My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something - SailNet Community

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Old 04-24-2013
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[project completed] My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

I have a wooden rudder which is probably mahogany or something. I don't usually leave it in the water. Right now it's mostly just bare wood. There is a several square inch patch on it where some old varnish finish remains, so many years ago I know it wasn't just bare wood.

The whole painting thing is new to me. So what should I do? I really don't care how it looks. It's gray wood now and that color doesn't bother me. It does have some small cracks going along the direction of the wood.

So what should I do with it? There is no store like West Marine around here where I could go looking through painting products. I guess I can sand it if I have to. A more wood like color might be nice if it doesn't involve much more work. It's for steering the boat, it's not an art project.

Edit: Project is finished. Image here: http://nomad.ignorelist.com/images/s...ana_rudder.jpg

Last edited by steel; 08-11-2013 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 04-24-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

Sand and varnish....supplies at hdwr store
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

gray sounds like it could be teak
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

I'd cover it in epoxy, then varnish it.
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

Thanks. The varnish at Menards said it was for above the waterline only. It was one of about 4 boating paint products that they had.
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Old 04-25-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

Get some exterior grade paint and matching undercoat. If you want to get fancy take a pic of the hull color and ask the store to color match it. Most have mixing capablities. In my experience paint outlasts any varnish.

Sand smooth, undercoat, topcoat and go sailing.
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

If the strength of the wood is in question at all, what I would do is actually fibreglass over the wood. I did this myself on my Wayfarer rudder.

So I did the following :

A layer of glass mat, expoxied to the rudder.
Epoxy over the mat until smooth (you can brush West System on)
Sand until fair.
I painted the lower third with dark green paint.
I varnished the upper third.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

I like the idea of painting it. After all, isn't that what's done to wooden boats?

The wood is fine so no need to glass it. I would be worried that water could get trapped under the glass.
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Old 04-29-2013
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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

Steel, wood expands and contracts with changes in moisture. Right now the unfunished rudder absorbs water when you're sailing and dries out when she's on the trailer. That's why you're getting some cracking.

The idea is to seal the rudder, that will slow the rate of expansion and contraction and prevent any future cracking, and will fill the existing cracks .

Since she's been bare wood for a while and you do have some cracks I would sand her back a bit with 80 grit on a random orbit sander. Keep the sander moving. This will remove surface grit and the rough gray wood.

Make a filler paste using the sawdust from the sander's dust bag mixed with CPES and use it to fill the cracks. Mix the filler to the consistency of peanut butter. Then coat the rudder with a couple of coats of CPES to seal it. Here's the link for CPES.

CPES doesn't have UV inhibitors so you'll have to paint or varnish the finished rudder. It's also forgiving on the mixture ratios.

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Re: My wooden rudder needs to be painted or something

There are lots of little cracks, but the biggest crack is 0.040". Can I skip the sawdust thing?

I put some water on it to see if it would swell up. How many days should I let it dry before doing any of the treatments?

edit1:
Quote:
Get some exterior grade paint and matching undercoat.
So just regular paint from the hardware store. No special marine paint? If I decide to leave the rudder in the water, will that be okay? I was thinking, if a wooden boat can be left in the water all the time, I could just use the same kind of paint and leave by rudder in as well.

edit2: I put the rudder in some water for a few hours and now all the cracks are gone. I would imagine painting would have the same effect.

Last edited by steel; 04-29-2013 at 06:13 PM.
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