Monday, November 1, 2021

Rudder Router Jig Sequence

Work began on the router jig to shape the rudder.

A mock-up of the jig consists of wo pieces of 1/2" ply.  I made the mistake of cutting the foil shape out on each piece separately. The two pieces don't match perfectly as the sanding belt broke (you can see where) before I finished fairing the two pieces. Used double-backed tape to hold them together while I cut the 30mm notch (for the rudder blank).  

After I clean up the wrinkle in the rail, the first test effort using the trim router and the jig went okay, but not great. Neither the blank nor the jig were clamped down for the test cut. The trim router was more difficult to control: it wandered a good bit, seemingly with a mind of its own. Shallower (and therefore more) cuts, a larger diameter bit, and maybe the larger router may lead to better results.

My next trial cut went much better. I used the larger router (it has handles and variable speed), a larger bit designed to hollow & clean out small bowls and boxes; and shallower cuts. Running the router at its lowest speed, the larger bit, clamping the blank down, and gradually increasing the depth of cut produced a much better result. One thing I learned, though, is that if the rails are not perfectly faired & matched the router will not be perpendicular to the blank - resulting in slight ridges between passes. 


New rails will be pattern-cut from hardwood and faired to match. Hopefully, after a few practice cuts, I'll soon be ready to shape a new foil from the full size blank.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

First Steps to a New Rudder

Last month I described my efforts to remediate Gardens' rudder and eliminate the annoying wobble resulting from the slop in the fit of the blade in the rudder stock. The possibility of fabricating a new rudder was mentioned...

That possibility has progressed to actual 'project' status. Copies of the rudder foil drawing from the plans will be used as templates to create a router jig to "carve" the foil from the blank. 

The rough blank, as glued up, measures 40mm x 320mm x 1020mm. The leading and trailing edges of the rudder blank are ash (from a tree we took town six years ago). The rest of the staves are pine (from a tree we took down three years ago). 

Rather satisfying to be using materials from our property. 

Next step is to  mill the glued-up blank down to the specified dimensions of 30mm x 300mm. I will leave the blank long to provide support to both sides during the router-carving process. Photos should illustrate that process when I get there. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Rudder Remediation Revisited

The rudder repairs and upkeep are in the finishing (epoxy/primer/paint) stages: the blade fits snuggly on the pivot pin and between the cheeks of the rudder head. The varnish work on the rudder head is progressing slowly. Once the finishing work is done, I'll install cheek blocks for the up-haul and the down-haul lines.

With nothing better to do while waiting for various coatings to dry, I've begun considering making a new rudder blade. The existing one works but I am not convinced the foil is as good as it could be; and the ten pound 'sink-weight' imbedded in the blade makes set-up at the ramp tedious and awkward. 

The foil was carved/shaped by hand. While the bottom of the blade matches the foil shape in the plans, I'm sot so sure that shape is carried through the length of the blade. What I am considering is using a router with a jig (shaped to match the foil) to shape a new rudder blade. 

When I built Gardens' rudder, I didn't appreciate up-hauls and down-hauls for the rudder. However, over the few seasons I've sailed Gardens, I have recognized their value - to the point of asking, is the sink-weight really necessary? The ten pounds of lead is plenty to keep the rudder from swinging up while sailing - but is it needed when a down-haul is used? I plan to find out...

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Rudder Remediation

 It has been a while... generally speaking, without making excuses, 2021 is not a sailing year for me and Gardens.

So, late in the season, I've gotten back to working on Gardens to have her ready for next summer.

First effort is rudder remediation. The rudder blade wobbles a bit (not much but enough to be noticed and annoying when sailing) between the cheeks of the rudder head. Two causes: The rudder blade is a tad too thin to fit snuggly between the cheeks; and the pivot hole is too large for the pivot pin. 

First, for the pivot hole, I did the usual: drilled out the hole oversized, filled it with epoxy, and drilled a hole for a bronze bushing (the  original hole was just epoxy filled, which worked, but... not as well as it could have). The bushing is a much better fit for the pivot pin and the blade wobble related to the size of the pivot hole has been significantly reduced.

Second, I added 1/8" spacers to both sides of the blade and sanded them down to improve the fit in the rudder head. 

The spacers definitely improve the fit of the blade in the rudder head; and the spacers and bushing together nearly eliminate the blade wobble.

The blade will be sanded back to bare wood and refinished.

As for the rudder head, I decided it is time to refinish it. Sanded the outer surfaces back to bare wood and began varnishing. It will take some time to complete the varnishing as.  I can only do one surface at a time.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Red Wire... Black Wire... ?

When some newly ordered hose for my dust collector arrived yesterday, I was reminded of the scene in some old suspense thriller about disarming a bomb as the timer ticks down: "Red wire... Black wire... ?" 

Do I open it despite the very clear warning not to? And, if I do open it, what should I use to cut that heavy duty packing tape? Conflicting messages... Maybe a career opportunity there as a label editor?

Yep, I opened it with a utility knife - and, no, the box didn't explode! 

The new hose is a step in improving/upgrading the 2-HP single stage Rikon dust collector I've had for seven years. More on this project as it unfolds.

Sorry if anyone thought electricity was involved.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

2021 - Off to a Great Start

 2021 started with a flourish of enthusiasm:

My first shop project of the year (decluttering and organizing) is underway. This is what I started with:

Progress has been made but not enough to share...

My perpetual resolution (intent) to improve my Health and Fitness got a boost with our new recumbent exercise bike and twice daily workouts.

Both of these -but not my enthusiasm - have been paused for another Health and Fitness reason. Cataract surgery last Thursday and post-op instructions (no bending over for more than a moment or so, and no strenuous activities (specifically no cardio workouts - I asked...) until this week's follow up appointment have me "resting soft tissue" for the time being.

I should be able to get back to exercising and the shop until the following Thursday (surgery on the second eye). Fortunately, these are temporary interruptions - and based on the results of the first surgery, I'm going to be very happy with the overall outcome. 

Saturday, January 2, 2021


For many years I have not followed the pretty common practice of making New Year's Resolutions because whenever I did make Resolutions, I did not succeed at keeping them or seeing them through. A few weeks ago I decided to give Resolutions another try. 

Now, I know, Resolutions (like goals and targets) are most likely to succeed if they are specific (quantified, measurable, achievable). But as my list of Resolutions grew, I realized that very few on the list  are specific. I also know the list should be short...

Realizing the shortcomings of my List of Resolutions, here it is:

  • Plan Better
  • Fret Less
  • Do More:    
    •     Sailing (day sails, boat camping, exploring)
    •     Exercise (to improve physical and mental health)
    •     Woodworking (to improve skills and results)
    •     Cooking and Baking (try new recipes; expand our food horizons)
    •     Communication (with children, siblings, family and friends) 
    •     Reading (more & more meaningful books; learn)

Yes, some of these can be quantified and measurable - but I'm not assigning numbers to them right now. I am also not listing a number of goals that fit within these generalized categories. 

How will I know if I've kept my Resolutions? To paraphrase U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, "I'll know it when I see it."