It's good for the soul to have a change of pace occasionally. As a reprieve from sanding and priming and sanding on the decks and cockpit I checked my list looking for a nice small project to tackle: the tiller looked interesting.
|Priming and Sanding.|
The Ballad tiller is a simple shape: a curve near the yoke and a gentle sweep to the forward end. The previous tiller had been smashed when the mast was lowered. I'd glued it back together to get the shape, and also used it to cut plugs from for patching holes in the interior Mahogany joinery.
Rather than cut from one solid piece of wood like the one I was replacing, laminated construction seemed the best option. Instead of using thin strips that would bend easily I decided to try using 1/2" strips and steam bend them before laying them up. This would relieve most of the stress in the wood fibers.
A simple steam box about 5' long was made from some 2x6 material, leaving an inside box about 4" square and 5' long, with 1/2" ply end caps. A 6" x 4" slot was cut in the center of the bottom and a piece of 1/2" plywood, large enough to cover the boiling water pot with a matching hole, was attached. The whole rig sat on a Coleman propane camp stove set on the garage floor.
|30 minute steam box.|