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post #1 of 22 Old 10-30-2017 Thread Starter
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Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

I am restoring my tiller, made (I believe. edit: I have no idea what it's made of, and teak/oak is probably on the optimistic side!) of teak and oak laminates, and I had to remove a fair bit of rotted material near the forward end if it. How can I fill this portion and reinforce it with epoxy and fiberglass? Is it worth my time? This is off a Newport 30.

Plan:

1. kill the mold spores by saturating it all with alcohol a few times, and try to mechnically remove all visible dark rot or soft wood.

2. Use epoxy, perhaps thickened with glass fibers (for structure), to fill the lost wood. I might employ a thick soft plastic taped around the tiller to rough out the shape, and then grind it down after it has set. I wonder if that amount of epoxy will melt the plastic...

3. Grind down to shape.

4. Fiberglass (with more epoxy) arround the the repair, and down the tiller somewhat, and then grind/sand to finish, feathering it at the base of the repair.

5. Varnish it all with 6 coats of spar varnish? or what.



Thanks so much for your help and/or comments on any given step!

Last edited by driggers; 10-30-2017 at 10:11 AM.
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-30-2017
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

Do you know you can get a new one for about $125.00
Marine Sailboat Tillers
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

Broken tillers are a bummer, as they usually seem to happen while the helm is being over powered by a gust and your boat is trying to round up.

I would maybe look into a new tiller.
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

As mentioned, tillers are not to expensive to buy, and trying to repair a marginalized one doesn't really make sense (if it later snaps in a sudden roundup it's no fun)

This is also a relatively easy DIY project.. I could help you with that if you want to buy the material.

Ron

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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

Getting a new one is sounding very reasonable. I won't have to spend several evenings applying epoxy and grinding stuff on the porch either.

Thanks for the offer Ron!
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

My tiller had a similar scenario to yours but not as severe. I cut straight in at both ends of the damage and then using the table saw with the blade partially raised, cleared out the bad material to leave a nice straight surface. I then made a tight fitting piece and glued and clamped it in place. Results were very nice, and strong.

Years ago, I thought a tiller extension would be a good idea; this damage was a result of water getting in around the hardware where it clipped on...self inflicted damage.
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

Quote:
Originally Posted by driggers View Post
Getting a new one is sounding very reasonable. I won't have to spend several evenings applying epoxy and grinding stuff on the porch either.

Thanks for the offer Ron!
I can't remember if your tiller head is on the cockpit floor or the top of the seat.. You'll probably find that most available tillers are relatively straight. If yours has a significant curve you may not find a match. But otherwise buying one is definitely the most expedient. Pay close attention to the tiller head dimensions as you're shopping.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

The tiller is essentially a 'lever'. The area that is responsible for the most 'strength' is the butt of the tiller/lever (where the tiller attaches to the rudder stock, etc.); the least stressed portion of a lever/tiller is the far end where your hand grabs the tiller.

If you can't find a curve-matched tiller replacement, it would be OK to partly re-laminate / epoxy, etc. repair the 'hand end' of your broken tiller. (You could even 'embed' stainless steel 'bar' or 'rod' within/inside the re-lamination for even greater strength.)
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Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by driggers View Post
Getting a new one is sounding very reasonable. I won't have to spend several evenings applying epoxy and grinding stuff on the porch either.

Thanks for the offer Ron!
I can't remember if your tiller head is on the cockpit floor or the top of the seat.. You'll probably find that most available tillers are relatively straight. If yours has a significant curve you may not find a match. But otherwise buying one is definitely the most expedient. Pay close attention to the tiller head dimensions as you're shopping.
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichH View Post
The tiller is essentially a 'lever'. The area that is responsible for the most 'strength' is the butt of the tiller/lever (where the tiller attaches to the rudder stock, etc.); the least stressed portion of a lever/tiller is the far end where your hand grabs the tiller.

If you can't find a curve-matched tiller replacement, it would be OK to partly re-laminate / epoxy, etc. repair the 'hand end' of your broken tiller. (You could even 'embed' stainless steel 'bar' or 'rod' within/inside the re-lamination for even greater strength.)
Ron, it comes to the floor from a 1.5in wear by 2in high butt and due to wear the handle hits the seats (i.e. when autopilot engaged). Thus a new tiller with more rise could fix that problem too. Tiller is 49in long which is a bit longer than the ones on defender. I requested a quote from rudderworks for a 9.75in rise tiller.

Rich, i like that idea except that it could interfere with the existing tiller extendsion mount. I will consider putting in a vertical stainless steel plate though if i go that route.
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Re: Repair dry rot laminated wood tiller

I apologize for suggesting a very inexpensive and effective repair.
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delaminated , dry rot , epoxy , restore , tiller

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