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  #11  
Old 11-02-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

To Graham O : very interested in what repairs are made to your rudder. If time allows, please update your progress - I am interested in what is done and how.

To Smurphny: I really didn't understand SinonV's directions ( "day one lift and cut back the damage to sound material feather glass for new lay up") so I will go to West System website. What does 12:1 feather mean? How many layers do I need?

On advice from another I drilled a hole in the bottom of the rudder - lots of water came out but so far not rusty so that is good. Less likely of structural damage to metal frame. At this point I intend to glass the stem aft edge and the rudder leading edge. The aft edge of the stem is square with a one quarter inch ridge running down the centre where the two halves of the rudder meet. I thought this might be aproblem for fibreglass - have used bondo before and thought about fairing the ridge with it before laying glass. Good idea or out to lunch? Any advice appreciated.
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Quote:
Originally Posted by grant64 View Post
TTo Smurphny: I really didn't understand SinonV's directions ( "day one lift and cut back the damage to sound material feather glass for new lay up") so I will go to West System website. What does 12:1 feather mean? How many layers do I need?
12:1 "feather" simply means to grind it back on a taper - like scarfing two pieces of wood together. The taper gives a stronger bonding surface. The first layer of glass should cover right out to the edge of the taper and subsequent layers each get smaller until you have the required thickness. Sort of like a topographical map if you will. The number of layers depends on how many it takes to bring the surface up to where it needs to be. That varies depending on how thick the original glass is, the weight of fabric you are using for the repair and so forth.
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

I would be willing to bet that all rudders with a bronze, stainless, aluminum, carbon, you name it shaft have water in them. I don't believe it is possible without extreme cost to keep it from happening. Certainly the 3 I have cut apart all had water in them.

My Etap 26 has an aluminum rudder post. There was severe pitting right above the blade and I was really worried. So I used a dremel with an abrasive disk to cut the center of the edge all the way around the blade. One side fell right off. The other side was heavily glassed to the shaft and the straps that take the torque. The foam core was completely dry, except the inevitable voids that were all full of water. This rudder spent 25 years on a mooring, even in the winter. IT had a big hole from ice too.

Big surprise. The aluminum shaft, straps, and welds inside the blade were bright and shiny like the day it was built! So what about severe pitting right above the blade? I finally figured it out. Bottom paint, copper bottom paint, is death to aluminum under water! The only pitting was where the bottom paint reached the shaft. I ground out all the pitting, and welded it up. Then I carefully filed it round and smooth again.

Stainless though is a different animal. Crevice corrosion from a lack of oxygen inside the blade can really wreak havoc. Considering how easy it is to split a rudder and check it, I think older boats ought to have this done at some point in their lives.

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

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I would be willing to bet that all rudders with a bronze, stainless, aluminum, carbon, you name it shaft have water in them. I don't believe it is possible without extreme cost to keep it from happening.
Owning both houses and boats in a rain forest I am confident in saying that over time you can never entirely keep water out - of anything. You can only trap it in.
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Old 11-03-2012
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

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Originally Posted by SloopJonB View Post
12:1 "feather" simply means to grind it back on a taper...................
That is, 12" wide for 1" deep.
I would recommend epoxy other than the Bondo mentioned above and, to make the cure complete, run a tab of fiberglass cloth over the seam between the port & starboard laminations.
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

The conditions that cause corrosion problems for almost any metal seem to be so variable as to make predicting what might be weakened almost unpredictable. One thing for sure is that once any current is present, different potentials will cause electrolysis. That is interesting about the aluminum shaft. Aluminum really disintigrates quickly once any current gets to it near other metals.
I replaced the bronze rods that hold my old wood rudder together last year with the same. They have been there since 1967 and had some surface scaling but were still solid underneath after 45 years. I was able to unthread the nuts and disassemble the rudder pretty easily. IMO silicone bronze is still the toughest material over the long term in a marine environment. The large 1-1/2" SB thru-hull that was used for the head, with a little wire brush work, looks like new as well with no sign of any corrosion.
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Re: Rudder repair

1. To split a rudder do you simply take a cutting saw and run around the edges?
Stem part of rudder has obvious seam but leading edge is not so distinct and it seems more difficult to keep a nice straight cut. How do you join back together?

2. If I elect to simply run a length fibreglass tape along the aft stem seam and the forward leading edge seam what do I do to prepare - there is a layer of Interprotect and then antifouling - do I sand these down to fibreglass? If I do that I go through gel coat? And if I do that do I have to reapply gelcoat or just Interprotect again? Just not sure how to prepare surface ans what ramifications are. Have searched internet and Sailnet but no description found.
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

Rudders are constructed in so many different ways that unless you know exactly what's inside, be careful. You could wind up with an expensive mess on your hands, replacing the whole thing when it's not necessary. Do some research as to how your particular rudder is constructed and how others have gone about this type procedure. Sometimes you can actually find photos posted by someone who has done exactly the same thing. I would think you'd be able to check for internal corrosion by drilling a few well-placed, easily plugged holes.

It sounds like you have no experience doing this type thing and may be getting in over your head.
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Re: Rudder repair

Quote:
Originally Posted by grant64 View Post
1. To split a rudder do you simply take a cutting saw and run around the edges?
You can slit it with a cutoff wheel in a small grinder or grind it down until the seam opens.

Quote:
Stem part of rudder has obvious seam but leading edge is not so distinct and it seems more difficult to keep a nice straight cut. How do you join back together?
You join it back together with fiberglass "tape" - you can buy glass fabric in rolls of various widths.

Quote:
If I elect to simply run a length fibreglass tape along the aft stem seam and the forward leading edge seam what do I do to prepare - there is a layer of Interprotect and then antifouling - do I sand these down to fibreglass? If I do that I go through gel coat? And if I do that do I have to reapply gelcoat or just Interprotect again? Just not sure how to prepare surface ans what ramifications are. Have searched internet and Sailnet but no description found.
You grind or sand back to clean glass - no paint, coatings or gelcoat. This is critical since you are going to be creating a secondary bond which inherently has less strength that a primary, chemical bond. Use epoxy resins - they "grip" much better than other resins in this situation and they are far more waterproof. You don't need to reapply gelcoat afterwards.

In fact, when working on old boats, I'd recommend forgetting that anything other than epoxy even exists.

I second Smurph's comments - if I was you I'd so some reading up on laminating, tools & materials and make some practice laminations before cutting your rudder apart. Glass work is pretty simple but there are some important things you need to know beforehand. There are lots of books with this info in them.

Check out Lackeysailing.com - he shows all aspects of boat restoration by documenting the boats he rebuilds - it's a great site.
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Re: Rudder damage - urgent advice needed

You are correct smurphny - I have no experience here and may be getting in over my head. Think I will sand down to fibreglass and lay fibreglass strips with epoxy along the edges. I have drilled holes and I have the rudder hanging in a heated room with the hope that it will dry and there is no structural damage. I will sail one season and at the end remove drain hole plug ( which I will make) - if no water comes out, great. If water comes out then I will consider next move - separate sides or buy new rudder. Maybe separate sides and if I find the job too much, purchase new one.
Thanks SloopJonB - will follow your advice for preparing rudder for glass.

Thanks all for feedback - at least I have a plan of action.
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