Fiberglass / Carbon Tiller Handle

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Stuff4Toys, Jul 28, 2013.

  1. Stuff4Toys
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Stuff4Toys 3Hulls.com

    Just thinking, let me know if I am way off base...

    I need a new tiller handle for my Lindenberg 22 because a 280# guy stepped on it and broke the tip off. The more I look for replacement wooden tiller handles I am finding that there are fewer and fewer available these days.

    If I were to make a tiller out of fiberglass mat and poly resin, to the same size, width, and thickness as the old wooden tiller, would it be too heavy to be functional/comfortable?

    If I vacuum bagged epoxy and carbon fiber on the top and bottom or use nidacore or corecell, layers how thick does it need to be?

    Any advice? or am I just making it more difficult than it needs to be?

    If this works, I need a new tiller for my Pearson 30 too.
     
  2. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    If you have both parts of the broken tiller why don't you epoxy them back together and wrap the joint with 2 layers of 6 oz bi ax tape using quality epoxy. get wide enough tape to extend a minimum of 2" past the break-3 - 4" even better. Sand smooth and your new again.
     
  3. Stuff4Toys
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    Stuff4Toys 3Hulls.com

    Because it was dry rotted in the middle and I am afraid that it will break again during a race.
     
  4. Stuff4Toys
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    Stuff4Toys 3Hulls.com

    I would also like to change the shape / angle of the tiller with a little more rise
     
  5. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    I'm assuming the tiller is wood so lay it flat on a table and draw your new shape around it or next to it and get a piece of quality wood, cut it out to your design shape and use tape and epoxy as I mentioned before. Cheaper and stronger than trying to engineer something out of carbon fiber.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you make a copy of the original tiller, from polyester, mat and some carbon, it will be strong enough, assuming you have a fair bit of carbon in there. Mat has little real strength as is a bulking agent used within laminates.

    The best way to go about this is to make a template of the profile you want. with this you can figure out how thick to make the section, which of course will change, depending on the material choices you elect to employ. Carbon is nice, but costly. Wood is used, because of it's ease to work and cost to strength/stiffness ratio. Epoxy is the way to go, if using carbon or wood. Polyester is for sissies and/or cheapskates :).

    As to the sectional shapes, well you have a few things to consider, the most important one is ergonomics. You have to be able to live with this thing, without hand cramps, etc. You may also want an extension, so it has to function in this regard. Some way of being able to lift it clear of the cockpit would be nice and also it's easy removal when necessary. With all this issues addressed, then you can make it stronger and stiff enough for the job.

    It doesn't have to be as complicated as I've made it, but if you want light, strong and functional, these things should be considered. Back to sectional shapes, the original will provide clues, but you could go thinner if you use some high tech materials.

    If it was me, I'd just laminate up some alternating layers of yellow pine or white oak and something dark, like mahogany or meranti. Some like vertical laminates (like me) others prefer the mass produced horizontal laminates. Make the layers in an odd number, so it looks nice and keep them 1/4" (6 mm) or less thick. Bend these layers over a jig or form, the the profile you like, then machine it up to fit your hand and look nice. You could just saw out the shape from a 2x8, but these tend to break, as the grain is running out in a few places.

    Hell, a length of aluminum (6061 T-6) or stainless (316 or 316 L) tubing will do. Both could be bent to shape and are easy to attach things too, like a tiller extension.
     
  7. michael pierzga
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    michael pierzga Senior Member

  8. Stuff4Toys
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Stuff4Toys 3Hulls.com

    Thanks you guys, GREAT information. I don't have any hull damage or other projects to deal with and just got a bunch of resin and material, I have been searching for a place to use it.
     
  9. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    You can make a new wooden tiller in a couple of hours. Why bother with all that gooey, itchy stuff? Wood is far more pleasant to work with, prettier when finished too.
     

  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Agreed, I've made lots of tillers over the years, most cut or laminate from wood, a few from aluminum tubing. Exposed carbon is a bit of a fad and not a wise thing to do. You'll have to keep it coated or UV will have it's way, which is difficult to do on something that has as much "traffic" as a tiller. I know a fella that used an axe handle for a tiller, and it looks good.
     
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