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Replacement tiller arm for a topper

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Philelmes View Drop Down
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    Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 3:22pm
Hi all. Im new to this forum and to sailing for that matter. Ive recently bought myself a topper dinghy to learn and practice sailing on. My problem is it didnt have a rudder, rudder block or tiller arm. Ive managed to get a 2nd hand rudder and block on ebay but no tiller. A new one is nearly 100. Im a carpenter by trade so skills arent an issue to make a new one. My issue is, i cant find any dimensions online to go by. Would someone eithet have a tiller going cheap, or, can someone sketch out the dimensions for me to make one from oak? I realise itll be slightly heavier than the original but that foesnt really matter as i dont intend on racing it. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Philelmes - 24 Jul 17 at 3:23pm
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JimC View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 5:15pm
You only really need to get the length about right, as the original isn't wood, the rest of the dimensions won't help you. and even the length isn't that critical, so you can judge it from photos.
The critical part are the cutouts on the top of the tiller which control the locked down and locked up position, but you can mock them up with cardboard rill its right. However if someone's got a tiller handy and wants to post the measurements that would be even better.

BTW, wouldn't you be better with ash or hickory, same as a tool handle?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Philelmes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 6:49pm
Ive done a bit of research and oak seems to be the wood chosen by most. Ash doesnt last long when exposed to salt water......even varnish wont stand up.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote JimC Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 8:08pm
Originally posted by Philelmes

Ash doesnt last long when exposed to salt water......even varnish wont stand up.

That sounds wildly exaggerated. Ash is a common material for dinghy gunwhales. We're talking about a dry sailed boat and a tiller that lives under a cover, not a component on a boat on a mooring that's soaked by waves every day. I have a partially ash tiller on one of my boats, it was varnished 15 years ago and hasn't been touched since.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Philelmes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 8:25pm
I can only go on what others have said. I have a garage full of oak and boats used to be built from oak so im gonna be slightly more biass towards that than any other timber.
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Rupert View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Rupert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 8:37pm
Oak will work. Ash is commonly used because it flexes slightly rather than snapping suddenly. I have a 50 year old ash tiller, rarely varnished.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Sam.Spoons Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jul 17 at 9:59pm
Many different woods used for different parts of ships/boats/dinghies. TBH if you have oak then use it, you can always make another when/if it finally gives up (but that will probably take several years). Enjoy your Topper :)
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