Sunday, October 27, 2013

It's Not Like I Didn't Expect This

I really didn't have too much time to do much work this weekend, but I did make a little progress on fitting the new rudder tube and found out what I'm going to do about the rudder.  After finally cutting the rudder post and dropping the rudder I set to work removing the stuffing box.
The stuffing box was a big corroded mess and I decided that instead of trying to free up the bronze part, I loosened the hose clamps attaching it to the rubber hose and the hose to the rudder tube and pried it off. This took a fair amount of time and swearing, but eventually it came off.   

The original rudder tube extends into the boat roughly about 6" and the outer diameter is 2.5".   My plan was to sand down the inner surface of the new rudder tube (inside diameter is 2") so that it fits over the old tube. Once fitted, then I can epoxy the two together with

several wraps of biaxial fabric.  The glass on the new tube is really hard, so it took quite a bit of time to sand a 1/2" from the inside of the tube using a 2" sanding wheel mounted on my drill.  Once I got close to the 2.5" mark I'd check every thirty seconds or so until I had a tight fit.

Unfortunately, the weather is getting pretty cold now and we are having nights that are in the 20's and daytime highs only in the low 50's so my glassing work may be done for the season.  I still have lots that I can do in the shop especially given what I found once I opened up the rudder.

It wasn't really a surprise, but I did have some hope that I wouldn't have to replace the rudder, but it didn't take long to realize that it was a bit of a mess. I was able to pull large chunks of the glass sheathing off fairly easily, exposing a core of Mahogany boards (I think) that were soaking wet in places.  It appeared that the waterlogged section was limited to the middle (of three) boards edge glued together.  In any event, I'll be building a new one, since I can't really do much with wet, rotten core.   I did find several epoxy filled pockets hiding the nuts for some of the drift pins, but out of the 8 drifts in the rudder, I only found 3 pockets. I'm not sure where the others are or if the drifts were set without nuts.

I haven't decided how I am going to be rebuilding it yet.  I see two possible options for this; solid wood with drift pins, or plywood sheathed in glass (also with drift pins).  I need to do some research before I make any decisions.

Finally, I drilled pilot holes next to each of the drift pins and took the sawzall to them about 2" from the shaft. I didn't see any need to wrestle the long drift pins out when ultimately the thing is going on the burn pile. Once they were cut, both the upper and lower shafts came out with zero difficulty.

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