to cut or not to cut. that is the question. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 45 Old 12-26-2013 Thread Starter
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to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

howdy folks. i am looking for some ideas. i ave a problem with access. i have a broken cleat and a screw that needs replacing, on the stern rail. not big issues in themselves, however, i can't even begin to reach the nuts, on the inside.

the screw in the rail base is too small and is missing the nut, in any case. i can't reach in to hold a nut in place. i tried to get to it from inside the boat but there is a bulkhead that walls off that section of the boat and it is just in front of that cleat, which puts it even further from the rail base. if it had been on the starboard side, it would have been ok because there is a storage compartment in the bench that would give me access to those bolts. no compartment to port.

there is a round access panel in the sie of the bench, on the port side, but it's too far from both things to even contemplate reaching them. worse is that space beneath these things is only 3 inches wide. even if i could get my hand under them, i don't think i could find away to start a nut or to hold it as i tighten the screws.

so, the only option i can think of is to cut a small hole for an access panel near these items. not sure i like that idea so i am wondering if anyone has a better one.


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you can clearly see the broken cleat and the rail base is just aft of it. in the pics, i believe you can also see how tight a spot it is, too. i was thinking of putting an access panel below them. i could cut the cleat off with a sawzall. removing it isn't the problem. putting a nut on the new screws is. thoughts?

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post #2 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

There are a few ways you can get it a part, but you will still need to install two new nuts for the new cleat. I don't think you have a choice but to cut an access hole. If you have room for storage, then install a water tight access port. If you can't fix it enhance it.

Good luck.
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post #3 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

There may be a backing plate already under the old one. Only way to know is to remove it. If there isn't one.. get a alum. bar thick enough for threads (stainless or bronze good too) matched to the new cleat. Loop a string through the holes after dropping it from the holes in the hull.. pull the ends up.. start a screw on one.. cotton string should let the screw start in the threads.. then do the other. It's called "working blind" You could use a single piece of string or line with a 3rd hole in the center sealed after.

Another way would be with really long screws that you can put the threaded backing plate and pull them up through the hull and new cleat, replace one with the proper length.. then the other.. working blind again

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post #4 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

For sure no access from the quarterberth below? or from the cockpit locker opposite (under cockpit and that way??) I expect you've checked that, but just asking ..

Know any small people that might get around/under the cockpit?

A cutout in the side of the cockpit backrest wouldn't be horrible, and you could buy a cover plate like:

Make sure it's big enough to get your arm through.. Might even create some useful storage space.
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post #5 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

How do you figure the manufacturer got the plate/nuts under there?


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post #6 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

On many older boats such hardware was installed by cutting into the section, attaching the hardware and then effecting a gelcoat/FRG repair.

To do the same Id offer that color matching of gel coat and Preval Spray bottles are in your future.
Ref.: Preval Sprayer
How to: Do websearch for: "Gelcoat repair with making a mess" Michigan Fiberglass Gelcoat Repair with John Gabriel

:-)
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post #7 of 45 Old 12-26-2013
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

Cut one of these in and you'll have plenty of room to work on the cleat. I recall you saying you were good with wood.

to cut or not to cut. that is the question.-wood-box.jpg
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post #8 of 45 Old 12-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delta-T View Post
There are a few ways you can get it a part, but you will still need to install two new nuts for the new cleat. I don't think you have a choice but to cut an access hole. If you have room for storage, then install a water tight access port. If you can't fix it enhance it.

Good luck.
that's what i thought. was hoping i was wrong. lol.

love the avatar. i'm a big popeye fan. have been since i was a kid. the other night, after i was done working on the boat and the sun went down, i relaxed by watching old black and white popeye cartoons on my laptop. it seemed rather appropriate watching them in my sailboat; nice and dry ( it was raining ) with the companionway hatch closed and the hatchboard in place.
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post #9 of 45 Old 12-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
There may be a backing plate already under the old one. Only way to know is to remove it. If there isn't one.. get a alum. bar thick enough for threads (stainless or bronze good too) matched to the new cleat. Loop a string through the holes after dropping it from the holes in the hull.. pull the ends up.. start a screw on one.. cotton string should let the screw start in the threads.. then do the other. It's called "working blind" You could use a single piece of string or line with a 3rd hole in the center sealed after.

Another way would be with really long screws that you can put the threaded backing plate and pull them up through the hull and new cleat, replace one with the proper length.. then the other.. working blind again
that may be worth a try. it would take allthread to reach far enough to grab the backing plate from the access port that is there. there is no backing plate, now. the screw in the rail base turns freely. and you can't screw the cleat screws out because the nuts turn with the screw when you try. but your method would be worth trying before i go cutting a hole in it.

although, thinking about it i don't think it will work for the rail base. which would leave me in the same position. maybe a method for the railbase can be devised using your idea, though. i will have to give it a lot of thought. no holes cut is a good thing. thanks. that's very helpful!

The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do.---Captain Jack Sparrow


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post #10 of 45 Old 12-26-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: to cut or not to cut. that is the question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Faster View Post
For sure no access from the quarterberth below? or from the cockpit locker opposite (under cockpit and that way??) I expect you've checked that, but just asking ..

Know any small people that might get around/under the cockpit?

A cutout in the side of the cockpit backrest wouldn't be horrible, and you could buy a cover plate like:

Make sure it's big enough to get your arm through.. Might even create some useful storage space.

lol. yeah. you should have seen me trying to stuff myself into that locker. no way i could fit through there but i did try. leave no stone unturned, i always say. i tried to get to it through the quarter berth. there is a wall about 3 inches before you could reach the cleat. i had considered trying to cut a hole in that and reaching through but i don't know how wise, structurally, that would be...plus, i'm not keen on reaching my arm, blindly, into a small hole into an unknown space. but if you think that would be better than an access port through the backrest...

that's the kind of access panel i was speaking of. they make them to where they have to be pried out, aswell. there is one in the side of the port bench, in the cockpit, already, but i can't even get near those screws that way.

The only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can't do.---Captain Jack Sparrow


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