Preview: Building Wooden Boat Steering Wheels at Brooklin Boatyard

The steering wheels that come from most boats at the Brooklin Boat Yard are some of the coolest I’ve seen up close. My boss Steve’s boat Vortex has one of the first of this kind built. Having sailed Vortex and been at her wheel for a trip back from Newport, I can attest to how comfortable they are to steer with. On a long offshore passage there isn’t much to look at, why not have something unique to ponder over.

Wooden Boat Steering Wheel

The jig is made to the inside diameter of the rim. The spokes are laid up on a separate jig made to a tighter radius, and are cut out and tapered before being placed on the big jig. The spokes are glued back-to-back with their inboard ends trimmed to fit the center hub, which is out being cast at the foundry now, and will be machined and engraved upon its return t the yard. Occasionally, hubs will be sent out yet again to be powder coated. Quite a process eh?

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7 Responses So Far to “Building Wooden Boat Steering Wheels at Brooklin Boatyard

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    Geoff Kerr says:

    I’m finishing up a 200 man hour project this will hold 4 people and a 20 hp outboard! What a varied and fascinating world we live in…

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    Russ Manheimer says:

    Nice job Eric. Does Fiona have an agent yet? Great photo.

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    David Young says:

    As my dad used to say “a thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Would love to know more about the process, tools and techniques used in shaping this incredible object.

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    Cathy Dwyer says:

    I feel like I could build one now! NOT! Great reading, Eric. Love the visuals, too.

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    Martha White says:

    Ditto, Anne, and ladies, if you like these, model builder Robbie Eddy also makes a cool jewelry version, as well.

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    Anne Bray says:

    Great job Eric. Fascinating. Love the last photo.