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Cracked tiller - repair or replace?


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#1 Vigil Ant

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 03:52 PM

I have a 30 year old wood tiller on my '81 Evelyn 26. What started a few seasons ago as a hairline crack near the hole for the tiller extension, is now longer and wider. I got through this season by installing two hose clamps and taping it up.

Is there a repair technique that would work, or is it time to replace it. If replacing it is the solution, anyone know of a good source? Getting it from the manufacturer is not applicable in this case.

#2 allen

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 04:42 PM

West Systems epoxy will fix it. You can open up the crack a little with a hardwood wedge and then apply the epoxy into the crack with a piece of paper and get some epoxy all the way to the end of the crack.

My tiller is 56 years old. It is laminated from 3 woods. At one point there were cracks showing at the joints and I took it completely apart, I glued it back together with West Systems and it has been fine since. That was probably 20 years ago.

Alternatively, you can take a saw or router and remove the crack and glue in a wood spline. I use a 3 inch battery saw and make splines on a table saw, cut them to the curve of the saw blade and glue them in. Most important that they fit at the outside as you end up jamming in epoxy on the inside.

#3 break my wallet

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 08:42 PM

also you can wrap the area with 45 degree glass cloth..saturated in epoxy.. ( just cover 3 sides of the tiller with glass to reduce the air voids on the radius)
once done, spray with urethane and it will look like new

did mine and it is a strong as ever..

#4 Vigil Ant

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 11:23 PM

Sounds worth trying. I'll get start with allen's suggestion. I may do break's wrap on top of that just to be sure. Thanks, mates ;)

Would still be interested in sources for a new tiller for future reference.

#5 kevinm

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 11:52 PM

H&L Woodworking have a lot of different styles. Do a search. You'll find APS has a good listing of alternatives. Hopefully straightforward to find one that works for you.

I bought one a couple of years ago - it is the same as the OEM one for my boat. Working well.

#6 Willy T

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 12:54 AM

I got a quote from rudder craft for my boat, about 200 for laminated wood or 450 for carbonfiber with reinforcements for tiller extension, auto pilot and at the attachemnt point.

As a temp measure on mine when it kind of broke, i did 1 wrap in fiberglass mat, then coated in fiberglass resin. Held up nice and strong to the end of the year. Not the nicest looking, but it worked.

#7 dreaded

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 07:41 PM

I have a 30 year old wood tiller on my '81 Evelyn 26. What started a few seasons ago as a hairline crack near the hole for the tiller extension, is now longer and wider. I got through this season by installing two hose clamps and taping it up.

Is there a repair technique that would work, or is it time to replace it. If replacing it is the solution, anyone know of a good source? Getting it from the manufacturer is not applicable in this case.


I split my tiller starting about 1/3 of the way down when the tiller extension got wedged in the wrong place... I took a good wood glue and about 4 clamps... it's held up in 30+ wind...

#8 Merit 25

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 04:28 PM

http://shop.sailboat...s.htm?group=721

Mine was $120.

#9 dan.donegan

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:04 PM

My tillers are 8 feet long. They were also splitting along the laminate. I repaired them with three layers of fiberglass sock followed by epoxy resin. This is a very simple technique and looks fantastic when it's done.

Here's a link to a fiberglass sock listing.

http://www.boatbuild...ft#.UJq978XA838

#10 Bulbhunter

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Posted 07 November 2012 - 08:19 PM

West Systems epoxy will fix it. You can open up the crack a little with a hardwood wedge and then apply the epoxy into the crack with a piece of paper and get some epoxy all the way to the end of the crack.

My tiller is 56 years old. It is laminated from 3 woods. At one point there were cracks showing at the joints and I took it completely apart, I glued it back together with West Systems and it has been fine since. That was probably 20 years ago.

Alternatively, you can take a saw or router and remove the crack and glue in a wood spline. I use a 3 inch battery saw and make splines on a table saw, cut them to the curve of the saw blade and glue them in. Most important that they fit at the outside as you end up jamming in epoxy on the inside.


We did a similar fix only drilled it and epoxied hard wood dowel into it in a couple of spots around the bracket location. Never had an issue after that.

#11 Kaptainkriz

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Posted 08 November 2012 - 12:28 AM

I've been using these tillers from catalina.....well made and inexpensive:
http://www.catalinad...&product_ID=960
http://www.catalinad...&product_ID=939

They have a number of others on their website.

#12 auggie

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 02:31 AM

Indeed...the power of epoxy. my 45 year old tiller split right at the rudder head. opened it up, poured in some thickened epoxy and clamped not too tight. good all this season!




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