Hardware the Hard Way Part 5 – Brass Rudder Shoes

Rudder Shoe installed


(to start of project)

Had one last brass piece to make for each boat, though I’m not sure what to call it. Rudder Shoe? Rudder Slipper? Basically, it’s a Rudder “Weed/Crab Pot/Eel Grass/Sawgrass/Gunk Preventer” based on a brilliant idea from Roger Rodibaugh, Grand Poobah of the Crawford Melonheads.

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Moving Day

Whew! Yesterday finished the big move. Everything from the old site – photos, videos, text, comments, links, yadda-yadda-yadda – it’s all here now.

If you arrived by a boomerang redirect from the old site, you’ll want to update your bookmarks and RSS feeds. The old site will continue to redirect people here for several months, but at some point will disappear into the black hole of the digital never was.

I’m thinking posting a photo live, from the first sail on these boats, could be pretty cool.

I do miss the clean, simple look of the old site, and it’s been a challenge trying to balance convenience with clutter on the new one. Like everything digital, simple things are often the most difficult, and control over how things look is not as easy as it was, but it’s close enough for now. It also seems a little slower, which feels like going backwards.

That said, there are some functions available now that will come in handy, things that were not possible before. For instance, I can add a new post with photos or video from my phone while traveling. I’m thinking posting a photo live, from the first sail on these boats could be pretty cool. Also, for the first time I will actually know when someone posts a comment, so a timely reply is more likely. Galleries of many photos can be included now, too, whereas before I was limited to about 15 images per post. Pictures are good.

Here’s to progress.



Hardware the Hard Way Part 3 – Brazing Brass


Brazing brass with silver solder. Red hot, the melting point of silver alloy.


(to start of project)

Had a very interesting weekend. Once again, a few screw-ups, but ultimately it turned out well, and a lot of very useful stuff was learned in the process. If you want a Quick Tips list, skip to the bottom of this post where there’s also a video.

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Hardware the Hard Way – Part 2

Aeons’ Rudder propped in place

(to start of project)

Though I know of people who’ve done it, casting bronze is beyond my skill and determination; but brass is relatively easy to find and work with hand tools, and perfectly suitable for boats that sleep on trailers when not in use, instead of in the water (it breaks down in salt water if submerged constantly).

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Hardware the Hard Way – Part 1

Hardware plans

(to start of project)

This is where I get myself in trouble.

To be honest, it’s very difficult to find traditional hardware for old style boats anymore. Most of what you find is stainless steel parts for production fiberglass or racing boats, which look terribly out of place on an old boat. There are a few specialized sources left – some restoration craftsmen who custom cast bronze, or a handful of places that sell reproductions of notable parts, usually for high end or collectable designs, for which people will pay top dollar to restore an original, or commission a reproduction. There are more sources for the most common parts, such as cleats, fairleads, etc., but even here we’re talking perhaps a dozen at most. Options are limited.

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After Rain, Treefrogs



Gray Treefrogs are nearly invisible, but you find them everywhere. They look like lichen-covered tree bark, and during the day hide silent as stones under tools in the yard, upturned buckets, the siding on the house, etc..

If you pick one up, and open your hand to look, it will leap onto the nearest treelike object, which is usually your wife or daughter, or perhaps the gentleman at the door endeavoring to interest you in the salvation of your soul. Indeed, they do. They cling with a wet thwack, like a soggy noodle, to roughly the same place you’d stick a lapel pin, or boutonnière.

At night, after a summer storm, they get out of hand in other ways, in which they make the loud noises, instead of their startled landing sites.