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Want a Carbon Tiller but don't like the price?
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Want a Carbon Tiller but don't like the price?

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by Graham Lamond

I wanted a carbon tiller, but didn't want to pay the price for a ready made one, so I went fishing!

 

The Parts

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Carbon Tubing from Fishing Mad
The standard diameter of a carbon tiller for the Fifteen is 34mm, however, I have found that this size is only available from suppliers in bulk quantities of 10 lengths at a time, so this was not an option.

However, if you contact Fishing Mad they will sell you a 1.8m long tube at 30mm diameter with a 2mm thick Kevlar reinforced wall thickness for £27.00. Make sure to get the 2mm wall thickness as they also sell this with a 1mm wall but it doesn't have the Kevlar content. 

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Plastic end caps
To make up the thickness of the tube to fit the tiller hood, I bought some A4 sized carbon fibre sheets, you can get a couple for around £5. Further research showed you can make the thing look very neat by buying plastic end caps. I used Vital Parts Ltd.

The Build

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Making up the tiller was straightforward. After cutting the tube to length using the existing tiller as a template, I used SP106 to wrap the carbon fibre sheet around the tube and bond it into place. I used  electrical tape to hold it in place and stop it unwrapping, which left a ridged finish as in the photo. After curing I sanded it all off with emery tape and gave it a couple of coats of clear sealer.

I had to take care when fitting the tiller to the tiller hood to make sure I got the tube angle cut to match the angle on the brass block of the rudder head. This was a bit fiddly, but it worked out in the end. Once this was done I was able to drill the holes to fit the bolts to secure the tube to the tiller head. I then fitted the rudder and tiller to the boat and with everything in place I was able to accurately place the universal joint for the tiller extension.

I've made two of these now. The first attempt wasn't quite as neat in the lay-up of the carbon sheet and I ended up using some filler and a spray finish to tidy things up and the result was quite acceptable. On the second tiller, I didn't quite have the length needed as I'd used some of the tube to make a spinnaker turning tube on 'Squall', so made up the deficiency with a nice piece of oak, which added some character.

You will need to buy a curved saddle for the tiller extension joint if your previous tiller was a square section as the photos in the slideshow show.

I already had the SP106 (I would think many of us will have some kicking around), but apart from that I reckon the parts cost about £50, so good value for a fun project.

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