• Mobile App For Android Now Online!

    Download it here. The app is searchable in the Google Play Store under Sailboat Owners.

    Sorry iPhone/iPad users, we are still waiting on Apple. :(

    Click the X in the upper right corner to make this go away

rudder repair

Apr 7, 2006
103
Tom-

You should be able to remove the rudder and leave the post in position. My only question is whether you can access the lower screws due to the recess in the after edge of the keel. It might be hard to get at them with a bit brace/screw driver

The nuts for the upper bolts are in the rudder and covered by square pieces of wood that are easily removable- you can find these quickly by giving the rudder a good scraping in line with the bolt heads. Then you have access to the nuts for removal. As I said i couldn't drive out one of the old bolts as it was totally frozen in the wood.

We ended up taking the bronze sickle shaped lower rudder post off the stainless upper post (just a straight shaft). There is a wooden bung in line with the post- if you chisel that out there is a large nut which I removed with a deep socket and 3/4 drive breaker bar. The after loosening the quadrant up top I could jack the stainless shaft up till the lower part came free.
Then I could unstep the rudder and do the repair.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Thank you Jon. I think I see what you're saying. The bung may be missing already, I recall the recess. It would be easier to remove the whole rudder but I was expecting to have to do it in place until your posts. Once I get into it, I'll take photos.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I was just down at the boat Jon and have another question. I haven't gone below the cockpit sole. You say you just lossened the quadrant and the shaft slid up with out much problem? Also, did you pull the gudgeon or the pintle on the rudder? I haven't removed any paint yet to see what might be easier.

In your rudders case, was the threaded upper rod broken off or were you able to re-use it? Mine is snapped so I will be drilling it out, my guess. I'll need to get some rod or a bolt cut off and threaded on both ends. Thanks for saving me some time.
 
Apr 7, 2006
103
wE WERE ABLE TO SLIDE THE POST UP THROUGH THE QUADRANT ENOUGH TO UNSHIP THE RUDDER WITHOut removing any pintles or gudgeons.

We did replace the upper bolt- I had some left over pieces of silicon bronze but I also think you can get short pieces through McMaster-Carr. Hamilton's must have a long enough carriage bolt- cut off the head end and thread it- I'm pretty sure it was doulble nutted.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I'm curious if our rudders are built the same way Jon. I took a photo this am. I can see where the rudder should lean out clear and come out of the bronze shoe. But I don't see that happening with the mid gudgeon and pintle. Again, I haven't cleared the paint to get started. Here's a photo that also shows the rudder parting from the stock. It looks like I may have to pull the pintle that's attached to the glass keel. Either screwed or through bolted. Not sure yet.
 

Attachments

Apr 7, 2006
103
Tom they look exactly the same. On our rudder just below the upper pintle there is copper sheathing covering a space which allows the rudder to be raised up out of the gudgeons. It didn't look like we had the room to swing the rudder to clear the after edge of the keel but with a little persausion she went.

It looks like you can faintly see a seam about 3" below the upper pintle in your photo. Clean that up and hopefully you'll find what I did. It was faired right in to the rudder and fastened with copper brads.

Good luck, Jon
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
Great news! I may have noticed the area come to think of it. I guess I should expect to apply a little leverage with a bar to clear the keel going off and back on. That's a lot less work though Jon. Thank you. This board is already beginning to be a wonderful tool for dealing with these Alden boats.
 

CaravelaofExe

Alden Forum Moderator
Jan 24, 2006
221
Alden Caravelle 42 / Northern European waters
The Halmatic Caravelle rudder is very different (all GRP - seems to be identical to the Nicholson 32 rudder) so I haven’t anything to add, except: when refitting the rudder it’s normally a good idea to drop a dome shaped bronze shim button into the heel socket that’s just high enough to stop the rudder from binding on the shoe and have a few years of wear allowed. But that’s in a perfect world and there isn’t always much clearance for it…
 
Dec 4, 2007
52
Hodgdon Bros. Alden Caravelle Seabrook, Texas
In response to Iain's comments. I had a problem with a some slop at the bottom of the rudder on a boat I used to own. I put a thin delrin washer under the rudder. I didn't have to drop the rudder to do this I just cut a slit in the washer and slid it in.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I did finally get around to removing the rudder the other day. Thanks to Jon, it went quickly. I'll outline the work below for any future reference and add to this post as I finish the project.

Under the cockpit sole; The quadrant was easily loosened and immediately slid free on the rudder shaft. It has a keyway cut into both the quadrant and shaft. The stuffing box, something I've never touched, was more of a problem and required a large pipe wrench to separate.
It's good to now have that loosened and working to stuff with new packing and be able to maintain. There's a grease fitting on the stuffing box which I think is clogged, I may remove that and replace. I've tried to pump grease into it but not sure it works. Does anyone use this?

On the rudder; I was able to fit a regular length 1 1/8" socket into the recess in the bronze rudder stock. It let go without too much work. With a long drift, I hammered the shaft up and out of the stock. The SS shaft is tapered and has a keyway , both of which fit the bronze stock.

Removal; I easily found the small strap of copper that covers the slot by the lower gudgeon and pintle. It was screwed into the mahogany.
There wasn't enough room to slide by and clear the hull above in my boats case though. I was easily able to remove the screws in the rudder gudgeon though. 3 # 14 FH bronze screws per side. This heavy bronze fitting has thick straps (1/4" +) that fit into a gain cut in the rudder. With the screws out, the rudder leaned back and I was able to lift it off the bronze shoe.

Reference of fasteners; 4 fasteners- #1,2,3,4 are from right to left in the photo or from the bottom of the rudder, #1, FH woods screws up to the top, #4, the rod threaded into the bronze stock.

With the rudder now in my shop, I've begun removing the broken fasteners. Nothing would come out by conventional means. The heads of the 2 lower FH screws(#1 and #2) too far gone, the 3/8" machine bolt(# 3) slot also useless. I drilled the head soff with progressively larger bits until the stock and rudder, with some prying, parted. This allowed me enough stem to turn the wood screws out with vise grips.

At this point; The upper fastener, #4, is a bronze rod (bolt cut and threaded ) is the rod you see. The threaded end in the bronze stock snapped off. Inside the gain cut in the rudder, the nut and threaded end were easily snapped off with a cold chisel. The state of the bronze is very weak now. It's now out of the rudder and I'll soon tackle drilling and removing the piece inside the rudder stock.

The 3/8" machine bolt(#3), is stuck inside the rudder as Jon found. This machine bolt is so far corroded, it's swollen inside the gain to the point the nut is in little pieces. The end in the bronze stock, is about half the diameter(very loose) and snapped right off. Some heavy pounding with a drift, to drive it in with the hope of cutting it into pieces, gave no movement. I think I'll have to cut it out and scarf a piece back in. (Not so, read on)

Basically, these fasteners have all given up the ghost on this rudder. It wouldn't have taken much more to make the rudder inoperable. I'll add photos and the repairs as I do them.


Before cutting #3 out, I tried drilling into it with a smaller bit. After an inch, it drifted off the bronze bolt. But then I had an idea. A 7/16"" long twist bit was snug in the hole now and followed it straight and true. That kept it on line with the bolt, but it was slow going. So I tightened a bar clamp to my handless Makita 1/2" drill and the gain cut in the rudder, and in a few minutes, I twisted the drill (press)right up the middle of the bronze bolt. Sweet.

With #3 out and clear, I drilled the stock out with a small bit and tried an easy out, no luck. Went to the next size, still no luck.

I went out to find new fasteners. Luckily, I have Rockport Marine down the hill. With a half century or more of wooden boat building, I found what I needed. I bought 2 1/2" x 10" bronze machine bolts, washers and nuts. For the wood screws, I stepped up in diameter to @24 FH 4" bronze wood screws.

Back in my shop, I started at the top, #4. With no way to budge what was left of the old broken bolt inside the stock, I used the correct sized drill for the 1/2" tap I mated to the new bronze machine bolts at the hardware. I picked up the matching die as well. (There were a few thread gauge sizes for the 1/2", get the right match).

#4; The drill took it back to a clean bronze hole(was the old bolt slightly smaller?). I went all the way through into the bore(whoops). This was easily retapped and fit the new bolt threads nicely. The 10" was just long enough to cut the FH off the other end of the bolt. I cut new threads onto the end with the die. Test fit, check.

#3; First, with the increased diameter, I redrilled the stock to a new 1/2" diameter hole. This was snug to the point the new machine bolt would not quite seat fully. Although snug in the wood, I test fit by tapping the bolt through the stock into the rudder. Check.

#2 and #1. Not being sure of the original size, I went up at least one diameter to #28 FH 4" woodscrews. This were a snug fit in the rudder stock. I increased the shank and screw pilotholes in the rudder. Snug partial fit. Check.

One last thing;, the larger FH woods screws, #1 and #2, as well as the larger diameter 1/2" machine bolt, #3, didn't fit the chamfer in the bronze stock for the flat heads to seat. Back to the hardware, I bought a 13/16" twist bit to enlarge these just a bit. There was plenty of stock for strength to work with.




Back together it all went. You get a real sense of the great design work that went into this rudder 50 years ago. It's a full 3" thick at the stock side tapering down to the bronze aft edge. Because this was an early glass hull, the aft edge of the keel is quite hefty resulting in that 3" thickness. It may well be that the systems and experience of building wooden rudders in that day made it a safer choice. And now, 50 years later, with new bronze fasteners pulling old wood and old bronze, still good as new today, back together, resulting in the same strength, plus a bit, it's still hard to argue their thinking and craftsmanship.





Then finally, installed on the boat. With the mid gudgeon loose on the rudder, the lower rudder pin in the shoe, I slowly pushed the rudder into place. At that point, with pliers, I realized the key in the slot between the rudder shaft and stock was bronze as it crumbled. I found 5/16" bronze key stock and cut a new one. Lining up the key ways, I gently taped the shaft into the bronze stock. I replaced the bronze nut on the SS rudder shaft with a SS nut with a plastic insert to keep it locked. All went back together nicely. I did put a strip of copper inside the lower shoe which took up some of the wear.

After tightening the quadrant above as well as taking up the play in the cables, I locked the wheel and tugged the rudder. Nice and tight again.
 

Attachments

Feb 22, 2006
30
Tom,

Great documentation.

I have had to do some rebuilding of the wood structure of the rudder on my Mistral (981-A) but didn't have the courage to tackle the bolt issue. My rudder shows a small amount ( really very small - (1/16" ??))of looseness between the wood rudder and the rudder stock. Luckily, Alden changed the design for the Mistral rudder and used four 1/2" diameter rods to secure the wood the the rudder stock so I have a little more margin to deal with. My biggest concern has been the top threaded rod that seems to go all the way through the rudder stock and tapered end of the rudder shaft. This didn't seem to make a lot of sense but it is what I thought was going on. I didn't know how I was going to get this appart other than to use a Saws-All to cut the bolt and deal the results as it goes. If my top bolt is threaded into the stock like yours, it makes this all a lot easier to deal with.

The bad news is that all your rods were badly deteriorated. My guess is that I may have to be looking at this on my next haulout.

I know the argument that the wood rudder has lasted for 50 years so why change but do you know if anyone has replaced their wood rudder with fiberglass?

Bill
 
Jul 8, 2016
22
Hi guys,

Right now, I'm also working on getting the rudder off my Challenger. The boat had been in the water for a number of years when I bought it, allowing the bottom paint to severely degrade around the rudder area. The result, as the surveyor found, was that the Mahogany of the rudder had been invaded by shipworms. You can see the chunks in the upper middle board that broke away just from light picking by the surveyor in this photo:



Originally, I'd hoped to tackle the project armed with a copy of the rudder drawings from Alden. But when I received the copies of the Challenger plans from MIT this past weekend, I unfortunately got a copy of the rudder drawing for the Alden Mistral instead. Nevertheless, having found this thread, I thought I'd still it give it a go this week as my brother-in-law is in town and was willing to help.

We started with the removal of the slats that partitioned the port locker from the area underneath the cockpit sole, located the the quadrant and loosened the two inner nuts to relax the quadrant's grip on the shaft... after meeting the acquaintance of an ancient caulking gun from years past:



With the slats off, we were also able to get a good look at the rudder stuffing box and measure what size wrench would be needed to use on them.

Turning to the task of detaching the rudder shaft from the bronze rudder stock which forms the leading edge of the prop aperture, we were able to locate the large wooden bung described in the posts above. However, unlike the smooth circular opening in the pictures that have been posted, the area we chiseled out was more akin to a misshapen shield with a jagged top. Nor were we able to detect any sign of a nut or threaded rod. Only a circular shape that may or may not be the unadorned end of the rudder shaft.

It was hard to get a good photo, but hopefully this provides a solid illustration of what I'm looking at:



After removing some of the calcified growth on the sickle-shaped stock, we did uncover circular buttons on either side. My current working theory is that rather than using a threaded rod with a nut, the Dutch craftsmen at LeComte joined the stock to the rudder shaft by passing a bronze rod through to pin them together, and then peened the ends over into the circular buttons. This leads to the first issue on which I hope to get some feedback and advice.

1. Does anyone see anything in the photo looking up into the bottom of the stock through the cleared opening to suggest there is any nut there?

2. Any thoughts on my theory that the shaft is being held to the stock with a single peened over bronze pin? I'm open to other ideas!

3. How does one go about removing such a pin without damaging the surrounding rudder stock? I've come across references on the internet to "drilling them out" without further elaboration as to what this would entail. Use of any special type of extractor?

4. As I presume the pin will be destroyed in the extraction, how to replace it? I would like to think that it was originally pinned together while hanging on the boat, so that I could do the same thing. But if so, what sort of support would you place on the backside of the rudder while pounding out the head?
And would that unduly stress the fiberglass? Or would you think LeComte would have joined it in the shop and then lifted it in as one unit, from below, before the rudder shoe was installed?

Looking next at unscrewing the lower pintle strap in order to ease removal of the rudder, we cleaned away the growth and remaining paint from the strap, but it did not reveal 3 fasteners per side as described in Tom's post above, just three flatheads on the starboard side of the strap. The port side looks almost entirely smooth, but If you look closely, you can see small circles which may be the ends of the screws -- cut off and sanded flush.

Starboard:



Port:



The screws have been doused with penetrating oil to the extent possible, and my plan to loosen them would be by hammering a (hand) impact driver to loosen the heads. Does anyone see any problems with that idea?

I also searched, to no avail, for the slot below the lower gudgeon which is described in this thread as having been covered over with copper sheathing. My rudder appears to be solid wood in that area.



If I do not have this slot, do you think I will be able to lift the rudder off without removing the shoe?

Finally, I returned to the matter of the stuffing box. There was a suggestion online to use common slip nut wrenches and I picked up a couple from a local big box hardware store. They flex, come loose, slip off the nuts (particularly the narrow locknut on the bottom) and, in short, I haven't been able to budge the nuts a single millimeter. I noticed Tom mentioned using a pipe wrench in his post above. Would that be an ordinary pipe wrench with teeth, and if so, what precautions need to be taken to avoid chewing up the nuts?

All helpful responses are welcome!

Thanks,

Adam
 

Attachments

Jul 8, 2016
22
Stormalong said:
After removing some of the calcified growth on the sickle-shaped stock, we did uncover circular buttons on either side. My current working theory is that rather than using a threaded [rudder shaft] with a nut, the Dutch craftsmen at LeComte joined the stock to the rudder shaft by passing a bronze rod through to pin them together, and then peened the ends over into the circular buttons.
(edited to substitute "rudder shaft" for "rod")

In case my description wasn't very clear, as reflected in the above edit, I meant to refer to the threaded end of the rudder shaft others have found on their boats inside the sickle-shaped stock, and to help show what I'm talking about on my boat, I also have some photos to show the round heads in the stock that were underneath the paint and growth on IOLAIRE:

Starboard side:

Port side:

Thanks,

Adam
 

Attachments

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I don't think I understand this photo: However, it could be the stock end of the large pin which was threaded into my stock? I think removal will solve what it is and how it was built.



If the above is the long drift pin in the rudder, there should be a corresponding access plug in the wood that covers the nut(s) that pull the wood up to the rudder stock.

None the less, you've described things well. The last photos really help. I think you're right; the builders drilled the shaft and rudder stock for a pin, and peened it over.

I'm only guessing but they may not have cut the space in the wood of the rudder to allow removal after the shaft is pulled out of the stock - because they mounted rudder and then lower shoe?

As I recall in removing my rudder a few years ago, I had to turn the rudder all the way - and it just fit to the side of the hull above - to slide up enough to clear the lower pintle and gudgeon. There is some play in my lower pintle and gudgeon that may have helped. I assume that play is wear but perhaps it was oversized a bit to allow the builders to mount the rudder after the shoe was installed?

I wouldn't remove the lower shoe, I'd grind off the heads and remove the pin. This is assuming the lower shoe is solidly mounted. I would cut the space to allow the rudder to rise enough to clear the lower shoe, for re-intstallation.

My guess is the bronze pin might come out with correct sized punch. If not drill it out - would be my choice. It should be easy to replicate.

I look forward to more photos of this project and will follow along.
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
As to your gudgeon, that's a mystery that might solve itself once you get the rudder off. At any rate, the gudgeon on my rudder is largely held and supported by the gain that was cut into the wood of the rudder. That pocket is quite deep. The wood screws merely hold it in place.

I can't imagine your builders fabricated a gudgeon with bolts that fit into threaded holes on the other leaf of the gudgeon? As they liked to use a solid peened rod above, could they have done the same thing with bolts in the gudgeon?

As far as peening new rods for re-installation, I've never done it. I would ask a local metal worker hopefully with some boat building fabrication experience. I have a guy here that might offer an opinion with your photos(future once removed might show more).

My sense is one person would hold a heavy weight on one side as the other person peened the heads.
 
Jul 8, 2016
22
Thanks for your insights, Tom! I really appreciate your taking the time to reply.

I don't think I understand this photo: However, it could be the stock end of the large pin which was threaded into my stock? I think removal will solve what it is and how it was built.
That particular photo is of the recess in the bronze rudder stock after chiseling out the mahogany plug. The camera was being held above the propeller and essentially pointing up at the ceiling. As I understand it, that corresponds to the recess on your stock, that was already missing its mahogany plug, and into which you placed a 1 1/8" socket to remove the nut.

The jagged recess in my stock contrasts with the smoothly bored circular recess seen in the photos posted by David to his album in 2005:

http://reno2.com/alden/images/949/Reno/ ... 4.jpg.html
http://reno2.com/alden/images/949/Reno/ ... 5.jpg.html
http://reno2.com/alden/images/949/Reno/ ... p.jpg.html

In describing his own trevails in trying to remove his rudder, he wrote this:

I removed one nut from the rudder shaft. The nut promptly cracked in half (I have no idea what it was made of, almost seemed like hardened clay if you can believe that). I didn't see another nut.
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=84&p=357&hilit=rudder#p357

I posted the photo because although I can't feel any flats or edges of a nut to put a socket on, when you look at the picture it seems like there is a skinny post at the center of a larger circular... something. I don't know what to make of it, and was trying to figure out if there is a very narrow taper threaded into some sort of material. Maybe like David described, but it seems too metallic for that to be the case and you can see it shine in the photo.

As you mentioned the drifts pins, that's another mystery I'm working to unravel. As I understand your description and photos above, of those 4 fasteners only the top one was threaded into the stock. The heads of the other 3 were accessible on the "spine" of the sickle-shaped rudder stock. Cleaning that spine off on my rudder failed to uncover any heads. We should have been looking in the right places as the rudder has shrunk so much from drying out that you can see the drifts in the gaps as they pass through the boards that comprise the rudder blade. It may be that all of the drift pins on my rudder are threaded into the stock.

None the less, you've described things well. The last photos really help. I think you're right; the builders drilled the shaft and rudder stock for a pin, and peened it over.
Glad to hear others don't think I'm way off the mark! I guess the only way to know for sure is to just jump in and extract it.

I wouldn't remove the lower shoe, I'd grind off the heads and remove the pin. This is assuming the lower shoe is solidly mounted. I would cut the space to allow the rudder to rise enough to clear the lower shoe, for re-intstallation.
Yeah, I'm really trying to avoid pulling the rudder shoe. As far as I can tell (as it's still covered in bottom paint) the shoe looks well-adhered. Cutting might be the only way to go to get the needed wiggle room. The blade is awfully thick on its leading edge, though.

In trying to puzzle out how the rudder was originally installed, I've been thinking about the gap which I've outlined in this photo with a purple box and the foremost flathead screw in the pintle which I've outlined in blue.



I believe that piece of wood above the pintle may hold the key to understanding the installation. That gap which I've outlined does not continue into the wood below the pintle, suggesting to me that it is an entirely separate piece from the rest of the rudder. This leads to my current theory as to how Io's rudder was attached:

1. The rudder shoe was affixed to the hull.
2. The rudder itself was then hung by fitting the pin into the shoe at the bottom and then, at the top, by dropping the steel rudder shaft into the bronze stock of the rudder.
3. The shaft was locked into place by driving a pin through the bronze stock.
4. The gudgeon (which would have interfered with fitting the rudder into the shoe if installed earlier) was then affixed to the surface of the hull in front of the rudder.
4. The pintle was then fitted into the gudgeon and attached the rudder blade with the 2 aftmost screws passed through it's leaves.
5. The void above the pintle in the rudder was filled with the final piece of mahogany, dropped in, and fastened there with the foremost screw through the pintle.

Well, at least that's the best I can come up with for now.

I look forward to more photos of this project and will follow along.
Oh,yes, I'll certainly post more photos as I progress. It's wonderfully beneficial to have found all this information on these boats and maybe my contribution will help someone else in the future too.

Thanks again,

Adam
 

Attachments

Jul 8, 2016
22
Tom Young said:
I can't imagine your builders fabricated a gudgeon with bolts that fit into threaded holes on the other leaf of the gudgeon? As they liked to use a solid peened rod above, could they have done the same thing with bolts in the gudgeon?
It would be a rather odd intermixture of techniques. It's also possible I'm working from a false assumption that everything I'm looking at is original to 1960 instead of someone else's handiwork in the intervening decades.

As far as peening new rods for re-installation, I've never done it. I would ask a local metal worker hopefully with some boat building fabrication experience.
The most common suggestion I keep getting is just to replace it with an ordinary bolt and nut, and call it a day. Which would work, I guess, but it's not my first choice to have a large nut sticking out.

I have a guy here that might offer an opinion with your photos(future once removed might show more).
I appreciate your willingness to ask on my behalf. Hopefully, if it comes to that, I will have some better photos in the future when I get the rudder unshipped.

My sense is one person would hold a heavy weight on one side as the other person peened the heads.
I was thinking along those same lines too. I was mulling the idea of someone holding a heavy sledge on the other side, but I don't know if that alone would suffice.

Thanks,

Adam
 

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
That explains the shot: It is the tapered end of the rudder shaft that fits into the rudder stock. I'm stumped as to why it looks rounded off. One clue: my rudder stock is bronze. But the upper shaft is stainless steel. I'm leaning toward that being a replacement in the past. It also had a more modern lock nut with a nylon insert. Perhaps they ran into a similar situation and could not remove the nut. In which case, they may have sawed off the short bronze upper shaft and had a new SS shaft milled out. That may be an option for you that may make your rudder removal easy.

My set up has the rudder shaft and stock milled with a key way slot.

The key - with the tapered shaft end- solidly links the two pieces. There is tremendous force between the two at times and the twisting is unrelenting. In fact, my first key I fit was a little sloppy. After a couple seasons, I noticed I had play at the joint (just visible on the hard in the small space between the two at the connection).

On the advice of the metal guru I have access to at the local boatbuilding yard, he explained how important it is the key is snug to start. On the second fitting, it was fairly easy to remove the castle nut(with a nylon lock insert), loosen the quadrant, pound the shaft back up(protecting the threaded end).

I believe I fit the key into the upper shaft and carefully lowered it back down. This second fit has been the cure with no movement since.
 
Jul 8, 2016
22
Hi gang,

I had been putting off an update on my rudder efforts until I had some significant progress to report, but winter's arrived putting things on hold. Long story short... the rudder is still in place. :roll:

So, on to what I've learned!

First, I was able to remove the bolts from the pintle. There were 3 strut bolts which screwed into the threaded holes on thr port side of the pintle. Here are the aftmost 2 two bolts after removal:


The third, and longest, strut bolt is not shown, because it was badly frozen. Eventually, the hand impact driver I was using simply dug deep enough into the slot head of the bolt that it sheared the head in half. The remains of that bolt then had to drilled out.

I think I've found a source for replacement bronze strut bolts, but it was such a pain I think I might just want to have the pintle tapped for the heads of 6 shorter bronze screws (3 in each side) in the new rudder.

Next, with the bolts out of the pintle, it became apparent that this gap in the wood above the pintle which I outlined earlier in purple:


...was nothing more than a crack in the old wood. It does not signify a separate piece that was being held in place by the foremost strut bolt as I had hoped.

After probably an embarrassing amount of time, and countless broken drill bits, I did finally succeed in driving the pin out of the rudder stock. Here is what was left of it when it finally relented:



I also excised a square of mahogany below the gudgeon with a reciprocating saw in order that it might ultimately be possible to lift the rudder up and out. This photo shows the rudder with the pin out of the rudder stock and the square of wood removed:


As the remains of the mahogany plug filling the stock below the rudder shaft continued to dry out, I was able to remove more of it in order to get a better look at how to drive the shaft up and out. Here's what it looks like now:




I'm not sure what I'm looking at with that almost copper-colored ring in there. No idea if the bottom of the shaft is somehow screwed into that or what. So I'm very unclear on how to proceed with getting the shaft out of the stock.

However, I'm not at that point yet. Despite wirebrushing and spraying copious amounts of PB Blaster on it, the rudder stuffing box is still seized up inside the boat. I'm considering getting some lengths of pipe to fit over the handles of my spud wrenches to increase the leverage, but that'll have to wait for warmer temperatures. Sourcing single piece African mahogany thick enough to be used for building a replacement rudder is also proving to be a challenge. I'm wondering whether I can simply laminate pieces up to the desired thickness in a rudder this size. I don't think you would want the pieces epoxied together directly in the middle because you still have to pass the bronze rods/drifts in the middle of the rudder blade. Perhaps the thickest part can be laminated from three separate one inch wide pieces of mahogany?

Anyways, that's where I'm at right now with all winter to mull things over. As always, comments and suggestions are welcome!

Adam
 

Attachments

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I can't make sense of what you have there, Adam. I had a SS tapered shaft that (as you know) fit into the bronze rudder stock. Both the shaft and rudder stock had a keyway cut into them. The end of the SS shaft is threaded and now has a SS castle nut with a nylon stop washer insert.

All this shows is the bore in the bronze rudder stock.



Unless you can find and easy way to disassemble the joint between you rudder stock and rudder shaft (which appears to be bronze as well), I would suggest you cut the shaft off above the stock and save yourself a lot of grief.

Then you should be able to easily pound that tapered/threaded portion of the shaft out of the stock - from above. With the two pieces, it will be easy to get a replacement fabricated. It could be bronze or SS and shouldn't be too costly.

On the wood, I'm not so sure you need to replace anything. Once you have the rudder off and can remove the drifts and rods, then you'll know. It's not so daunting once you get the rudder off to work on it. The wood itself doesn't take that much of the rudders forces, as long as the drifts, bolts and screws are sound.

And the stuffing box, you have the right idea,...bigger wrenches via hollow pipe handle extensions. Just be sure you are putting pressure on the wrenches and not the stern tube. The pieces are bronze so they will let go.

And on the pintle fitting on the rudder: That pintle doesn't experience much force. In my case, it was the gain cut in the wood that held the pintle position. Mine only has wood screws which is more than sufficient for the forces it supports.
 

Attachments