It’s Always The Last One!

I’m replacing six screws on the jib track. They are stainless steel, and about nine inches long since they go through the toe rail, scuppers and deck. I had to have them custom forged as no one stocks 1/4″ diameter screws that are that long.

OK, so I got the new ones made in just a couple days thanks to the generous help of Terry from Custom Alloy and Stainless here in Riverside, Whangarei. He’s really busy, but I think he took it as a bit of a challenge to fabricate them. Lucky for me. He ended up taking 1/4″ bar stock, putting it into a custom made die the shape of the head of the screw, then heating and hammering it into shape. He then cut a slot for the screw driver and cut threads for the nut.

Here's the die. It ultimately broke, but lasted long enough to complete the job along with a couple extra bolts.

BUT…there’s always a “but” with a project like this. Five of the old screws came out without too much convincing. Ah, but the sixth one…it’s always the last and hardest one to get to that causes problems. The nut for this one resides in the very back corner of a silly 14 inch deep shelf that is only four inches from the ceiling. I can barely get my hand in there with a wrench. Hmmm, this could get ugly!

With Ann’s able assistance holding the wrench (much harder to do in real life than it sounds) I went up on deck with my impact driver (a regular screwdriver went no-where). It started to turn then absolutely seized up. I tried going forward then backward to loose it, but the only result of that was a broken driver tip.

I considered several other strategies including dismantling the shelf, but an idea Ann had finally was our next step. I would drill off the head of the bolt and punch it down through the deck. Only problem…a 4″ shelf and an eight inch long screw. Ann’s solution-drill a hole in the back corner of the shelf that the screw could go through. Brilliant!

The rest was just drilling and punching.

The carnage. Bolt, drilled out head and broken tools.

The final tally: one bolt removed, a broken driver head, broken punch, destroyed screw and heroically burned out drill bit.

Phew. Boat projects, ya gotta love the challenge.

One thought on “It’s Always The Last One!

  1. Good Job Anne – Sometimes it takes standing back and letting someone else see it.

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