Steer me in the right direction, please
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
RICHARD HARE REPLIES:
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