We had to laugh when we pulled back the nice blue tiller cover on our new to us O'Day 25. We anticipated seeing a beautiful, curvy, laminated piece of nautical woodwork as the cover was pulled off. Instead we found "The Stick". Somewhere during Plan B's past the original tiller must have been lost or broken and replaced by one ugly straight piece of wood that might have begun its life as a gardening tool. Even in the family of gardening tool handles this thing was an ugly duckling. Thin, short, painted brown and well, ugly.
Mike enjoys building stuff and had made a laminated tiller for a previous sailboat. So, time to buy some thin wood stock and make up a tiller that won't be nicknamed "The Stick". He glued several pieces of oak and mahogany together with West System epoxy and then set them in a jig. After securing them with multiple clamps he left them to dry. Here is what the assembly looked like in the jig. The plastic bag is there to keep the epoxy from gluing the tiller to the jig.
Mike shaped the new tiller using a belt sander and a router. After a few coats of Spar varnish it is nearly ready to be installed. The mounting holes were drilled oversize and then completely filled with West System epoxy. This way when the final smaller holes are drilled there won't be any exposed wood which results in a much stronger attachment that will resist rot.
We'll post pictures of our slightly better looking tiller as soon as it is dry. Anybody want to buy a stick?