Steer me in the right di­rec­tion, please

Practical Boat Owner - - Blank Ask The Experts -

Q i own a Moody 28 which re­quires a new tiller. i have been on the Moody web­site to ask which woods were used so that i can make up a new one, but have re­ceived very dif­fer­ing replies. as i’d like to make a new tiller which is the same as the orig­i­nal, would you be able to tell me the correct woods that were orig­i­nally used, and also ad­vise me on the ap­pro­pri­ate glue to ap­ply? TR Mel­lor Bid­dulph, Stoke-On-Trent


Like ev­ery­one else, it seems, I don’t know what Moody used for tiller lam­i­na­tion, but the one species that is some­times used that I would ad­vise against is ash. Ash has ex­cel­lent shock-ab­sorb­ing prop­er­ties -– hence its use for hockey sticks, ham­mers and sev­eral other high-im­pact ap­pli­ca­tions – but im­pact re­sis­tance isn’t a pri­or­ity here. (Well, we hope not!)

The prob­lem with ash is that it's in the low­est nat­u­ral dura­bil­ity class and is con­se­quently sus­cep­ti­ble to de­cay. This more usu­ally takes the form of mould dis­coloura­tion be­neath a failed var­nish sys­tem, but in cases where boats have been ne­glected it can also lead to a wood-de­stroy­ing fun­gal at­tack where the tiller is in­serted through the rud­der stock.

My pre­ferred choice of species would be teak (high­est nat­u­ral dura­bil­ity class) – easy to work and good aes­thet­ics – or the sig­nif­i­cantly less ex­pen­sive iroko, pic­tured here on my own tiller. Iroko has a sim­i­lar ap­pear­ance and is in the second nat­u­ral dura­bil­ity class (out of five). On its cost-ef­fec­tive cre­den­tials, it was my pre­ferred choice.

As to ad­he­sives, you could use ei­ther epoxy or re­sor­ci­nol formalde­hyde. I like us­ing re­sor­ci­nol in any sit­u­a­tion where gap fill­ing is not re­quired – as in this case, where lam­i­na­tions are be­ing bonded to­gether – and, be­ing wa­ter-based, it is re­ally easy to clean up dur­ing the job and af­ter­wards. No nasty sol­vents are re­quired, just wa­ter. Re­sor­ci­nol has a dark brown colour, ir­rel­e­vant I think in a well-made joint. (It is the ad­he­sive used in the photo.)

Richard Hare’s tiller is con­structed from iroko

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