March 20, 2016
Over the weekend, I continued with daily coats of varnish on the new rudder cheeks, lightly sanding between coats, as always.
Meanwhile, I worked on the new tiller. Now that the lamination was fully complete, I removed the clamps, leaving me with a messy-looking blank that I could transform into the final shape. The side that had faced down on the gluing jig was mostly smooth, but covered in epoxy squeezeout. To begin, I laid out the old tiller on top of the blank to determine its relative position (which I’d previously marked, come to that), and then I cut off the rough ends of the blank, where the blank had extended off the jig and left ragged squeezerout. This left me with one smooth surface from which I could dimension and clean up the tiller blank.
Starting with the epoxy side down, I ran the tiller through the planer a number of times, alternating sides and cleaning up the surface and smoothing it on both sides till it was bare wood and dimensioned to the correct thickness, or about 1-5/8″, according to the original tiller.
Then, I traced out the final shape of the tiller, using the original, and cut the blank accordingly.
The tip of the original tiller was tapered down over the final foot or so of the tiller length for a comfortable hand hold, and I made some reference marks on the new blank to show the extent of this taper so I could pare down the end as needed. I took care of this quickly with a sander, then sanded the whole blank clean and smooth, rounding all corners but focusing especially on the tip end to smooth and contour it pleasingly.
I drilled the hole for the tiller pin, then, after cleaning the blank, applied a sealer coat of varnish.
Total time billed on this job today: 2 hours
0600 Weather Observation:
15°, clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny, high 35°