Weighting Rudder & Centerboard

I admire all those who attempt this project from plans only.

For me, even the kit will provide plenty of challenges with my limited time and experience.  Opening the foil kit box, I pulled out beautifully looking pieces of sculpted wood that caused a feeling of respect and admiration to settle down over my little wood shop.  I’m very glad I didn’t attempt to rough these out myself.  DSC00002Many have melted lead to weight these foils.

I wasn’t anxious to pursue this course, as I don’t really have the tools to melt, smelt and pour, so I came up with a different idea.  After poking around a few metal shops, I had Pacific Steel cut me two pieces of plate steel.

  1. 6″ x 21″ x 5/8″ to be used for Centerboard (22 lb.)
  2. 6″ x 2″ x 5/8″ to be used for Rudder (2.0 lb.)

DSC00012Here you see the CB steel plate.

I positioned it as low as I felt comfortable, given the thickness restraints.DSC00013

By following the plywood rings, you can get a feel the how much depth you have to work with.  DSC00014Once I determined the location, I scribed the lines on the inside of the CB halves.

 My intent is to route out each halve by a touch more than 5/16″.  This should nicely encase the 5/8″ plate steel.DSC00027I used my Bosch palm router to cut the outside lines.DSC00026The plunge base offered convenient starts and stops.DSC00028The small 1/8″ router bit took a long time and produced a bottom that wasn’t perfectly flat.DSC00029I used a wood chisel to remove the uneven ridges.

 On the second half of the CB, I used a 1/2″ bit that worked much better and didn’t require any hand work to smooth.  DSC00003I cleaned up the edges of the plate steel with a metal file.  DSC00031Here’s how it looked half imbedded into one half of the CB.DSC00006Now for the Rudder.

Not quite as much room here.  My actual placement of the weight is lower than this photograph shows.  DSC00008DSC00269By tilting the 2.0 lb. weight, I was able to move the weight somewhat more aft than a vertical installation would allow.

 I would have preferred a lower placement, but the 5/8″ thickness didn’t allow it.  DSC00271Finally, make sure you wear a dust mask.

This process kicks up a lot of fine dust that you definitely don’t want in your lungs.  This type of dust mask has worked great for me.


  1. I made all router cuts approximately 1/8″ larger than the plate steel.
  2. 5/8″ seems to be a good thickness given the shape and size of the foils.
  3. The plate steel was quick and easy.  It cost $33.00 total for both pieces.
  4. The shape of the steel made for straight forward router wood removal.
  5. The plywood rings allow for easy placement figuring.
  6. Be aware that routing out this plywood produced several small glowing embers of burning plywood dust that actually burned through the wax paper beneath it and had potential to grow into a full blown fire.  I’ve never had this happen before…so just watch things and be careful.

Now I’m forced to hold and rattle until next week, when my epoxy and fiberglass arrive.  


2 thoughts on “Weighting Rudder & Centerboard

  1. Phil, do I learn from this post that you hit a stump with Little Tramp? Thanks for showing me your scamp on that 20 below zero day last winter. Man that was cold. We’ll have to do a scamp rally in Idaho once mine is finished.

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