Blood, Sweat & Tears

Boating is dangerous.

Obviously, considering the number of band-aids I go through in the course of a given boat project.

It’s not – on the whole – the using and operating of boats that’s dangerous (though accidents do happen, of course) but the close proximity of objects that bite you.  Like spinnaker poles.

I’m an enormous fan of a local shop we have here in Rockland, Maine, called Marine Consignment of Coastal Maine (MCOCM) LLC.

As you’d expect, it’s simply a consignment shop for the excess, unneeded or unloved boat parts and gear you probably have lying around the house and yard.

Back in February I had a few dollars in my pocket, so I went to visit the proprietor, John.

Yes, we are on a first name basis. He’s got my debit card number on speed dial, and dreams of that new Lexus whenever I walk in.

Which is funny, in that his prices are very reasonable, and he’s even more so. Take the spinnaker pole I was working on today. I saw this adjustable 20′ spinnaker pole lying on the floor, and in looking it over, saw that both pins were frozen (not uncommon for stainless pins in aluminum castings) and there was no price on it.
“What’s the story on this pole, John?”, says I.
“Guy had it lying in the basement, the pins are stuck.  You want it?”
I thought a minute – another project?  “How much?”
“Take it home if you want. If you can make it work, how ’bout 50 bucks?”

I’m a sucker for boat parts.

I tried soaking the ends in vinegar to loosen the corrosion, but nothing doing.  I tried tapping with a hammer, but no-go. So I set it aside for a bit.
Today, 5 months later, I happened to have a propane torch in my hand when my eyes fell on the old stuck pole again. Why not?

Heat, tap, heat, tap, heat, tap tap… POP!  There’s one!DSCN5130

Same treatment on the other, but it only took “heat, tap” before “POP!”  Then a complete disassembly of the pins & springs, ream out the corrosion in the castings, and polish the pins. One pin had been slightly mushroomed by the tapping, probably weakening the hole for the retaining ring, so I cut off 3/16″ of the end and drilled a new hole through the shaft. They’re ready to reassemble as soon as I buy new retaining rings.

Oh, and the blood? Well, I decided to see if the pole would extend to it’s full length, and during the retraction phase, a small, unnoticed sliver of metal decided to take a piece out of my left palm.

Good thing I heal fast, dang boats are dangerous.


2 thoughts on “Blood, Sweat & Tears

  1. Too bad you don’t have a little more ambition!

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