The Naiad Voyages

Mark Austen

2016.08.02 - Rudder Stock - The Beginning

I had great plans for working on the forward bunk and stowage today but I made a slight miscalculation. I decided that it was about time the screws into the bilge keels were replaced having taken most of them during the repair. And this I did. I carefully put a few drops of epoxy into each screw hole and then put in the screw tightening it firmly but not excessively. The idea behind the epoxy is that it soaks into the wood around the screw so that if water should seep past the screw for any reason, it will not get into the wood. "But what if you want to remove the screws?" I hear you ask, well in that case, if the screw does not move with a screwdriver then applying the tip of a hot soldering iron to the head of the screw for a few minutes will heat up the screw enough to soften the epoxy.

When I had finished I stood in the boat and looked at what I had done and realised that I could not work in the boat until the epoxy had cured. I would be constantly treading on the sticky epoxy and getting it everywhere. So while I thought about what to do next I flattened the coat of epoxy that I put onto the bottom of the table top yesterday.

I decided to start the rudder stock as this did not require me to climb in and out of the boat. Having carefully examined photos of Shoal Waters I had estimated that the skeg is no more that 5" high at the stern so I elected to make the rudder stock an inch shorter than this. By chance I had some offcuts of hardboard that had been used as packaging and one of these pieces was exactly the correct width for a template. I measured and drew, measured some more, drew again until I had a shape that I was happy with. The template was cut out using a sharp jigsaw and used to draw out the shapes on a piece of 18mm marine plywood. The shapes were then roughly cut out with a jig saw then the two cheek pieces and the template held together with the intention of using a follower router bit to trim the plywood to the exact shape of the template.

Only by then it had started raining and since I did not want to do this in the workshop as it will create a lot of dust and other mess and I had also been working for 4 hours and therefore getting to the point where a mistake was going to be made, I decided to put the stock aside for tomorrow.

The line of bilge keel screws on the starboard side…


…and on the port side.


The flatted underside of the table top.


The rudder stock template showing the myriad of drawing lines.


The three pieces of the rudder stock, the two cheek pieces and the spacer.


The cheekpieces bolted and clamped together ready for trimming.