Rudder Construction Intro.
- Mounting a rudder on a 'rudderless' kayak
- Overview of do-it-yourself composite parts
The majority of kayak manufacturers
and designers do not shape their kayak sterns to fit a rudder. The ones
that do, often mount the rudder on the kayak from the outset. How do you
then install a rudder on a kayak that has no provisions for it? One tempting
option is to get a mass produced rudder kit but you will discover that those
come with mounting brackets which are all but useless in most cases. The
only practical answer is to form your own composite bracket directly
on your kayak to achieve the perfect custom fit and strong grip. If you
then go into the trouble of making a custom bracket, why not build a stronger
and nicer rudder while you are at
it with no or minimal additional expense.
The typical case of the 'round peg rammed into a square hole' solution.
This bracket is pretty much what comes with all kits. I made it from
marine grade stainless steel for the Cape
Ann and the Double but the sterns
were modified during construction to fit this particular shape. If
you do not have the option to modify the kayak stern, building something
more workable is the only approach.
possible mounting solution for a kayak with flat stern using the 'square
bracket'. The bracket can be either stainless steel or composite
material. This option is a possibility while you are building the
kayak or are willing to rip into an existing (wooden) kayak stern
and create this "mounting
two - the one most rudder builders have to resort to. Most suitable
for plastic or composite kayaks or when you don't feel like chopping
the kayak stern.
Here is the almost completed rudder assembly in the last stage of
fine tuning. This composite rudder hinge is shaped to conform to my
aesthetic whim. You can give it any shape you like. The important
feature is that it was molded directly over the kayak stern, providing
it with the EXACT imprint of the kayak curvature. The carbon construction
is also very stiff and in combination with near 100% surface contact
and snug fit, it assures secure grip on the stern. Only four small
wood screws hold it in place. Since the bracket is molded, you can
adopt it to any kayak, canoe or whatever craft can use a rudder of
Builders of the Carbon Rudder will
find the entire lay-up, mounting and adjustment procedure covered
step by step in the On-line
of rudder brackets that kayak builders have made
|1) Wrap around molded bracket on a Storm similar
to the one above.
|| 2) Composite "square bracket" similar
to the stainless type above.
|| 3) Composite molded bracket on a Pygmy Coho.
|4) Another version of composite
|| 5) Wrap-around bracket made for
||6) Wrap-around bracket made for
a CLC stern.
up of the composite bracket/ hinge. If you have a plastic kayak, the
fastening of the bracket can be done with 'carry -through' bolts sealed
with a few dabs of marine sealant under the bracket as well as under
and around the bolts. If you have a composite or wood kayak, you can
also bond the bracket directly to the stern with epoxy or other strong
adhesive (no drilling).
The 'blade retraction
bracket' is the last piece of the rudder assembly that you need to
make (the manual shows how). The function of this piece is to hold
the rudder locked during transport or when you don't use it. Since
the rudder blade is immobilized, the footbraces
will be locked also (on push) to offer good bracing support. As is
the case with the square rudder bracket, most commercial kits provide
only an "L-shaped" piece of hardware that will not readily
(or securely) mount on rounded decks and in fact almost any kayak.
Some "rudder kits designs" completely dispense with this
bracket so on retraction, the rudder blade assumes a "pointed
dog tail" look on the kayak - not very cool looking not to mention
unhelpful in windy conditions.
list of materials to build the Carbon Rudder:
The Rudder Mechanism Kit does NOT supply composite materials or composite
prefinished parts. See kit contents
- 1 quart (1liter)
of epoxy (total volume of resin and hardener) See epoxy
- 1-2 yards (1,5 meters)
of 5.7oz. 2x2 twill carbon cloth 50"
wide (assumes no fiberglass is used. If you have some fiberglass, 1
yard is enough)
- varnish or polyurethane
- plywood scraps or
some flat sheets of Formica or equivalent (0,5m2 or 1x4ft
- self adhesive shelf
plastic (clear and smooth) or equivalent
- a few epoxy brushes,
couple sheets of wet/dry sandpaper (60dry,180w, 360w grit)
- jigsaw, orbital sander,
finish sander - optional. Everything can be done with hand tools
- drill set
Back to Carbon
Rudder, Rudder Kits, Footbraces
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10 Colonial Court apt. 73
Stoneham, MA. 02180
- 2020 Copyright Vaclav Stejskal
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Last page update:
11 January 2020