Rudderly Ridiculous...

So, yesterday I jumped into the shallow end of the woodworking gene pool. The old sailboat I just bought desperately needs a new rudder. As you can see from the pic below, it's seriously delaminated. Also, one of the many previous owners used a regular steel bolt to keep it from kicking up instead of either a stainless one or rigging the uphaul/downhaul properly.

Can you say delamination?

I began by laying out the rudder, aligning the straight leading edge of the rudder against the factory edge of the plywood. I "lucked out" in the fact that the plywood is about 1/8" thinner than the rudder. Once I put the fiberglass and epoxy on both sides, it should be just about perfect.

I've even got enough plywood left over for another rudder...

Here it is all laid out. Since I didn't remove the tiller/cheek plate assembly, I scribed a perfect half circle with the tape measure after finding the center point.

About to pass the point of no return...

The orbital jig saw didn't come with blades, so I bought some fine toothed ones, but they had a different mounting style, so I had to resort to cutting curves with my circular saw. I set the depth to just thicker than the plywood and ran the saw back and forth to plow out enough swing room to cut the curve. Not the most ideal situation, especially since I've got an oversized circular saw for cutting deck posts from back in the day when I had a construction company. Ready for the belt sander!

Maybe I'll make a longboard while I'm at it. Hmmm...

So here's where I got to when the only belt I have for my belt sander broke. It's really difficult to figure out everything you need on Friday night after work for the whole weekend on an island with only a grocery store that's really just a glorified vending machine. Note the layers of plywood allow me to see the contours of the foil shape I'm going for. Also, the thickest part of the rudder is supposed to be a third of the way along the chord from the leading edge, which is why the rudder is asymmetrical. I've still got a lot of sanding to do, but when I'd gotten to this point on both sides, the leading and trailing edges were close the original rudder. That means I'm almost there and will be ready for fiberglassing soon!

How the PNW (Pacific North West) became a mecca for boat building, I'll never know. All I wanted to do was fiberglass my effing rudder this weekend and it's raining... In August! I managed to get a little done between downpours without electrocuting myself...

I was able to fair both sides to a decent foil shape, and make them symmetrical. Then I mixed up some of a sailor's best friend, Marine-Tex and filled the voids in the cheap-@$$ plywood I bought.

Tomorrow, I'll see if I can catch a break and do some touch up sanding, then epoxy a layer of fiberglass on at least one side with some West Systems I've been hauling around...

Epilogue: I successfully fiberglassed the first side. It was a messy process, so no pics. I then got distracted by other projects and ended up selling the boat with the two rudders "As Is". The new owner happily finished the job and did an incredible job bringing her back to shiny, although I preferred the original red...

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