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Old 11-01-2011, 14:00   #1
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Tiller Questions

Hi. The tiller in my 25' Peterson 1/4 ton needs rebuilding ( see photos below ). I was wondering :

1: Is there any reason not to just carve pine to use temporarily while I redo this one?

2: It looks like it's been rebuilt/glued b4. Does wood working glue fail more rapidly in maritime environments?

3: Is the added strength of a layered build really needed? Or would a single piece do? I'm guessing the strength is required but am curious.

4: Any tips for the rebuild? Or sailing with the temp replacement single piece of wood as the tiller?

Thank you.

Paul
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Old 11-01-2011, 14:44   #2
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I just finished a replacement tiller for my boat out of white oak. The old one had about 18" broken off and looked like an ax pole. Aside from the looks, trying to turn the boat was a real chore for my wife.

I thought about using pine, but felt it wasn't strong enough.

I am in the process of building a laminate replacement tiller out of red and white oak using epoxy resin. Laminates are much stronger than a single piece of wood. Depending on how long that one lasts will determine if I go to a more rot resistant wood for the next one.

I have a 22' Chrysler.
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Old 11-01-2011, 14:49   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluewhaleCA View Post
Hi. The tiller in my 25' Peterson 1/4 ton needs rebuilding ( see photos below ). I was wondering :

1: Is there any reason not to just carve pine to use temporarily while I redo this one?

2: It looks like it's been rebuilt/glued b4. Does wood working glue fail more rapidly in maritime environments?

3: Is the added strength of a layered build really needed? Or would a single piece do? I'm guessing the strength is required but am curious.

4: Any tips for the rebuild? Or sailing with the temp replacement single piece of wood as the tiller?

Thank you.

Paul
I don't know what type of pine you are referring to but most of the pines aren't very strong or durable. They don't have a natural resistance to rot like oak or ash. There is a southern red pine I've heard of that is more durable but generally I would avoid the pines for this. Laminates do give you more strength when properly joined but but also will save you wood in waste.
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Old 11-01-2011, 16:11   #4
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An epoxy to join wood together .
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Old 11-01-2011, 16:40   #5
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Douglas Fir will work just fine for a tiller. Pine and the other soft fir species are exceptionally prone to rot and are very low strength.

Use Epoxy glue. It will hold up a lot better. Leaving a laminated tiller exposed to the elements without varnish or paint is extremely hard on the glue joints. Whatever glue you use, keep up the finish.

The reason they are usually laminated is to try and control warping. A few pieces of wood glued together, reversing the grain, combat any natural tendency to warp/curl, etc. You can easily get an interesting shape by laminating up the tiller out of a number of thinner, pliable layers. You can also get an interesting looking tiller if you mix the wood types like ash and mahogany or whatever in the various laminates.
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Old 11-01-2011, 19:00   #6
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If you want something temporary and cheap, you could try a replacement handle for a post hole digger at you local hardware. They're made of ash and I'm pretty sure they'd be plenty stout. Just cut to the proper length and there you go.
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Old 11-01-2011, 19:23   #7
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Douglas Fir (or Oregon as it's called here) is an example of a pine that would be good to use. Some other pine varieties would also be suitable but it's maybe safer to steer clear.

Laminating adds strength but also allows the creation of salty looking tillers with shapes designed to clear your knees. And on fibreglass boats especially, the tiller is one spot where the skipper can indulge in some woodworking fun. A gloss varnished laminated tiller with a salty shape is cheap and impressive and easily protected from the UV while away from the boat.

But yes I agree with the above poster - a shovel handle does the same job. :-)
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Old 11-01-2011, 19:40   #8
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so does a hockey stick.........
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Old 11-01-2011, 19:45   #9
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For a heavily curved tiller laminating allows you to have the wood grain follow the curves of the tiller, and to pick pieces with fewer knots and voids and to season everything more rapidly because the pieces are thinner.

For a temp tiller, pine is fine for weeks or months, oversize it a bit.
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Old 11-01-2011, 20:15   #10
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A solid piece of wood is likely to warp. A laminated piece has much more dimensional stability.
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Old 11-01-2011, 21:55   #11
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I would recommend using a saturating epoxy on the final tiller you build, then 6 to 10 coats of varnish as epoxy is not UV resistant. Laminating adds strength, creates some very lovely "works of art", and prevents warping of the final product if laid up properly with grain opposing between layers. Just rebuilt an ash & mahogany tiller and it's the "feature" piece on the boat. Hard to beat laminating and inlay.
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Old 12-01-2011, 00:15   #12
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Ok. Most agree, which is nice. I'll do something quick and dirty as a temp measure, then go ahead with the rebuild of the current tiller.

I am going to forego anything fancier than what is currently there until I've sailed the boat for half a year or more. I want to see where I/people get in the way... but I'd not thought of changing the shape of the tiller. This is like going from shooting pool to playing racquetball. Another entire dimension just was opened up for me. I like it. <BG>

So when I one day drift into a Coast Guard cutter I can honestly say I was day dreaming about a new design for my tiller.... Nice...

Thanks for all of the responses.


Paul
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Old 12-01-2011, 20:16   #13
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Single piece wood is fine. Chose the right kind of wood though.

Use epoxy glue, if gluing is involved.

Laminated tillers look great but they are an optional extra.

barnie
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