6.4mm) oversized holes and either fill them in with thickened/fibered epoxy to re-drill for the bolt or epoxy in coordinated or contrasting hardwood dowels with a comfortable hole for the bolt.
    Last edited by Spot; 09-22-2022 at 08:44 AM.

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