Gadgets and Gilhickies

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600+ Tried-and-True Boating Tips & Small Projects (Pub. No. 4901)

Every conceivable aspect of motor-boating, sailing, rowing, fishing, etc.

Five volumes of our earlier booklets combined into one convenient Handi-Book. Now fully indexed for easier reference. All the good things that work and small projects from the early days right up to today. (A few of these are the very popular tips which appear in our Handi-Hints pop-ups and on our Tip-of-the Day links from other sites).

166 pages

Gadgets and Gilhickies (Pub. No. 4910)

A great collection of gadgets and ideas for both sail and motor boats.

102 pages

How to Build a Boat Trailer (Pub. No. 5527)

Three Designs by William Jackson, John W. MacFarlane, et. al.

From the First Article: "A Trailer for the boat has many advantages and here is one simple in construction, easy to build, that will last a life time and is highly recommended for your boat, whether you buy one or build your craft yourself. The advantages of this trailer are something like a mobile marine railway. The boat may be used anywhere an auto may go and regardless whether your boat is an outboard, sailboat, or small inboard runabout you are free to explore any waterway and trail your boat home for storage in a safe place, until ready for use again. The first item in construction of a trailer is a suitable axle, wheels, and springs, these parts being readily obtained from junked autos. Select a front axle complete with wheels, while springs may be from any auto, old tires are satisfactory as little wear is encountered in trailing a boat. The axle selected must, have the steering knuckles rigidly secured to prevent the wheels turning in or out and this is accomplished by providing strap iron lugs, bolting over the steering knuckles or better yet by welding the steering knuckles fast to prevent movement. Note: This recommendation was a good one in the days before front-wheel drive cars. It avoided the weight and complication of the differential but added the complication of welding the steering knuckles. Today's best answer is the rear axle from a front-wheel drive car; readily available, no differential, no steering knuckles and, because of the supply, relatively inexpensive.

36 pages, 3 plate(s)

Simplifying Short-Handed Sailing (Pub. No. 5631)

Most trailerable cruising sailboats, mostly those in the 20 to 25 foot range, skippers often find the most challenging conditions. Many of these craft are Spartan in their original equipment. Many of their owners have family crew members who are either inexperienced or a little light for the job. And, too, some venturesome skippers enjoy the solitude and, sometimes, splendor or occasional harrowing experience of cruising alone. For the do-it-yourselfer who likes to be in complete control, there are a number of projects that can make short-handed sailing easier with-out leaving the cockpit.

17 pages

Build a Split-Screen Snorkel Box (Pub. No. 7880)

by Neil Sander

With this secret weapon you can shoot photos over and under water at the same time, the way the pros do.

There's something spectacular about seeing under and above water level at the same time--showing botht he fish and the fisherman, or a boat's bottom and topsides--all in a single picture. To take such a shot, you might expect to need simply an underwater camera or conventional housing for one, but neither is enough. Water splashing against a cover plate immediately next to the lens will be out of focus and confuse the picture. Instead, you need a special enclosure that can give you a distinct waterline. Fortunately you can build one yourself.

3 page(s)

How to Build a Bubble System for In-Water Storage (Pub. No. 7891)

by Raymond A. Palmer

Why pay more for dry storage during winter months when for little money you can make your own portable wet-storage system?

Each year when winter winds begin to blow and temperature falls, wet-storage advocates gain new adherents. Formerly, the last week of October and the first days of November were busy with cruisers being hauled from the water and rolled onto storage platforms. The violent movement of a boat on a cradle as it’s pulled from the water and racked onto the storage skids causes more damage than an entire season of cruising! Hulls suffer from drying out and seams may need recaulking. Winter covers must be put in place to protect from snow and ice. This means continual checking, adjustment and retying of tarpaulin all winter long. Add to this the ever-present possibility of theft or vandalism and you wonder whether a boat is worth having at all! Four years ago we decided to join the wet-storage gang. We had a good floating dock with an all-weather roof which covered the boat and the surrounding walk. There was plenty of electric power dockside to heat the craft when winter work was needed. We did tie a thin sheet of plastic over our hard top to keep it clean and protect the paint. We did not remove the batteries since they could easily be checked and recharged aboard. Besides, battery power was needed to run the automatic bilge pump protecting us if we took on any water during the winter. Perhaps, the advantage that appealed most was the privilege of going aboard without having to set up ladders and untie covers. Our next step was to acquire a bubbler. We could purchase the complete package with all the controls or we could assemble our own. We chose the latter but didn’t start from scratch since some of our neighbors had experimented with their own designs. We used their experience and what we had read about winter stortge and began our own project.

2 page(s)

One-man Car-top Boat loader (Pub. No. 7898)

by Lloyd M. Polentz

Loading and unloading our 14 ft. aluminum cartopper used to be such a nuisance that it hardly seemed worthwhile taking it along on camping trips. This simple boat loader solved all our problems and turned out to be better suited to our needs than any of the commercial loaders we have seen. We wanted something that would allow us to load and unload the boat without having to unhitch our camping trailer. This automatically ruled out all rear-loading designs, It also had to be compact and “self-storing,” not some special device we would have to erect each time we wanted to use it and which would take up precious storage space in car or trailer. The design we finally came up with is basically just a plywood platform equipped with a 2x4 loading bar. The bar has a pivot at one end and a caster on the other. A simple latch locks it parallel to the side of the platform during the first part of the loading process.

2 page(s)

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)

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