January 2017

It was great to get back to making sawdust.

Winter is basement time, and this winter the first job is the rudder. The Navigator is built to go in shallow waters, so parts that stick down (like the centerboard and the rudder) are built to pivot up when they run into something .

The top part of the rudder assembly attaches to the boat, and the bottom part swings up and down as needed.

First I drew out the plans full-sized, and transferred that shape to the wood.


I cut out the rudder cheeks.


This is what the top will look like eventually look like.


To figure out the shape of the rudder I started with a mock-up in cardboard. Here it’s in the down position, and in the up position.


The actual rudder blade is thick so it starts as a bunch of pieces glued together. The mixed-up grains of all the pieces helps to keep the rudder from warping.


After much shaping.

And here’s where I am right now. The rudder cheeks are bolted and the blade is shaped. Still needs more fussing with the pivot bolt, and I plan to fiberglass the front and bottom edges for when, you know, I run into stuff.

Two other exciting additions to the project. I picked up this cool old spokeshave. Probably more than a century old, it’s a great help in delicate shaping and turning square shapes into round, like masts.


And even better – my sails arrived! That’s one big step closer to sailing. Here’s the small one (the mizzen) in the box and on the kitchen floor.

On to February.




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