Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

Here is a situation.  So I smear some unthickened epoxy on all the inside surfaces of my rudder-head, make up a pot at mustard consistency, glue up, and clamp away.  Remove clamps, the rudder blade doesn't go in!  There is no internal obstruction---if I push hard enough I can get the thing arbitrarily close to where it should eventually live---but no way is it swinging up and down on its hinge bolt.  This is before I've smeared additional epoxy on the rudder blade, and way before I've decided whether to finish it bright or painted, and done so; neither of these steps is going to reduce the thickness of the blade, needless to say, and I was hoping to get some paint inside the rudder head, fiberglass on the leading edge, etc.

Should I have incorporated some kind of shim into my glue-up for the rudder head?  Can I salvage the pieces I have now without using a power sander (which I do not own) on the blade?  If not, I imagine CLC can send me a new rudder head, but can anyone suggest a way to save the original one?


7 replies:

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RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

I think your only option is to buy a power sander, which you will probably need to finish the boat and sand down the rudder blade until it fit inside the the jaws. Then paint finish. They look good done that way in a contrasting color to the jaws anyway. Also what kit are you building? I have a Passagemaker and I could add photo's of my rudder finished that way.


RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

You didn't mention which boat you're building, but in any case the solution is to grind down the rudder head a little with a sander.  This step is actually referenced in most of the manuals of boats with kick-up rudders.

RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

Ah.  I thought it was something I'd done wrong.  Power sanding being out of the question, because of the noise, I shall have to come up with something clever.  But this whole build has been a series of pleasant problems to solve, so I'll see what I can come up with.  Old-timey days, people did not have power sanders either, and they built boats just fine.

I am building a Jimmy Skiff.  But I'd like to see your Passagemaker pics anyway, monboat, if you don't mind.

RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

Hi SRoytman,

I agree that one shouldn't always reach for powertools in every case. Perhaps a sanding block from scraps with some rough grit paper, or even a small plane to get started. FWIW, I think the painted rudderblade looks very nice with bright cheeks. 

good luck!


RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

My choice would be to use my block plane but you could try using a scraper. Card scrapers are cheap if you don't have one, or, you could take the blade out of you plane and use it as a scraper.  DON'T roll the cutting edge, just use it as is.

RE: Help! Rudder doesn't fit!

This is quiet, quick, and has many other uses.

I would not give mine up for I use it on more than boat building

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