Data Sheets

Our Data and Plan Sheet series is made up of informative reference articles from the literature. For a modest price, Data Sheets contain information selected from our classic books or the periodical literature reprinted to provide specific information on a particular subject. Plan Sheets are for boat building projects and contain building plans. These items measure  8.5" x 11" and contain between 1 and 4 pages. Most of the Data Sheets and Plan sheets are illustrated.

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Build a Proper Battery Box (Pub. No. 7748)

If a storage battery aboard a boat tips over in rough seas, the cables could tear loose, a dangerous situation if the battery is used to start the auxiliary engine. Or, even worse, the battery’s terminals might short out against nearby metal objects and start a fire. For safety, there are a number of important requirements for installing batteries aboard a boat. A battery should be installed in a battery box that has a tight-fitting lid to prevent metal objects from shorting the battery terminals. The box’s lid should be vented to allow hydrogen gas, a by-product of charging, to escape. The box should restrain the battery from moving more than 1 inch in any direction and be lined with a material that is impervious to battery acid. And, the box must allow the battery to be placed so that it is convenient to measure cell condition with a hydrometer. To construct a safe and convenient battery box that could be stored under the cockpit seat locker next to the cockpit or cabin bulkhead, follow these steps.

3 page(s)

$3.50
Care and Repair of Sails (Pub. No. 7749)

It pays to keep your boat’s sails neat, clean, and in good repair, not only for the sake of appearance, but to prolong their life. Polyester, which is used in practically all sails today—except for nylon spinnakers—is a durable material, but not impervious to salt, sun, abrasion or mildew. Before putting them away, saltwater sailors should hose down their sails anytime they have been exposed to salt spray. Salt absorbs moisture and encourages mildew which can discolor even synthetic fabrics. The use of strong soaps and detergents should be avoided. Alkalis can make polyester cloth more sensitive to the weakening effect of ultraviolet light. Acids do the same for nylon.

4 page(s)

$3.50
How to Build Convertible Berth-to Seat Stowage (Pub. No. 7750)

Almost any boat, no matter how well-designed, can be improved to meet the special needs of its owner. Many smaller cruising craft have ample bunk space in common, but not very adequate seating space below decks. This can be important for a cruising couple who do not need four bunks, but do need a place in the evening to sit, read, and relax. Or, when friends are aboard and the weather is inclement, it is nice to be able to go below deck and have sufficient seating space for everyone.

4 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make Seat Cushions (Pub. No. 7751)

The long cushions used on some boat cockpit seats are unwieldy to handle, especially when you want to stow them. If permanently left out, they can fade, get soggy, and are at the mercy of indifferent birds. This problem can be solved by making smaller sectional cushions that are much easier to handle, stack, and stow out of the way. It is even nice to have a handy cushion to put behind your back for reading or sunning on the foredeck. You may also want to make fitted cushions to provide more comfortable sitting space in other areas of your craft, such as the top of the engine box, bait box, foredeck, storage box, or for bunk backrests. In addition, cushions made with closed-cell or monocellular foam material can provide an extra safety factor. They do not, of course, take the place of personal floatation devices and are not U.S. Coast Guard-approved, but they do float and are readily available if ever needed.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Installing an Inside-Mounted Depth Transducer (Pub. No. 7752)

Theoretically, there are so many advantages to mounting a depth sounder transducer inside a hull that one wonders why all transducers are not mounted this way. For example, the inside-hull mount avoids the need to cut a hole in the bottom of the boat, and because nothing is hanging down from the transom, there is no drag or resistance in the water. But, there is a problem with the inside-hull mount. It will not work on some boats. To work satisfactorily, the inside-hull mount requires a boat that has a single-layer fiberglass or aluminum bottom. Few bigger boats have this. Double layers of fiberglass, foam cores, wood cores, or hollow cores in the bottom construction of a boat prevents the transducer’s sound waves from penetrating and returning to the transducer properly. A wood bottom also is unsuitable for this type of mount. There is, however, an easy way that you can check to see if your depth sounder will work and if it will, here are the instructions to mount it.

3 page(s)

$3.50
How to Build an Easy-Access Cupboard (Pub. No. 7753)

Serving food on the open water is not without its hazards. A stack or two of dishes and cups on a cupboard shelf with the cupboard door slightly ajar is always likely to end up at your feet. One device for making a very secure plate and cup storage cabinet for your boat’s galley is to replace the cabinet doors with a cutout cupboard cover panel that offers easy access to dishes and cups, but prevents them from tumbling out in rough water conditions.

3 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make No-Spill Lift-and-Pull Drawers (Pub. No. 7754)

In rough-water cruising, the drawers of cabinets can slide open and spill their contents over the floor of a boat’s cabin. Lift-and-pull cabinet drawers, however, prevent this and end problems with drawer latches that fail or stick. Due to the vast differences in cabinets, it is highly unlikely that any specific dimensions provided would fit the cabinets on your boat so you will have to substitute all dimensions to fit your requirements. To build a lift-and-pull drawer for a cabinet, follow these steps, substituting dimensions that suit your situation

3 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make a Vertical Storage Drawer (Pub. No. 7755)

In or near the galley of many boats, there often is unused or wasted space between cabinets and a stove, sink or refrigerator. While such space is much too narrow for a cabinet, a vertical storage drawer can fit, adding additional shelf space. This project is building a vertical drawer with four shallow-tray shelves ideal for storing knives, forks and spoons, and other kitchen equipment. And, if you wish to omit the first and third shelves, it makes a good “grog” locker. All material used, except the drawer’s face panel, is 1/2 inch wood that can be pine, mahogany or marine plywood. The face panel is 3/4 inch mahogany. By using a face panel for the drawer, construction is simplified and the need to make rabbet and dado cuts, except for notches to fit shelf side braces, is avoided. To build a vertical storage drawer, follow these steps.

3 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make a Removeable Stove-Top Counter Top (Pub. No. 7756)

Work space in the galley of a small or medium-size cruiser is always in short supply. But one place where you can make more functional use of the space is the stainless-steel lid on a galley stove. When the stove is not in use, it usually is a handy spot except that it is a slippery surface with rounded edges. And, it is not recommended that you place glasses or other objects on the lid if its surface is wet or if the boat is moving. A quick project, however, can make the steel galley stove top a very usable space, particularly when entertaining. Basically, the countertop is a 3/4 inch teak or mahogany board with holes drilled for holding tumblers. This glass-holder is mounted with screws to the rear portion of the tilting stove lid. The front portion of the countertop consists of edging screwed onto the steel lid to keep hors d’oeuvres and other snacks safely corralled.

2 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make a Dish and Mug Rack (Pub. No. 7757)

On many larger craft where seagoing meals and snacks are served often each day, there usually is sufficient counter space aboard and a need to keep dishes and mugs handy for use. Here are two simple building projects that do the job: a filing rack for dishes, and a vertical stack rack for mugs.

3 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make an Overhead Chart Rack (Pub. No. 7758)

In a small cruising boat, life is more livable if good use is made of all available space. One place where there is usually some unused space is the spot over a dinette table. A hinged chart and magazine rack can fit snugly against the cabin overhead when not in use. Sitting at the table, the latch can be released to let the rack swing down for easy access to charts, magazines, and other items, including navigation instruments. The rack hangs over the middle of the table out of the way. Similar overhead lockers can be made a little deeper and in different dimensions to fit in a boat’s galley, head, or over bunks. They can provide ready access to all sorts of items. This rack, which can be made of mahogany or plywood, is designed as a shallow 2-5/8 x 12-1/2 x 26-3/4 inch box. There is one off-center divider to allow a larger place for tabloid-size charts or magazines, or two regular-size magazines, side by side. The other compartment holds regular-size magazines. Shock cords keep the contents from tumbling out when the rack is opened.

2 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make a Bulkhead Chart Holder (Pub. No. 7759)

Many boats have an outside cabin wall, or bulkhead, that makes an ideal place to mount a chart holder for the helmsman. Or, the chart holder can be mounted on an inside cabin wall if desired. It is easy to make such a chart holder with a simple three-sided frame and a sheet of acrylic. Several charts can be slid between the clear plastic and the cabin bulkhead. The one on top is not only visible, but the plastic surface can be used for plotting courses with a grease pencil or marking pen. When the weather is rough, the charts remain safe from wind, rain and spray.

2 page(s)

$3.50
How to Make a Folding Galley Shelf (Pub. No. 7760)

In the galley of a small craft, any project that uses wasted space and promotes easier, simplified cooking procedures helps the cook stay in the good graces of the crew. A hinged shelf at an end of a galley counter can do multiple duty. It can serve as a spot to prepare food, a support for the galley stove, a place to drain and dry dishes, or as the bar when the sun is over the yardarm.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Varnishing and Enameling Below Decks (Pub. No. 7762)

As nice as it looks in the beginning, varnished mahogany or teak below decks can, over the years, give a claustrophobic feeling to your boat’s cabin. You can, however, obtain an elegant, airy interior by refinishing the bulkheads and door panels in an off-white yacht enamel while keeping all trim, door-jambs, molding, grab rails, and shelves brightwork. The expanse of bright, satin-smooth enamel paint surrounded by gleaming varnish work is a traditional and extremely handsome finish.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Refinishing a Wooden Spar (Pub. No. 7763)

Every season, wooden spars are normally given two coats of varnish. In time, however, the varnish coating breaks down due to chafe, hard knocks, and weathering, and water penetrates the coating. Yellowing, darkening, blisters, and black spots are signs that the time has come to “wood down” the spar-—strip it of all the coating down to bare wood. This is a very satisfying kind of project, not only because wood is so nice to work with, but also because a spar of Sitka spruce, for example, is a structure of great strength and beauty, and deserves as handsome a coating as possible. To refinish a wooden spar, follow these steps.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Refinishing Superstructure Brightwork (Pub. No. 7764)

Generally, brightwork means the bright look of finely grained wood that has received a number of coats of clear varnish or some other clear coating. While brightwork requires more work than some other types of coatings, many boat owners feel that the results obtained are well worthwhile.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Painting the Cabin Overhead (Pub. No. 7765)

If the cabin overhead of a fiberglass boat has mildewed, or suffered from deck leaks, fumes from kerosene lamps or the galley stove, then a paint job can bring it back to “yacht” condition. High-gloss enamel is the easiest surface to keep clean and it will brighten up a dark cabin with its reflectivity. Assuming the cabin ceiling is a fiberglass gel coat (or liner) or sprayed polyester resin, and that any deck leaks have been repaired, follow these steps:.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Refinishing A Teak and Holly Cabin Sole (Pub. No. 7766)

No other surface on a boat takes as much abuse as a cabin sole. Tools and beverage cans are always dropping on it and breaking through the protective varnish. Then water seeps in, yellowing and blistering the surface. Fortunately, the sole is easy to bring back into good condition because it is a flat, horizontal surface that is convenient to work on. Today’s refinishing materials ensure that this project can be done quickly with excellent results. To refinish a teak and holly cabin sole, follow these steps.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Painting Metal Surfaces (Pub. No. 7767)

Unless the metal fixtures aboard your boat are chrome-plated or stainless steel, they are susceptible to corrosion. Bronze takes on an unsightly patina. In a saltwater environment, aluminum pits and white powdery corrosion forms around the fittings. Here is how to protect some common metal items on board.

3 page(s)

$3.50
Painting an Inboard Engine (Pub. No. 7768)

A spotless, glossy engine is the hallmark of responsible boat maintenance. If the inboard engine’s factory paint job has faded, or if rust is beginning to form, some touching up is in order. Before tackling the job of painting the engine, however, give some careful consideration to the task.

3 page(s)

$3.50
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