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Old 13-05-2019, 18:38   #1
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Broken Tiller Handle

We just purchased a 16' cruiser, but the tiller handle has split. I am wondering if someone has a creative solution as I don't enough money to replace it and I would prefer to not get skewered this summer

Thank you!
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Old 13-05-2019, 19:16   #2
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

Slip a piece of schedule 80 PVC pipe over it? If you dip the end of the pipe in boiling water for a little bit, it should conform to the shape of the broken-off tiller. Not so pretty, but cheap.
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Old 13-05-2019, 19:20   #3
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

Hello,
Did it split down the middle or did just the end fall off?
What does the end look like? Can it be reattached?
If you are looking for a quick repair, I would just cut off the pointy end, sand the cut edge to round it over, and sand and varnish the wood 2-3 times.
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Old 13-05-2019, 19:47   #4
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

Quote:
Originally Posted by sandy stone View Post
Slip a piece of schedule 80 PVC pipe over it? If you dip the end of the pipe in boiling water for a little bit, it should conform to the shape of the broken-off tiller. Not so pretty, but cheap.
Oh! Didn't even think of that... Thank you!
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Old 13-05-2019, 19:50   #5
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

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Originally Posted by Spot View Post
Hello,
Did it split down the middle or did just the end fall off?
What does the end look like? Can it be reattached?
If you are looking for a quick repair, I would just cut off the pointy end, sand the cut edge to round it over, and sand and varnish the wood 2-3 times.
We're not really sure... We didn't end up getting the other piece unfortunately. It looks like a clean split though, so we should be able to cut it and sand it down, I was just a little worried that would make it too short
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Old 14-05-2019, 04:42   #6
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle






These two Johnson 16's have tiller extensions, the bit that looks like a golf club handle on a swivel. I wonder if that is part of what is missing.
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Old 14-05-2019, 07:03   #7
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

Yeah, I think you're right. There is still a plastic piece mounted to the top of the handle where the extender would go (Though, it's further back than the one in those photos). That said, there's no reason why I couldn't add a new extender even if I shorten the handle is there?
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Old 14-05-2019, 09:17   #8
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

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Originally Posted by aj911501 View Post
Yeah, I think you're right. There is still a plastic piece mounted to the top of the handle where the extender would go (Though, it's further back than the one in those photos). That said, there's no reason why I couldn't add a new extender even if I shorten the handle is there?
That would be a quick and easy solution, less money than replacing the wood with a custom tiller and you get the advantage of the extension.
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Old 14-05-2019, 11:53   #9
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

I think you'll want to leave a hand's grip worth of tiller 'plain', after cutting off the pointy part and before you mount the swivel so you don't have to hold onto both when sitting way back in the boat.
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Old 14-05-2019, 12:04   #10
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

No you can't shorten the tiller because then you can't steer the boat efficiently anymore (they would have designed its shorter otherwise).

You can try to see if you can find an axe handle, shovel handle etc. long enough that can be shaped into what you want.

The best method is to put the tiller with it's side on a 1/2" thick piece of plywood and draw the outline. Next extend the drawing for the missing piece. Now cut it with a bandsaw or jig saw and sand it smooth. Now use that as a template to make a couple more so that you get the required thickness. Glue them together (use 2 part epoxy glue) and when cured, shape to fit using sander, plane etc. Finish with a couple of coats of Epifanes (Lowe's) oil or varnish.
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Old 14-05-2019, 20:40   #11
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

I agree that shortening the lever arm of the tiller will reduce forces applied to the rudder. The question would be how much is too much. If the tiller was 4 feet and the force applied is 20 pounds, that would be 80 foot-pounds. To make that with a 3 foot 3" tiller one would need 24.6 pounds applied or 23% more.

The tool handle idea is awesome. A wheelbarrow handle or post-hole digger handle (square on one end) might be easier to adapt to the straps than something all the way round or oval and be a little longer to boot.

Since OP does not have missing end of tiller, they will not be able to solve for 'x' unless they can find the original spec length of the tiller. I have an older Johnson tiller in the garage but it is for a C scow and not an X boat. Wouldn't it be ironic if Johnson used the same tiller piece for multiple boats...
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Old 16-05-2019, 11:10   #12
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

If the rest of the old tiller was in good shape and wookworking is an option,
one could make a new handle 'peg' and an extension and epoxy it all onto the old tiller. Then shape the extension to match tiller and varnish to complete.
Then again, at this level of repair, one might be better starting off from scratch according to a later post in this recent thread Planning to Glass my repaired Tiller arm. Should I oil it first?
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Old 16-05-2019, 12:16   #13
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Re: Broken Tiller Handle

You should be able to find the original specs for that boat. You can even go look at comparable 16' dinghies (eg Wayfarer, CL 16) online or in-person, and find a typical length from them.

A $20 piece of hardwood and some routing, sanding and shaping would make a decent tiller for the time being. You could even go to a metal place and get a length of 1 x 1" square aluminum tube (also around $20).
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