Clench Bolts

We’re on the home stretch of the rudder assembly :smile:.  I have previously made the gudgeons and pintles, so the last thing left to do is to make the bolts to hold it all together.

Briefly, the straps gudgeons and pintles were made using strip brass just as I did for the rudder chain bracket.  The straps were formed around a scrap piece of wood the same thickness as the keel and rounded at the end.  This piece of wood served two purposes: 1 – it made sure that the strap ended up with the right size curve in it and 2 – it gave a surface to drill the bolt holes on.

Before the bolt holes could be drilled however the gudgeon had to be soldered on.  I used a piece of 1/16” diameter brass tubing with .014” walls because I wanted to use my old friend the .020” pin and I didn’t want too tight of a fit.  This gave me a hole of approximately a .0345” hold so that worked out well (.0625 diameter – (.014*2) walls = .0345 hole.

Once the gudgeons were soldered in place I created a pattern for the bolt holes using some very, very old CAD software I have. I printed a bunch of these out and glued them to the brass strips.  Next I used a punch to mark the hole and drilled a .025” hole through the brass strips.  Some people (including Rev. Romero advocate the use of contact cement for gluing patterns to wood and metal, but I have never been able to get get that to stick – it always seems to slide around.  I use my normal carpenters wood glue (slightly diluted when gluing a pattern to wood) and it seems to work fine.  I use the same method to remove my patterns as the contact cementers – I rub a crepe block over the pattern and it usually comes right off.  If not, a little water put on with a paint brush loosens it up.

On to the bolts…

The first step is to square the head of the pin.  I use a dremel with a flex-shaft and regular cut-off wheels to grind the pin head.

Grinding bolt head

In this picture you can see that I am using a clothespin to hold the pin while I grind it. I also have another clamp around the clothespin to keep it tight.  I had initially used needle nose pliers and they worked fine, however I read in one of Rev. Romero’s practicums about using a clothespin and that make it so much easier! Why? Because a clothespin is square and you don’t have to really think about turning it a quarter turn to do each side.  A little thing, but over the course of about 80 pins it can save some serious time.

Ground Bolt When the top is flat I proceeded to do the four sides and you end up with a pin like the one in the picture to the left.


Picking up bots After I finished all the bolts I needed I snipped off the ends with a small pair of wire cutters. I find the easiest way to do this without losing (m)any is to snip the off inside a plastic bag and then use a magnet to pick them out of the bag.

MAGNETIZER & DEMAGNETIZER Speaking of magnets, it is very helpful when working with these tiny pins (especially after they’ve been cut) to have tweezers that are magnetized. I’ve never really had any problems in this regard – it seems like my tools are always magnetized :shock:.  I found a nifty tool for this at American Science Surplus (via Amazon) and its nice to have handy in the shop.

Little black bolts

The next step is to blacken and I used the same process I talked about in my previous post.  What you end up with is a bunch of little black bolts.  When they’re dry, I started the hole in the rudder with a .020” drill bit and then, with a drop of cyano on the tip of the bolt, pressed it home with a small dowel.  The reason for pressing with a dowel is that if it slips, it won’t mar the blackened straps (too bad).

Here is the rudder with the rudder chain bracket back in place on the rudder:







and fast forwarding through a lot of small bolts, here is the rudder attached to the stern:










Next step – fix the draft marks!  And two extra points for you if you noticed that the picture of the attached rudder was taken while the ship was upside down in it’s cradle (the clue is the rings on the rudder chain bracket are “hanging up” instead of “hanging down”

Take care – happy modeling!

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