making do

Got the tiller completed yesterday. The tiller is a curved and tapered lamination of five layers of white oak and mahogany. The oak was left-over framing from James’ Irene, that had gotten a little buggy laying at the bottom of a pile of off-cuts. As such, it had neat little pinholes through it and exhibited some great spalting when planed. i reserved the better cuts for the inside of the lamination, and kept the most figured/spalted piece for the top.
As with the rest of the exposed woodwork, i’m oiling the tiller rather than varnishing it. i bucked local trends by oiling the fir gunter yard on the Dink (rather than paint or varnish it), and it’s keeping up nicely. Paint is ugly, varnish needs labourious reworking, but oil is dead simple; when it gets a little dry, slather on another coat. If the grain raises a bit, scuff it up before slathering. The ultimate level of protection is less, and oiled wood darkens over time in the sun, but the finish has a noble, honest, workboat feel, and takes the inevitable scuffs and dings with aplomb.
The rudder stock just needs a little sanding and fitting out yet, prior to painting. The stock is a burly 2″ marine plywood lamination, saturated in West. i would have prefered a solid wood stock with bronze cheeks, but i’ve been making do with what’s around the shop. The rudder hardware is mostly in place. i’m using four gudgeons rather than two gudgeons and two pintles; gudgeons are easier to build, and i had a long enough piece of 5/16″ bronze rod for a through-pin. i need to make up the attachments for the chock cord that holds the rudder swung down; in an unexpected impact, the rudder can pivot up do avoid damage. The rudder itself was done weeks ago, and just needs a quick sand and coat of paint before being attached to the stock.
In other departments… i’ve stripped the foul and lumpy old bottom paint off the dinghy bottom, and filled in the worse scratches and dings with West. Except for the powdery paint, the topsides are in pretty good shape. One more fairing sand remains, then the bottom will get coated in barrier primer. More sanding, then i’ll strike up the waterline, paint the topsides, and apply the new bottom paint…


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