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Old 04-05-2006, 05:37   #1
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Wood Rudder

I have a 40 ft full keeled fiberglass ketch, the rudder is wood. It has been out of the water for aprx 4 years, the wood is very dry. It appears to be in good shape with the typical checks and gaps from the wood being dried out. My question is should I coat the rudder with epoxy to smooth it out prior to launching this summer? I have posted this question on another site and received a couple of different answers, both very logical. I have had a number of different suggestions pro and con. Hoping to get some more expert opinions from this site.

The boat is 30 years old and the rudder is in good shape, maybe I should not mess with something that is not broke?

Thanks in advance for any help

Mike & Paula
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:37   #2
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Rudder

Both of my wood rudders have three layers of glass cloth on them to add strength and to keep the water away.
Michael
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Old 04-05-2006, 13:18   #3
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The fact that you have well seasond and extremely dry timber, is good. Try and keep it that way. It amounts to a huge weight saving. Even if the timber is well painted, over time submerged, it will absorb moisture. This could amount to a lot of un-needed weight that you have had reduced naturaly by time. Damp timber is also weaker than dry. I would coat well with Evadure, then glass to protect against damage striking an object. Plus it will add a great deal of extra strength. Then finish with a good paint sutible to take the Anti-foul. You will end up with a very well protected rudder that will last many many years.
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Old 04-05-2006, 13:30   #4
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I am unfamiliar with Evadure, is it similar to West System epoxy coating? And are you saying that after the Evadure is down I should put on Fiberglass cloth? I hate to sound dumb, but I have limited experience with fiberglassing. Thank you for your response.

Mike
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Old 04-05-2006, 14:07   #5
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Evadure is an Internationl/Epiglass product. It is a very thin epoxy liquid that has a biocide in it to prevent rot. The only reson I have suggested this, is because it is so thin, it soaks deep into the timber grain and apon hardening, it thus makes the timber very hard to some depth. It's just aditional protection and does not HAVE to be used. You can also obtain a similar result by thinning down any standard epoxy resin such as West system, so as it easily aborbs into the timber. You keep on painting the stuff on till it no longer soaks in, in which time you then apply a standard coat of epoxy and Glass matt.
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Old 04-05-2006, 17:33   #6
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Island Mike, I suggest you get a good book about using epoxy and fibreglass before starting. West publishes a book about repairing fiberglass boats. They also have lots of information on thier web site.

Be sure to follow the safety procedures so that you don't become sensitized.

Phil.

PSS: also some good information on this site. http://www.fram.nl/
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Old 04-05-2006, 20:01   #7
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My suggestion would be to fill in the checks and gaps with roofing tar and paint as you have done in the past. As the wood swells the tar will squeeze out and can be trimmed off next time you haul out. If you choose to go the epoxy route you will need to have a heavy layer or layers of cloth to overcome surface checking and slight movement of the wood. Needless to say the sheathing needs to be kept intact and keep any moisture out of the wood core. If you do get a breach it can lead to the wood swelling beyond the ability of sheathing to overcome it and also to rot from trapped moisture unable to migrate in and out of the wood. Just a thin coating of epoxy resin is a very bad idea as it really has no real structural strenght when used as a coating without the cloth.
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Old 04-05-2006, 21:10   #8
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Alan, I dissagree with your recommendation to use glass mat. Unidirectional or bidirectional cloth is what should be used.

Island Mike, the weight of the cloth is something that you will have to work out depending on the size of the rudder, etc.

A properly done job will give you a very strong rudder that should last a long time. Personally, IMHO, I think that roofing tar should be left on the roof.
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Old 04-05-2006, 21:44   #9
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Deepfrz, I was thinking cloth in my head, but my fingers typed matt, and my eyes never picked it up. Mate, body just ain't working together today is it.
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Old 04-05-2006, 21:48   #10
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The roofing tar idea comes from an article I read recently from a boatbuilder who repairs wooden boats. It was a technique he found worked quite well on boats that had been out of the water for some time and developed gaping seams in the planking and deadwood. It was for use below the waterline only as the tar could bleed through the topside paint. The article was in a very recent issue of Woodenboat. In the plank seams the tar was used in place of the traditional seam compounds as it allowed the planks to swell up without introducing undue stress into the frames.
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Old 05-05-2006, 00:42   #11
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A bit of work ...

My main concern with the proposed maintenance/renovation of your rudder is that there may be prexisting damage from before the boat was hauled and because of the long dryout.
It is hard to say what should be done without seeing the setup. Maybe you could post some pictures.
Some suggestions:-
Before you do anything check the steering. Does it work smoothly as the rudder swings from side to side? Is there any binding or unexpected friction?
Then check the emergency steering. Is it there? Does it fit? Can you use it to "steer" the boat?
Now consider if it is desirable to remove the rudder from the boat completely.
Can all shafts, pins, pintles, hinges, fittings etc. be removed?
The best result may be obtained by removing them and replacing all bolts pins etc. with new hardware.
Now if you have a rudder that is stripped of all fittings consider sanding it back to bare wood. Don't forget that old antifouling (paricularly as dust) can be very toxic so take all necessary precautions (gloves, overalls, quality dustmask etc.) here.
There are many ways of preparing woood for immersion by to my mind the WEST System has stood the test of time. My preference would be to leave the rudder out in the hot sun for most of one day, maybe turning it so it gets good and warm and dry, then coating it with straight WEST Epoxy as it cools so the cooling rudder sucks the epoxy into the wood. Good dry wood can take many (3+) coats of epoxy.
After the epoxy has set sand the rudder again and fill all gouges, cracks etc. with WEST System filler.
When this sets fill and sand again as necesary and apply two coats of WEST Epoxy with white pigment added.
Sand this lightly when set and finish to match the rest of your boat.
Reassemble and check for correct functioning. Don't forget to replace any corroded zincs.
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Old 05-05-2006, 01:59   #12
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Excellent post Chris. Can I ask, why the white pigment. And just to clarify, are you suggesting no Glass cloth??
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Old 05-05-2006, 13:55   #13
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Chris,

I thnk your posts outlines a good plan. During the inital steps I would bet you'll be able to tell how much if any damage has been done beyond surface cosmetics. Sealing up a problem generally won't fix much. Once any wood is rotted you can't make it better and it should be removed. If there were any failures in the rudder I don't see that covering it up would really help unlessit was grossly over built and then a new lighter rudder would be better.

Alan, Adding glass to a rudder that should already be stong enough won't make much difference. If the rudder isn't strong enough now then starting with a new wood rudder is probably called for rather than attempting to strengthen rotted wood.

The white pigment should make matching the paint on the rest of the boat easier if the desire is to paint to match. The pigment is cheaper than extra coats of paint.
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Old 05-05-2006, 16:02   #14
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Chris, Paul: Good posts and I agree with everything you say about the strength and soundness of the rudder. However I think a thin layer of cloth would add some hardness to the surface of the rudder, better to resist light abrasion or impact with a little "dead head" out there. (ouch)

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Old 05-05-2006, 18:23   #15
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Wooden Rudder

Ensure that when you start work, you work both sides of the rudder; then seal both sides of the rudder.

I have an oregon rudder, and when work was commenced, one side was stripped to bare timber and allowed to sit for a couple of weeks before we got back to it - curse of having "proper jobs" in the factory.

When we went to start work again, timber had warped to the point of splitting. It rendered the rudder useless, and I had to make a new one.

Both sides need to be equally coated/treated to create a balanced coat that will prevent an uneven take up or expiry of moisture in the timber.

FWIW, I have coated my new rudder with 3 coats of Everdure, 2 layers of fibreglass cloth laminated with epoxy resin.

Fair winds

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