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Old 08-15-2008
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Place to buy solid wood tillers

The tiller on my Columbia 22' busted the other day after 30+ years good service.

I've been looking around to find replacement tillers, but they all seem to be mahogany/ash laminates.

Is there any particular reason for this, and does anyone know where to buy solid wood tillers?
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Old 08-15-2008
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How about just buy a block of wood and make your own? I did this on a buddys boat after he fell on his old tiller and broke it in half. I took the old one, put it back together as best as i could and laid it out on a peice of 2x8, traced it out and used a jig saw to cut it out. Did some sanding and painted it. Hes been happy with it for 2 years now.
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The reason most tillers are laminated is that they are generally stronger than plain wood tillers, and often considered better looking.
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Old 08-16-2008
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I've never done this my self, but I've seen two guys that I know use wheel barrow handles from the hardware store. They say that the handles are really cheap. One guy even refinished the handle/tiller prior to installing it. It looks good, but I have no idea how strong it will prove to be.

Hank
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miggidy View Post
The tiller on my Columbia 22' busted the other day after 30+ years good service.
The PO had to replace the (laminated) tiller on our boat. (He gave us the old one, too.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by miggidy View Post
I've been looking around to find replacement tillers, but they all seem to be mahogany/ash laminates.

Is there any particular reason for this, and does anyone know where to buy solid wood tillers?
Yes: A properly made laminate is far stronger than a single piece of wood and is more dimensionally stable.

Btw: If you want to keep your tiller in good shape, make a nice tiller cover for it out of something water- and sun-repellent, such as Sunbrella, and keep it covered when the boat's in her slip. The Admiral made ours out of left-over Sunbrella fabric she bought to make our winch covers and to replace the blue fabric on our lifeline cushions with matching red.

Jim

Last edited by SEMIJim; 08-16-2008 at 11:06 AM.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SVDistantStar View Post
How about just buy a block of wood and make your own? I did this on a buddys boat after he fell on his old tiller and broke it in half.
Couldn't have been much of a tiller if it broke in half just falling on it. I don't think I could break our tiller if I jumped on it--even the old one that's already cracked.

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I took the old one, put it back together as best as i could and laid it out on a peice of 2x8,...
Plain old SPF?!?! No offense intended: But that stuff isn't all that strong, laterally--esp. "sideways" to the grain. I would not trust such a construct on our boat. Maybe your buddy's boat is a lot smaller than our 30' Pearson?

Jim
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Solid wood vs Laminated

A laminated tiller is not "far stronger" than solid wood in and of itself. There are a lot of factors to be considered. One of the main reasons that most tillers are laminated is because of shape. If you were to draw the shape of your tiller on a piece of paper with a bunch of parallel lines (to simiulate the grain of a piece of wood) you would probably find that at some point your tiller is curved and will cross the lines at a point where the grain becomes very short. That is your weak point. Laminating a tiller allows the the grain to follow along the curve and be strong for the entire length. The folks who used wheelbarrow handles don't have a bad idea. The wood used is straight grained and also straight so that there is good strength everywhere. If your shape allows the grain to extend all the way along the tiller solid will be fine. If not, you will need a laminated one. BTW an all Ash tiller will be better than an Ash/Mahogany one as Ash has better bending properties but it doesn't look as good. As far as making one yourself you need to have some knowledge of what you're working with. It can be difficult to make the form to bend the strips so that you have good contact on all joints. Personally I like Weldwood for something like this as it has less creep than epoxy but if your joints are less than perfect epoxy will work also.
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You might look into this sight and call.
They have a nice looking carbon fiber one that might be strong enuff for you.
They also make laminate ones.

Click here: IdaSailor Marine

Rick
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Minney's in Newport Beach usually has a nice selection of wood tillers, some used, some new, some unfinished.
Good prices too, I'd do a link but allowed, too new here!!
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Jim, the boat is a Chrysler 26 and my buddy is well over the 200lb mark. Lets just say it wasnt a normal fall, but more of a late night, wheres my car at kinda fall.

And as i said, its been 2 years worth of use and its still going strong.
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