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Old 28-12-2018, 17:47   #1
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Boat: 1962 Pearson Electra, 22.5'
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Warped Wooden Rudder

Hi All,
I have a 1962 Pearson Electra I bought 2 yrs ago. It has a wooden rudder made of 2 or 3 pieces of mahogany mounted to a silicon bronze shaft with several long SB screws. It was encased in fiberglass, which is not original. The FB was leaking and de-laminating so I stripped it off but did one side a few months before the other. The wood warped. I want to re-use the rudder w/o rebuilding it if possible. I will not re-do the fiberglass, I think its a bad idea. Do you think when I put it in the water it will swell back into the proper shape and will be OK? Should I soak first, then paint, or reverse? Should I scrap it now and rebuild?

Thanks y'all!!!
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1U-T...ew?usp=sharing
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Old 28-12-2018, 18:24   #2
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

You don’t mention whether you have actually had the boat in the water under your ownership. Has this warping occurred while in the water, or has the boat been on the hard for an extended period of time in which the rudder warped?
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Old 28-12-2018, 20:44   #3
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

Jim,
The boat was in the water an d the rudder was straight when I put her on the hard. I believ it warped because I stripped the fiberglass off of only one side and it dried out more than the other side. Now the fiberglass is off both side and it has been on the hard and fully dried out for months but the wood is still warped.
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Old 28-12-2018, 21:40   #4
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

I surmise you are looking at a rebuild at this time. There’s a large group of wooden boat oriented folks on the woodenboat forum. I bet they could get you pointed in the right direction. Good luck. Great old boat you have there.
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Old 29-12-2018, 00:41   #5
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

On my 1961 Pearson Alberg it had a mahognay rudder too. It earned over the years two large metal straps on each side of the rudder running fore and aft. They were through bolted. It kept tbe wood pretty straight.
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Old 29-12-2018, 10:42   #6
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

Thanks Paul,
Was that the Alberg 35? Alberg also designed the Electra and seems to have maintained similar ideas, lines and proportions in a lot of his his boats. The Electra has a short bronze strap fastened to the keel and looping around the shaft for extra support, but I I like your idea of the long two straps to help hold the rudder together. Somehow the long internal bolts don't seem very strong... like if the helm went full over in a strong following sea, the pressure could snap the rudder in half. But maybe I worry too much.
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Old 29-12-2018, 13:34   #7
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

I hope this information is helpful to you:

Our boat is a bit bigger and older -- but has a white oak wood rudder that is built with bronze drifts onto a bronze shaft. We rebuilt it in white oak -- as it was literally rotted away -- but we did reapply (to the new wood rudder) the bronze straps that someone has surface applied and thru-riveted to the old rudder. We had them, so we just used copper rivets to reapply. All seems good.

Pics:

Old rudder when we bought the boat in 2006 -- eaten away but the STRAPS are there:



Laying new rudder parts on top of old rudder (pattern):



Install of new stock (yes our old one was shot so we had a new bronze rudder stock/shaft farbricated) and new white oak rudder -- see those faint black lines drawn on the rudder? they are where the drifts (bolts) are inside the rudder -- though a couple of those lines were "false, oops, not here!" most are correct.



All sanded and before paint -- we did epoxy a high tech bearing to the rudder and stock at the place it enters the atlas bronze rudder shaft but the rest is as the original was designed.



It was a last minute decision, after the bottom paint had already gone on, to rivet the old bronze straps onto the new rudder but we figured: what can it hurt? so did so.





At a 5 year later haulout (to raise the waterline) we did end up having to re-prime all the bronze on the rudder because our original priming was sufficient to keep the bottom paint well in place. Now all is good.





Sorry! no pics after painting over the yellow epoxy primer and the raised waterline. Bummer that, but it's all good and has been back in the water 5 years since this pic.

If you consider making a new rudder -- Making the new rudder itself wasn't such a huge job. Drilling the straight holes for all the drifts -- and fabricating the large bolt heads for the ones that went through the rudder stock itself -- that part was a bit "tense" but overall it was good.

If your wood is really seriously warped, refabrication would be a future option especially if your application of bars is not sufficient to fix the problem.

Fair winds,
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Old 29-12-2018, 13:35   #8
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd Fanady View Post
Thanks Paul,
Was that the Alberg 35? Alberg also designed the Electra and seems to have maintained similar ideas, lines and proportions in a lot of his his boats. The Electra has a short bronze strap fastened to the keel and looping around the shaft for extra support, but I I like your idea of the long two straps to help hold the rudder together. Somehow the long internal bolts don't seem very strong... like if the helm went full over in a strong following sea, the pressure could snap the rudder in half. But maybe I worry too much.
Yep, an Alberg 35, same era boat.
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Old 31-12-2018, 17:38   #9
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

Schooner,
Thank you so much for the detailed post and great photos!
Very nice boat and work. Its kind of a shame such nice workmanship is hidden under water. Can you please tell me about some of your construction techniques?
1) How the heck do you get your drill holes perfectly straight so that the "exit wound" is exactly where it needs to be to match up with the holes in the bronze shaft and also for the holes in the opposing side straps???
2) Do you make plans for the wood swelling...like do you bolt the staves down tight, or leave them loose for the wood to swell and fill the gaps (if so, how much space do you leave)?
3) What is that stuff dripping from between the staves, did you glue them (if so, with what)?
4) Do you just prime and paint the wood or do you treat it with some type or sealer first (I have read very differing opinions this one)?
Last) Did you have any issues with the copper rivets corroding?

Thanks again for any more advise you can give!!

Here's some pics of my boat just FYI:
https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...bEF4Z6XGsj__4o
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Old 31-12-2018, 19:26   #10
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

Todd: My Pearson Vanguard has a rudder similar to yours. As my boat was extensively raced in the past and
the PO had faired it quite a bit but the mahogany is still in great shape. If the Vanguard is on the hard for a week or so the rudder will open up with spaces about 1/4" between each piece of wood. My rudder also has bronge straps. I just slather a bit of bottom paint into the gaps and after relaunching the rudder swells closed and small vertical beads of bottom paint are all that remain of the gaps.
Your warp does not look that bad in the pictures, if the boat is out of the water now could you wet the twisted side with damp rags for a few days before relaunch and perhaps coax it a bit straighter?

A bit of practice with scrap wood, long drill bits and a level for a guide will have you drilling drift holes like an old pro.
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Old 31-12-2018, 21:19   #11
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Re: Warped Wooden Rudder

RGN,
Thanks for the info. I did try wetting the rudder and covering with Saran Wrap to get the warp out. It worked a little but later the curve cam back. I think I am just going to put it in the water and see what happens. If it doesn't straighten out after a while then I'll rebuild it...and practice a lot drilling holes first!
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