Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Rudder

Or at least part of it. The blade shown here will be pinned through the shoulders to provide a kick up rudder. It will have a down haul to a break away cleat, and an up haul to let me pull it up Before I hit things.

As you can see, I have switched to foam rollers, and there's no shaggy dog hairs all over it.
This coat is still wet, but the finish is about that glossy when it dries.
I have also found that a touch of thinner extends the drying time and makes the paint a lot easier to work with. It seems the that depending on conditions you need more or less thinner, so the paint starts out without enough, so that you can always add more.

I presume a "shop" would value quick drying more than I do, and would have more experience working with the paint, so they could better cope with it drying as they paint it on.
Shame it will have to go into the water.
By the way, it's not lying on the plastic, there little scraps of ply with screws sticking through them, the rudders is resting on the points of the screws.
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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Credit where credit is due

There's an old tradesman's saying "do a great job, the customer will tell his friends, mess up and he'll tell everyone"

It's rather unfair.

To address the asymmetry of it all, allow me to heap praise where it's very definitely due.

They have been helpful, even though I am a tiny customer. They have been knowledgeable, and when I had a small problem, they went far above and beyond the call of duty to resolve it.

I can whole heartedly recommend them. I have gotten Plywood, Oak, Sapelle, and Sitka Spruce from them, shipped to Ireland.

If you are looking for boat building timber, give them a shout or an email.

I am one very happy customer, and I thought I'd tell everyone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

This painting lark

So I reckoned I'd try to paint the rudder as a learning exercise in painting.

  1. Cheap rollers loose tiny fine hairs like a stray dog in the summer. The hairs don't show up in the undercoat, just the gloss.
  2. High Gloss Paint shows surface defects or blemishes as well as a High Power Magnifying glass.
  3. You will use WAY more paint that you imagine until you start to get the hang of what you are doing. (For use, you can read waste)
  4. You will probably have to sand back the first thing you paint to the wood.
  5. If you could make a vacuum cleaner that attracted dust like wet paint, Dyson would be out of business.
  6. If the paint is too thick, it will not dry. The surface will, but under that will be a layer of soft sticky paint waiting to get out. Too thick is not all that thick at all. Several thin layers are better than one gloopy thick one.
  7. Once you take off your gloves, you will discover that the thing you have just picked up is covered in wet paint.
Sorry no photos, though I may post them up on www.Wictionary.com under abysmal.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Get the Lead Out

My second try at a rudder was a big improvement. It's amazing how the details matter, if you put too much pressure on a wedge on one side, then you cut a little deeper with the router. More sanding to do later.

The blade is now glassed, and I'm adding a few extra coats of epoxy. The rest of the rudder assembly is under-coated. This will be my first chance to see how the Paint turns out.

Since the center board is next, I did a trial pour of a lead sink weight. I cut a 1 1/2" hole in 3/4" inch ply, and clamped a backing board with a thin sheet of metal (from the base of a biscuit tin) behind the hole. I melted the lead shot in a cheap saucepan bought for the job. I wore a leather welders apron, leather gloves and a full face shield.

A simple propane camping gas hob easily melted the shot, and the pour went very easily. A bit of an anticlimax. (that's not a bad thing when you are playing with molten lead)

Since I was just running a test, I did not bevel the hole for the lead, and indeed, it shrank as it cooled, and then later simply fell out.

The other thing that I learned was that the metal sheet, aimed at giving me a flat base on the lead, failed miserably. The back of the lead was concave. I guess the metal was too thin, or perhaps the plating on the metal off gassed as the lead was setting. There's some evidence of bubbles. Given a tin plating on the metal from the biscuit tin, that's my best guess right now.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I had to "nip over" to my Sister's house to pick up my Sitka Spruce for my mast, they had been minding it for me. (Thanks Lisa & Peter).

The simplest way to do this was of course to run over with the trailer, it has a mast crutch and all.

Having never driven with a trailer, this 45 minute drive (which became an hour, I travelled quite sedately) was far easier than I had expected. My neighbour had to show me how to use the tow hitch (Yes, did feel quite stupid when he showed my what I was doing wrong)

During the drive, I had flicked the rear view mirror to dim as some clown had his main beams on, then later I looked back and could not see the mast. A quick moment of terror as I imagined the damage 20' lengths of spruce could do on the motorway, was quickly relieved when I reset the rear view mirror.

Oh yes, when you are driving with a trailer for the first time, remember that you need to allow a lot more room when changing lanes!


So I followed the basic idea here http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/09/howto/foils/index.htm to make up my rudder. I thought that I'd have to throw out the first attempt, and then use the second one.

As it happened it turned out quite well, the second side was clearly better than the first. I was actually considering using it, until I realised that I'd put the leading edge on the wrong side, and since it is a kick-up rudder, it's not even close to symmetrical. Oh well, you learn.

Things I did learn,
  • on the first side you must leave pillars to support it when you flip over to do the second side.
  • mill the foil shape from an over long rectangle leaving the ends untouched, then cut the rudder out afterwards.
  • small wooden wedges keep the stock hard against the base and give more consistent results.
  • two small pieces of perspex set up on a cord hinge run along the rails, avoid bits being kicked everywhere
  • cut towards ourself, the sawdust shoots down the channel between the guides to your waiting hoover.
  • Make sure the wood is the right way round.

I guess the production run will be better !