A Boat on the Side

Tea for the Tillerman

Thought I’d like to show you how your tiller is made and what I do when I get home after a hard day on the winter’s resin.

 The sequence of Annette’s photos show the preparation and assembly of a Scintilla or Secret tiller, this one in Silky Oak and Red Cedar.

Firstly the timbers are selected – strength, beauty and complementary properties being the overriding criteria. They are cut into 50 x 10mm strips and tapered using the thicknesser.

 One full turn on my machine equates to 2 mm so the resulting five laminations measure 50mm at the stock and 40mm at the other end. When completed the tiller is also tapered sideways to similar dimensions. This is an important aspect of a good tiller. Without the tapered laminations they will never look right – they will always look too thick at the handle end.

The resin mix is tinted to the darker timber – the wood will darken with age, the tinted resin will not. We use various pigments such as red oxide, dark brown or yellow oxide to match specific timbers but our standard red/brown mix does most of them well. While it is only a glue line, details are important.


 The jig is one of dozens we use and as you can see it’s done a fair bit of work.

Packaging tape is used to prevent foul language. G-clamps are used first as they have the longest threads, various others are taken from two racks of them, one in the shop and one in the mezzanine where we do all the spars, beams and channels.









A good ooze of glue is vital, that way there are no unresined bits.

Next week – it’s like . . . planing and all that stuff – random!

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