Boatcraft & Fitting-Out

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How to choose Binoculars (Pub. No. 7927)

Good glasses can be highly useful to the outdoorsman and boatman, whether purchased new, or second-hand, maybe in a swap. The important word is “good,” for bad glasses are an abomination. Yet there can be a difference of perhaps $20-$30 between binoculars that to a casual eye seem virtually identical. Naturally you’d want the less expensive pair. Sometimes they can be as good as the more costly glasses. Sometimes not, and you’re better off paying extra. How do you tell the difference?

4 page(s)

$3.50
Guide to Sandpaper and other Coated Abrasives (Pub. No. 7928)

by Ray Hill

Coated abrasives. All boat-builders call on them. Knowing which type and grade of abrasive to use, and how to use it, can spell the difference between a finished job that looks rough and amateurish, or one that’s super smooth and professional. A coated abrasive, regardless of its shape (disk, sheet, drum), is a single layer of abrasive grain bonded to a flexible backing on which an adhesive layer, the “make coat,” has been deposited. Before it dries, the abrasive grain is implanted in the adhesive; then a second adhesive layer, the “size coat,” is deposited over the abrasive grain to further anchor it to the backing.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Sharpenings Secrets of a Pro (Pub. No. 7930)

by John A Juranitch

You can get a razor edge on all of your tools and knives by following these simple steps.

Considering how long people have been using sharpened edges, you’d think we’d know a lot about them. But most people—even professionals in the field—don’t. I’ve seen men who have been sharpening knives for half a century and still have little idea of what they’re doing. We’ve found that the largest meat-packing companies in the world don’t know what to tell new employees when it comes to sharpening. Before I get down to the secrets of sharpening, let me tell you some of the things we’ve learned that aren’t true. First, despite what you hear to the contrary, fine manufactured hones are far superior to the natural ones. That’s not to say that natural hones are no good; they’re just highly overrated.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Building with C-Flex (Pub. No. 7932)

by Bill McKeown

There are some outstanding new ways to build yourself a boat these days. Quicker, easier and better than many methods of the past, they are particularly suitable for constructing one boat at home. True, you can make a mold and pop out faster, cheaper hulls, perhaps. But complications and government requirements of building boats for sale are best left to the professionals. A “one-off” method like that described here is preferable for a handyman. (Coast Guard booklet 466, Safety Standards for Backyard Boat Builders, is also worth getting from the U.S. Coast Guard, Washington, D.C. 20590. It covers hull identification number and safety requirements.) This Data Sheet gives some tips on using this flexible material.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Benchtop Vise for Tricky Holds (Pub. No. 7933)

by Richard M. Gutter

A pair of pipe clamps and scrap material make this super holder.

My benchtop vise was originally made to hold picture-frame molding for routing. It proved ideal for holding the thin strips of molding, since it supports them securely along their entire length at a convenient height. It also serves as a sort of production fixture for turning out a number of identical pieces quickly and easily. A pair of pipe clamps (perhaps you already have them hanging in a corner of your workshop), several U-bolts, a pair of eyebolts and a couple of boards are all it takes to make the vise. It can do a job equal to many on the market which cost considerably more. If you buy the pipe clamps and the needed hardware, the vise will cost about $20. If you already have the clamps, about $5 worth of hardware will put you in business.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Fit Out for Making Money (Pub. No. 7934)

by Hank Lake

Ever think of lowering the coil of your metal detector down into the water on a long extension cord so you can look for sunken treasure? As soon as the idea occurred to me two years ago I looked around for an old boat and bought her off-season for $150. She was a fine old wooden 23-foot Chris-Craft with an inboard engine. The cabin had already been removed and the boat used as an open fishing craft. In the spring I overhauled her, and changed her name from Leaking Lena to Sand Pebble. Working the waters along the coast of Staten Island, N.J., and New Jersey, I would drift and check the snag-infested shallows around old piers with the magnets, using the detector off sandy beaches. So far I’ve raised propellers, shafts, heavy brass fittings, tool and tackle boxes with watches, coins and rings in them, ships’ wheels and a great variety of fishing equipment that can be sold to marine stores and flea market dealers. An interesting source for sunken treasure is the Descriptive List of Treasure Maps in the Library of Congress, 45 cents from the Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. My total cost for boat and equipment was $347. In just one month I earned more than that.

1 page(s)

$3.50
Convert to a Cruiser with Canvas (Pub. No. 7936)

Put a top and curtains on any boat, and you’ve added a cabin—the best season stretcher around.

Check any waterfront lineup and you’ll find a fine variety of ways to stay out of the sun and rain. Not every boat is suitable for adding a sail, but any craft can use canvas to become a convertible and change an open cockpit into a shelter. Even a sailing surfboard skipper can drape a sail over the boom and create a tent of sorts for overnighting on a beach. You’ll see runabouts with fold-back tops, sun shelters above flying bridges, covers on open skiffs and sailboat cockpits, pop-tops, Bimini Tops and Navy tops. The trade refers to all this as “canvas,” even though the material may be vinyl, plain or cloth-backed, a canvas-like synthetic such as Acrilan, or even—and it is still useful—genuine canvas duck. Buy a new boat and you’ll be offered a list of “canvas” options. Here's some ides for doing your own.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Secrets of successful Winter layup (Pub. No. 7937)

by Bob Whittier

Every boat requires tender loving care this time of year ashore as a head start for trouble-free days afloat.

There is still no such a thing as a "maintenance-free” boat, but there are many new and easy ways to minimize the work involved this time of year. When most boats were made of wood and needed a lot of upkeep, the early fiberglass builders fighting to gain acceptance for their new material liked to claim that their revolutionary hulls required no care at all. It’s true your fiberglass or aluminnum boat does not require the tedious annual caulking, sanding and painting of wooden craft, but it does need attention. Yet the “no care” notion lingers on, and it’s depressingly common to see badly neglected boats sitting out in the rain and snow in back yards and marinas. Boats and their equipment rarely wear out from hard and steady service as do cars and washing machines. Instead they often suffer from long periods of idleness; a control lever or hatch hinge in constant use is less likely to corrode shut than when not in use, and a hull speeding through the water doesn’t give weeds a chance to grow and harden on. But let your boat sit ashore untended for several months and you learn the value of proper layup.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Fixing a Hole in a Metal Boat (Pub. No. 7939)

by Bob Stearns

If you own an aluminum boat and use it extensively, odds are that sooner or later it will develop a leak. And if rivets were used in its construction—especially below the waterline—odds are that one or more of them is the source of the leak. Aluminum flexes in use, and rivets in the area of stress work loose. Water begins to seep in, gradually getting worse. Unless you’ve cracked a chine or otherwise damaged some critical structural part of the hull, you probably can repair the boat without resorting to a high-priced shop to do the job for you. This includes not only leaky rivets, but punctures and holes (or gashes) as well. Just because the rivet installation leaks doesn’t mean the rivet has to be replaced. If it’s only loosened slightly and isn’t bent or deformed—and hasn’t enlarged or deformed the metal plates through which it passes—it probably can be tightened.

4 page(s)

$3.50
Cannon You Can Make, A ! (Pub. No. 7940)

by Hal Kelly

Get a bigger bang out of your boating days and nights and be the star of any boat parade! Build yourself a jumbo carbide cannon. Ours looks something like the naval cannon from Fort Ticonderoga that played a big part in the American Revolution. Unlike those heavy and dangerous great guns, this one is light and safe . . . but almost as noisy. The secret is to make the barrel from standard PVC sewer pipe sections and fittings. So instead of several tons of cast iron, touchy black powder and the resulting danger and mess, you’re dealing with light plastic and carbide. Shooting and construction are both easy and simple. The parts cost us less than $100 and construction time was three hours.

2 page(s)

$3.50
Easy-To-Make Solar Cooker (Pub. No. 7941)

Boiling water for coffee or heating up a can of soup is a cinch on any of the little backpacking stoves. But with a solar cooker? Sun-powered ovens are well known, burning glasses have existed as long as lenses but a solar stove is something new under the sun. Now the availability of low cost plastic Fresnel lenses makes a lightweight sun-powered folding camp cooker possible and even inexpensive if you build it yourself. This solar stove is practical. It boils enough water for a cup of coffee in a few minutes and takes a little longer to heat a can of soup. It folds compactly and has no loose bits of hardware to get lost. It weighs just 2 lbs. You don’t have to lug fuel for it. But, unfortunately, it works only when the sun shines.

4 page(s)

$3.50
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