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  #1  
Old 01-25-2010
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Waterlox Marine for a new mahogany rudder?

I'm making a new rudder and tiller out of a big chunk of mahogany. The boat lives on a trailer in a garage when not in use so it's going to be under water at most, 48 hours at a time. (fresh and salt water) I've heard spar varnishes yellow and flake off. I would prefer a finish that will allow the wood to dry out if it gets wet, not seal in any moisture that soaks in. Anyone have similar experiences with Waterlox (tung oil + other stuff)? I chose that because someone gave me half a can and I've been trying it on pieces of scrap. Looks pretty good, goes on easy enough. I don't mind recoating it every year or two, but I hate sanding and stripping (which is why I'm making a new rudder rather than redoing the old one)

I'm also replacing the hatch rails with teak. Waterlox okay on teak too?

Thank you for your input.
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Old 01-25-2010
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I would highly recommend putting at least a single layer of fiberglass over the rudder. That would give it a lot more protection and strength and help prevent the rudder from getting waterlogged.

Use epoxy resin. It is more waterproof than Polyester or vinylester and will stick to the wood far better as well.
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Old 01-25-2010
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As above but be sure to use epoxy resin.
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Of course, since a single layer of fiberglass with polyester or vinylester resin would be fairly useless... especially given the water resistance of them compared to epoxy and the much lower secondary bonding strength... Also, most of the epoxy resins will require some sort of coating for UV protection.
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As above but be sure to use epoxy resin.
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Old 01-25-2010
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I thought about that but after researching decided against. It seems like if there's any little breach in waterproof-ness (at a bolt hole, where I accidentally drag it across the launch ramp, etc) then water will get in, swell the wood, crack the fiberglass letting more water in. And the thing might never dry out. This isn't going to be wet for more than 8 hours at a time, once a week. Except maybe once a season it'll be in for a day or so. The old rudder is mahogany with some sort of finish on it. Someone filled some gouges and scrapes with JB Weld or some other sort of epoxy. They painted the top half brown but left the bottom alone. I bought the boat that way, used it for a season thinking I'd sail it as-is before making changes. A new rudder and tiller isn't even a need, it's a want. The old one was fine just ugly. I don't want to be in a position where I'm forced to do a fiberglass repair on a rudder. I suspect I could end up there if I glassed it. With oil I'd just scuff it up with a scotchbrite pad and throw on more oil, right? I'm layering it onto a piece of scrap right now. 5 sides of a 1/2" x 1 1/2" x 18" long stick. Once I get enough coats on it I figured I'd sit it in a bucket of tap water overnight then saw the piece in half to see if any water got in. Maybe I should make more samples and try scuffing one on sandpaper to simulate a grounding, then soak and see if it dries out?
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Old 01-25-2010
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I think your plan sounds fine. It sounds as though your rudder will never be wet long enough to worry about waterlogging.

You might give a thought to painting the underwater portion white for the simple reason that it makes it easier to see if you have snagged some weeds or errant line.
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Old 01-26-2010
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The white paint is a good idea but doesn't jive with my desire to have a "purty" rudder. The mahogany is fairly light, and I'm not staining it so it's not getting much darker. The 5' swing keel should find all the weeds and crab pots before my rudder does. I am planning on painting the fenders on my trailer white for visibility when loading. (and towing at night, I suppose) Heinzir, Your boat is sharp! I don't have any albums of my yellow-hulled MagGregor up yet. (17' Venture by MacGregor)
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I would varnish & touch up as needed. An oil finish will not do much for immersed wood. It is the cycling of wet dry that causes warping & checking. I agree with the sentiment to not epoxy or fiberglass. Once the capsule is breached then, like a wet deck, the water is in there. The rudder will get banged.
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Old 03-04-2010
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An update: I did several test pieces and they've been soaking in a can of tap water for several weeks. Periodically I'd pull a piece out, cut the end off and inspect. All of them dry as a bone. I've got 4 coats on the rudder and tiller and it looks like a fresh bowling alley floor. Really awesome. Got some brass sheet -- may put a brass edge on the bottom to avoid scuffs. Also going to put some where rudder/tiller parts hit each other when folded for storage. Waterlox marine seems to do well on the teak rails as well.
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Old 03-05-2010
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Sea Lover, why not ask Waterlox themselves? Their owner is a sailor as is some of their support staff. Call them up and ask for Zar. Pretty sure they have the scoop on this.
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