The last couple of days have seen my free time taken up with reducing the rudder to it's component parts. The blade was removed and sanded to bare wood first, it was honestly not in bad shape, but it is also not in great shape. It has more than a few dings and dents taken out of it, some deep scrapes from where it pivoted inside the cheeks, and a few previous repairs from incidents over the years.
Next came the "cheeks". On a boat with a wooden rudder, the two pieces of wood that flank the rudder blade are referred to as "cheeks". They not only add strength to the blade, but in Spark's case, allow it to pivot for sailing into shallow water or in case of hitting a submerged obstruction. Very simple and very clever.
The cheeks were in decent shape again, but needed work. The glue that held it all together was weak, the brass screws had purged their zinc and gotten brittle, and some of the fasteners had been replaced with standard hardware store nuts and bolts that had rusted and made the mahogany "sick" in places.
In taking it all apart, it only required breaking two screws and a lot of muscle power to pry the cheeks apart (this just sounds dirty) away from the central piece of mahogany that spaces the cheeks the same width as the rudder blade. I am not reusing any of the old hardware, brand new silicone bronze screws, washers, bolts, and nuts are on their way!
Overall, Spark's rudder and tiller were serviceable, but that was not good enough for me. I do not need to worry about important bits of the boat breaking loose and leaving me to flounder on my own
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