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The way I look at it most people who live aboard boats are 1) "Mr Bodge it's", 2) "Mr Fix It's" or 3) "Mr I will pay someone else to do it"
I must admit to being a bit of the first two and as a very, very, very last resort when I have completed the first bodge it task beyond repair I have to resort to number 3.
Now, when I am trying to repair something simple I have to prepare. I get my tools out including anything I may need along the way. Half way through I find I need something I know I have aboard somewhere but I am dammed if I can find it. So I have to get everything out until I do find it because I know it is there somewhere.
By the time I have finished I have every socket scattered around the boat, everything I don't need out and the boat is a real mess.
Oh how I hate those people who know where everything is, can find the exact socket just by looking at the nut and put everything back in the right place immediately after using it.
I may have a boat with everything in a mess but if anyone comes round they can see just how hard I have been working.
 

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I know what you mean, and I am prone to do the same thing.....even on a small boat like mine sometimes I have to unload a locker to find the tool or part I need for a task, and sometimes while unloading the locker I'll discover a part I had bought previously for another project that didn't get done, so I'll start working on that, unloading another locker to find parts.....next thing you know my boat looks like a junkyard!
 
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bell ringer
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Things on the boat know when you are planning to need them, and that is when we move in the middle of the night.
 

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We keep most tools under the nav seat and it's packed!! Seems I add something every few months to eternity.

I worked summers, when I was in high school, for a painting company that taught me to prepare everything I many need for the job in the morning and clean and put it all away every evening, even if I needed it again the next day. At 16 that just seemed like a pain. However, it really does save time. I pull out every tool I may need (ie metric and sae wrenches/sockets) and lay them out in a part of the boat I won't be working on. Often the salon settee. At the end of the day, it really only take 15 to 20 mins to repack everything so I can find them all the next day again.

Even psychologically, it really helps tackle the job the next morning, if it doesn't look like a bomb went off.

Another project tip I follow is proper preparation of the job itself. Again, similar to proper scraping and sanding to prep for paint. On a boat, everything is difficult to reach, with hatches, doors, panels, cabinets, etc, in the way. Before I try to dig in, I remove doors from their hinges and whatever cabinetry I can to help access the job. There is nothing more frustrating than have a cabinet closing on you while your head and one arm are buried in the hull.
 
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I am the same way. When it comes to a repair, I am very determined, and I will put forth a colossal effort to complete the repair.

However, once the repair is complete, I simply don't have the same energy and determination to put everything away all organized.

The way I look at it most people who live aboard boats are 1) "Mr Bodge it's", 2) "Mr Fix It's" or 3) "Mr I will pay someone else to do it"
I must admit to being a bit of the first two and as a very, very, very last resort when I have completed the first bodge it task beyond repair I have to resort to number 3.
Now, when I am trying to repair something simple I have to prepare. I get my tools out including anything I may need along the way. Half way through I find I need something I know I have aboard somewhere but I am dammed if I can find it. So I have to get everything out until I do find it because I know it is there somewhere.
By the time I have finished I have every socket scattered around the boat, everything I don't need out and the boat is a real mess.
Oh how I hate those people who know where everything is, can find the exact socket just by looking at the nut and put everything back in the right place immediately after using it.
I may have a boat with everything in a mess but if anyone comes round they can see just how hard I have been working.
 

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I worked for many years as a contractor. It is a fact, that a job will take you three to four times the amount of time, because of looking for the right tool. If you can find the tool you need right away, then you don't have enough tools. And when I had a helper put the tools away and setup in the morning and he would be out sick, I could not find anything in the truck and could not work at all. I found that if you own 3 of everything, you were bound to find what you need right away.

And of course there is the...I know I have that part, and it should be on the boat story...The last time my old man was one the boat for a sail, the wind died and we were far from home, started the engine and found the pump impeller was gone. I thought I had a replacement on board. could not find it. Had plenty of time to look for it. The wind came back up and I sailed home and into the slip. Bought a new impeller, fixed the pump and promptly found the spare one.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
And why do they make nuts and bolts the same diameter at each end so you never have two of that socket or spanner?
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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I HATE having to dig for tools! Last year I bought a "canvas" tool bag big enough to hold all my mechanics tools. It has pockets for everything and even if I don't feel like putting everything back in the exact pocket, at least tools get back in the bag. I've had solid tool boxes but they are harder to stow and can become flying projectiles. I have large under-bunk hatches for carpentry tools and have specific spots for related stuff like clamps and vice, etc. It really takes years of having stuff stowed in the same place all the time to KNOW where it all is.
 

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I HATE having to dig for tools! Last year I bought a "canvas" tool bag big enough to hold all my mechanics tools. It has pockets for everything and even if I don't feel like putting everything back in the exact pocket, at least tools get back in the bag. I've had solid tool boxes but they are harder to stow and can become flying projectiles. I have large under-bunk hatches for carpentry tools and have specific spots for related stuff like clamps and vice, etc. It really takes years of having stuff stowed in the same place all the time to KNOW where it all is.
Tool rolls are great. I made several myself out of cotton duck, it was my first exercise in sewing. Don Casey's book (This old boat) has great instructions for completely new seamsters and seamstresses.

But what about parts and supplies? Where to put the nuts, bolts, screws, shackles, tubes of grease, rolls of cable, ...? I have organized some things satisfactorily (e.g. my 'electricians bag' works quite well) but no general system. Ideas?
 

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Someone in a past thread suggested using a vacuum seal a meal system for parts. I think that is a great idea, buying one is on my wish list. It's Ziploc for me for now.
 

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Someone in a past thread suggested using a vacuum seal a meal system for parts. I think that is a great idea, buying one is on my wish list. It's Ziploc for me for now.
Sure, a vacuum sealer is probably the thing for the spare alternator if you are crossing oceans. But I am thinking of the accumulated spare parts, like nuts, bolts, shackles that you need to have around to fix just that annoying something or other.

Ziplocs may be part of the solution, but where you put THEM?
 

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Over Hill Sailing Club
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For small parts, I have 2 standard plastic, lidded trays for stuff like cotter pins, heat shring tubing, crimp connectors, small machine screws, assorted wood screws, etc. They get used all the time, so get kept in a handy location. Larger spares like alternators, starters, etc. get BURIED in the same locker but I know where they are and never change their location. I have two "clothes" drawers filled with coffee cans of stuff that gets used often like fuel filters, hose clamps, seizing wire, and such. I sacrificed the drawers because they lock closed and are accessible quickly. I use another drawer for only electrical parts like bulbs, pieces of wire, spare radar, solar, radio, etc. stuff. Sailing singlehanded, I don't need all the clothes space. Parts like spare fiberglass, epoxy, paint, emergency hatch plugs, tubing, wire, etc. all have a specific spot "buried" according to how often they're needed. All my shackles and chain parts get stored in one hatch up in the bow section. It all works out but takes a long time to get into the habit of putting everything in the SAME place every time so you know where to start digging:)
 

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I was removing some nuts from one of my toe rail sections in the anchor locker, and I noticed a drill bit sticking out of the hull deck joint on the inside of the boat.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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And of course there is the...I know I have that part, and it should be on the boat story...The last time my old man was one the boat for a sail, the wind died and we were far from home, started the engine and found the pump impeller was gone. I thought I had a replacement on board. could not find it. Had plenty of time to look for it. The wind came back up and I sailed home and into the slip. Bought a new impeller, fixed the pump and promptly found the spare one.
Thankful for this validation that I am not the only one who does this (although it seems to happen more often these days...). I spent the night at another marina the past weekend and was staring at the prongs of the 30 amp electrical plug to figure out why it won't fit in the 50 amp shore power (don't laugh...), when someone across the way says, "do you need an adapter?" The next night I was putting something away under a settee and found the adapter that I had bought last year and had completely forgotten about. If that happens again, then I'm going to be real worried :confused: but maybe I just won't remember this other incident. And I am trying to forget of all the times I knew I had put a part down "right there next to me" and then had to scour the boat looking for it.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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I know where all the tools are and virtually all of the spare parts. The thing I find remarkable is that even a small, 20 minute repair seems to require at least nine different tools. Doesn't seem to be like that at home.
 

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It comes down to practice. The older I get the less I spend time looking for tools, parts or material. I know what I will need and where it is. Things are stowed such that what I need is accessible.

I did some plumbing Sunday (water filter for galley). 15 minutes, start to finish. Many tools, and a few fittings, but they were where they should have been.

I learned the hard way, of course. I'm not gloating, just offering hope. It seems I'm much faster at somethings than I was 30 years ago; fewer mistakes.
 

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I use clear Sterilite storage containers, the type with locking lids. I got them at K-mart ugh I don't who else sells them. They are available in many sizes from small to huge. Put similar small parts in ziplocks and put them inside write a label and put clear scotch tape over it to moisture proof it. My spare alternator,battery wire and lugs are all in the one place this way.
 
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