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Thread: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

  1. #1

    Unhappy New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    The tiller on my boat broke along the grain in an almost perfect scarf joint. She is on a drying mooring into soft mud and we had an unusual large swell coming into the harbour. Tiller is lashed in central position, and i think as she went down into the mud trapping the rudder a swell must come trough moving boat and snapping the tiller.

    i am planning on making a new one - but which wood? Ash, Oak or Iroku?

    But would just gluing the scarf with a good epoxy - west systems with micro fibres give a strong enough joint?

    I think the answer is a new one, but repairing the old one would at least provide a spare.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Lexington, MA
    Posts
    824

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    Yes... almost any hard wood, glued with epoxy plus microfibers..

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Norwich,United Kingdom
    Posts
    9,524

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    The scarf may hold but you need to be sure there isn't another potential weak spot nearby.Unless the tiller is exceptionally large it may be best to replace it with a sound one.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    South Puget Sound/summer Eastern carib./winter
    Posts
    22,643

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    "broke along the grain in an almost perfect scarf joint."
    perfect joint.
    stop doing perfect joinery when using eopxy
    long scarph yes
    tight joint no

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2000
    Location
    Padanaram, MA USA
    Posts
    10,365

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    I would build a whole new tiller of black locust.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    Location
    Southampton Ont. Canada
    Posts
    7,466

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    Broken along "A perfect scarf" would indicate short grain and a short life for a repair.
    R
    Sleep with one eye open.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2015
    Location
    Mountains of Ocooch
    Posts
    1,398

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    Busted scarf may have been too 'short', too 'perfect' in fit, maybe even improperly glued up.

    Fixing what may have been bad since the beginning generally doesn't mean the fix will last either.

    I'd start fresh, using ash (light, easy to work, flexible) or black locust (not light, not easy to work but glues well & about as rot-proof as anything that grows) & laminated to avoid funky grain and any scarfs that would otherwise be required.

    Could even use both woods, depending on what kind of size tiller we're dealing with here.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Guerilla Bay, NSW, Australia
    Posts
    620

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    I would be tempted to make a new laminated tiller.

    Regards Neil

    p.s. spotted gum makes strong tillers.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Central Vermont
    Posts
    463

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    My main mentor recommended ash for the tiller of my Lightning build, so that is what I used. But, try as I might, I wasn't able to get my planes sharp enough to deal with the ash, and sanding it was an exercise in futility. And I decided to do just about anything to avoid working with it again.

    I am going to make another rudder and tiller this Winter, and am using Sapele for both. There are lots of classic Lightning owners who have sailed many years with mahogany tillers, and they assure me it is strong enough.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Vancouver BC Canada
    Posts
    1,034

    Default Re: New Tiller - which wood and will a scarf joint hold.

    Quote Originally Posted by JimConlin View Post
    I would build a whole new tiller of black locust.
    This^. black locust is beautiful, hard , super strong rot resistant wood. I made my new longer tiller out of it and my cleats too. They make tool handles out of it, I've made bows out of it. It's tough! Make a one piece tiller. Readily available in the PNW, not sure where you are though.

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