Sometimes the traditional wooden tillers and rudder stocks can begin to “work” a little at the point where they connect, due to wear. I’m led to believe that there is a way to deal with this using epoxy and cling film or perhaps tape so as to mould the end of the tiller to fit perfectly, but without gluing it into the socket.
Has anyone used a method such as this (successfully!) and if so would you be willing to share the technique?
Yes, the tiller may loosen due to wear or perhaps by some displacement of the metal cap that sits on top of the rudder stock. When I suffered from this some years ago, I glued a piece of Formica to the bottom of the tiller, where it is flat. Obviously you should ditch the tiller pin that is a real pain in the you know where, as far as tiller play is concerned. A piece of bungee cord should pull the tiller back and wedge it firmly in to the rudder stock. When the bungee cord is also connected to the rudder’s downhaul you kill two birds with one stone.
Instead of Formica any other stiff, low wearing material should be OK. I would not choose something rubbery as I suspect it would wear quickly and you would still have some play due to the softness of the material. If the shape of the tillers end does not match the rudder stock at all, I would probably glue some hardwood to the flat bottom of the tiller and reshape it for a better fit. I recon that is much easier to do than refitting the metal cap of the rudder stock, but that would be your last resort.
Obviously you could also glue some Formica or hardwood to the top of the rudder stock after removing the metal cap. Though the effect would be the same it seems to me a more difficult solution than fixing the tiller. But there may be a situation where you would otherwise have to notch the top of the tiller and that wouldn’t look nice. What ever you do, keep an eye on the tiller angle relative to the deck, a) for comfort and b) to avoid having it kiss the aft hatch.
Using tape or cling film is a quick and dirty temporary fix, it is not a good long term solution IMHO.