Best steering cable for old Matthews launch?

Picked up a 1902 22’ launch barn find this fall. Need to replace steering cable. Had a chain originally, but has been lost to time. Trying to keep it original, but willing to vary on the cable as I’ve found the ability to reliably steer a boat useful. Has bow and side steer station.

Do you have a photo of the original?


Hello Matt,

The pic from the 40s below shows a small part of the original chain drive on the side steering station. I tried to send two add’l pics of the setup currently, but as a newbie, I am allowed only one.

Thanks for any help!


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Here is the rudder connection currently…yikes!

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And the current steering setup

It may have had bronze cable at the ends of the chain. Nice find and boat. Is that a Fay & Bowen motor? I have a LoZier launch and Mathew’s made the hulls for them.

Good eye, Syd! It is a Fay & Bowen 5 or 6hp single cylinder. What kind of steering cable does your launch use?
Lozier is an interesting story as well. Went from bicycles to motors (moving from Toledo/Cleveland to Plattsburgh to make motors for launches and then switched to making cars, when most were moving to Detroit!)

I have A 1930 Luders commuter that used a very similar steering quadrant. When I rebuilt the boat, I replaced the cable with 1 x 19 stainless because it was quite flexible. It has worked fine for years. Not the least expensive, but I believe it to be a good choice.

Thanks David. As a total newbie on steering cable, where do I find it? And is it encased in a plastic sleeve? If not, won’t it mar or dig into the steering drums?

The cable loft in Florida is a good supplier 888-535-7286. The plastic isn’t necessary. They typically brushed a heavy grease on the wire rope near the pulley to lubricate it.


David K Van Ness

Van Ness Engineering LLC
201 445 8685


Home Depot has vinyl covered steel cable sold by the foot - it is about 5/32” or 3/16” in diameter. I use it for replacing outboard engine steering cable. Check it out!

My LoZier uses a bronze cable

Thanks, Syd!
Does your Lozier have the same rudder cable connection? If so, can you post a pic of how it is threaded/connected?