Date: 14 October 2019. Inexpensive
Back in 2018 I was fortunate
enough to attend a used boat gear swap in St. Petersburg, FL. I told
you about that in the
Nautical Swap Purchases - Handles
article. The handles I bought are sturdy and well made. Then I saw what
appeared to be the same thing on eBay for far less money. And that
is where my tale of I-Should-Have-Known-Better begins...
This is a top-quality
bought from David at that previously mentioned nautical swap. It is
David has an eBay store called bargainh2osports. Link:
I should have gone directly to
David for more handles. That would have been the smart thing to do.
I knew his items were just what I liked. Instead I sought a cheaper
option. And that is the beginning of my tale of woe.
As a budget boater I am always pleased to find a
bargain. Not all bargains are worth the price however.
The price of the discount handles reflected well the quality. They
The metal is pressed and has
where the unit curves. Ugh.
these from an eBay seller based in China I believed I would receive
a solid stainless handle such as those I installed on the door to my
cockpit. What I received were pressed handles made with thin
stainless. The edges were sharp. Two tears, presumably caused by a
faulty manufacturing process, are also present. I had spent
perfectly good money for this pair.
In the meantime, a boat two west of me is being
cleaned out to prepare it for sale. It's a Gulfstar 36. In the
process of emptying out the owner's gear I spotted a spool of 1/8"
braided nylon. This same fellow had a few months ago purchased a
spool of braid because his was missing. Well, I found the original
Best of all, said boater passed the
older spool along to me. How cool is that?!?
I am beyond happy to have a ready supply of braided line. This is
such a blessing.
In the pilothouse of Seaweed I
have a bar stool that I use as my helm chair. The original seat was
always in the way, uncomfortable, didn't go far enough forward for
someone my size, etc. That helm chair was disposed of quite some
time ago. I did keep the post in case I ever wish to go back.
I am perfectly
aware a bar stool is not a great substitute for a helm chair with a
back and arms. This is a small boat. Seaweed does not have a lot of
space. For now, what I have is Good Enough. Were the weather such
that a true helm chair would make a difference, I would not be going
I hung the spool under the chair so it would
spin/dispense line without twisting.
A line was fed through the center of the spool. The
two ends were tied on the highest pair of crossbars.
As for the project, I first
slid a length of line through the handle. The thinking was that
would help reinforce the flimsy metal. In retrospect I should have
run that line up and back three times. I did leave the end long
enough to tie two sets of knots.
I tied a clove hitch. Any looping knot would suffice.
Make sure about 4" of line is left over as a tag end.
At the end of this
process I used the
(that spare 4") to secure the bitter ends together.
Next I went to the other end of the handle. As the
spool turned I wrapped the flimsy stainless.
The goal was to cover the entire handle in a single
layer of 1/8" braid.
Having this spool
of line made all the difference in the world.
#1) I didn't have any long lengths of line in my
Box of Small Stuff.
Without the spool I was given this project could not have been
easily completed. I am grateful.
#2) Not since Bob was a nearby boater have I had access to a lot of
small stuff. I told you about Bob in the
Side Note: When I replaced Bob's flag halyards, he
passed along his old halyard lines. That became the basis of my
stash of long braided 1/8" line. At one time I had over 100'. Before
the gift of that spool I didn't have much more than 10' leftover
from the Bob braid. I am indeed fortunate.
Because I had plenty of 1/8"
braided nylon on that spool I was able to tackle this project. It easily unrolled where I had it hung. I tried to cover all of
the sharp areas on those handles I'd secured from the overseas
Of course I did not store my new
spool of line under the stool permanently. Instead it resides in a
sack secured to a bulkhead in the bilge. I do not want to risk the
line coming unrolled down
there. Lots of things can all too easily get wrapped around a shaft.
That is never a good thing.
I wanted the underside of the
handle fully covered so I would not pinch or cut myself on the sharp
Once I got to the
original knot at the other end
a square knot secured the whole thing together.
The 1/8" braided nylon made a big difference in the
appearance of handle.
When laid on a flat surface the handles sit flush.
These units will mount without too much difficulty.
↓ in the stainless from
my handles still show.
I believe the rope I added will protect hands from the damaged
What you should
know: Buying extremely cheap handles is not a
good idea. The "fix" took a bit of time. That rope will discolor and
get stained. Most likely these will be mounted in a bilge
for a hand-hold.
All in all, this is not one of my
better buys. Still, I did
take what was essentially unusable and make it okay.
made. At the beginning of the project I should have run the line up
and back a few times (three) under that folded-over piece of the
handle. Later I will have to add a couple layers of backing under
the screw holes. That way when mounting the ends won't flatten out.
So that is my tale. Be smarter than I was.
Thank you for reading. I
I'd love to know I'm not the only one who has ended up
with something like this.
And, what did you buy that turned out to be but a shadow of what was
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