Monday, November 11, 2013

Shiny Objects

With the cold firmly in place and the rudder project stalled until I have a new rudder post fabricated, my hopes for finishing up the cockpit this season are diminishing by the day.  I still have lots to do though and I've turned my attention toward getting some of the deck hardware cleaned up and ready for re-install.  I'm hoping that I can get some of it re-installed even though it is cold since I'm going to be using butyl tape for a lot of the hardware and it can be warmed up with a hairdryer sufficiently to snug the pieces in place.

The stanchions and lifelines have been sitting in a bin for several years waiting for some love and I finally got to them over the past week.  The lifelines are complete junk and I'll need to replace them so I cut them off with an angle grinder to liberate the stanchions.  Next I needed to remove the stainless steel stanchions from the chromed bronze bases.  There is a set screw on each stanchion base that locks the stanchion in place and the first 2 came off without a fight, but the remaining 5 proved to be less willing to part so sprayed them down with PBBlaster and left them overnight which allowed me to free up 3 more.  The final 2 decided that they needed heat to break the set screw out so I hit them with a torch and finally more PBBlaster before setting them aside.

The next day I was able to free the last 2 set screws but the last stanchion decided it didn't want to leave the stanchion base, but I was able to move forward with cleanup on the other 6.  I set up my trusty electrolyzer bucket and battery charger with a steel plate for the anode and dunked each stanchion base one at a time for the cathode. After several hours with the battery charger running the stanchion base came out black, but smooth and free of years of corrosion, dirt, and general nastiness.  I dried them off and hit them with a wire wheel on my drill press for a few minutes to reveal the underlying shiny bronze.  I repeated this for each of the 6 free stanchion bases and got them all pretty again.

Next, I used a 1' x 1' piece of 1/2 inch fiberglass plate (the same type that I am using for the rudder tube junction on the deck here) and cut it up into 9 equally sized pieces to use as backing plates.  Then I hit each one with a belt sander to round the corners and smooth out the rough edges.  Finally I tapped the 5/16" holes for the 2-1/2" silicon bronze bolts I bought to secure the stanchions to the deck.  I still have to deal with the final base that won't give up the stanchion, but I may start mounting the finished ones in the meantime.

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