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Date: 27 June2018. Nautical Swap Purchases - Handles.


Earlier this spring I went to a nautical exchange in downtown St. Pete. That is fancy talk for a swap meet for boaters. I brought cash and an eagle eye. To say I was fortunate would be an understatement. I scored, and then came the second guessing. Was what I purchased all it was suppose to be?!?

Folks might wonder what one does after a career at NASA. David (on the left) is a retired NASA electrical engineer.

David (blue shirt) and his son Eric (black shirt) now sell boat hardware at swap meets and on eBay.

Side Note about David: After many years at NASA he switched over to selling marine hardware full time. He offers stainless boat gear. I saw lots for sailboats of course, and good items for me as well. His eBay user name name is bargainh2osports. 

Link: http://ebay.com/usr/bargainh2osports

I have been looking for handles to open my pilothouse doors and the one into the cockpit. In the meantime I have seen lots of handles that were not solid stainless. I admit to being a bit of a snob when it comes to brass or stainless. The preference is to buy something one time that is going to be durable.

A year or so back I had a contest between the teak window frame in the back door, the aft bulkhead and my thumb. Without a doubt my thumb lost. The teak and fiberglass were a-okay.

Since then I have been looking for a handle to open the cockpit door.

At David's section of the swap meet I bought three door handles. I also purchased a pair of stainless hinges. For at least three years I have kept my eyes open for oversized stainless hinges. These will be used on that tuna door I have been wishing for practically forever. Climbing over the transom is not getting any easier.

Not only did David have the handles I
wanted, he had hinges too. Life is good!

The hinges were not marked stainless. That is when I decided to consult an expert.

I went over to Lizotte's Welding (phone: 727-343-7690) in St. Pete.
You met them in the
Welding Shop and a Riser article.

Lizotte's was busy making a custom fuel tank for a go-fast boat. Looking pretty, eh?

They do very nice welds. Daddy was a welder. I know good welding when I see it.

The items I bought at the nautical swap were supposed to be stainless. They were however not marked. I wanted to be sure they were indeed stainless steel before installing them aboard my Seaweed. Although nothing attracted a magnet, I was concerned. That is why I went to Lizotte's Welding.

Welders know metal.

When you need information always go to an expert. I chose Lizotte's for info on my stainless purchases.


The Lizotte family were the first commercial fishermen in Pass-a-Grille, Florida back in the early 1900s. Generations later Lizotte men still enjoy fishing. Now though they also have their own welding shop. Being able to have quality welding done by locals is wonderful.

I bragged on them in the Alternator Bracket Pattern (how to) article too. Frankly I'm trying to think of something else they can do for my Seaweed before I leave St. Pete. They are that good!

I am pondering how to make a support for the canvas to cover my bow.  As of now I don't have the stainless bar stock I want for that project. Still have not quite figured that part out though... Not yet!


 the south end of St. Pete Beach.

Pass-a-Grille is on Boca Ciega Bay.

Lizotte's assured me the hinges I bought from David were stainless. The weight was correct. A quick grind on the back confirmed the stainless was not merely plating. I was of course relieved. It is great to know a purchase was wise.

I also bought handles from David at the swap meet. I like the substantial size and that they are stainless.

These handles have four bolt holes. They secure well to my door. I want a hand-hold I can depend upon.

I decided to through bolt them back to back. One handle is on the OUTSIDE and one is on the INSIDE.

Please note, when attempting to do something like this line up the first bolt then drill through to the outside. I put in a 'placeholder' nut and bolt to secure the handle where it belonged. Then I drilled the opposite hole all the way through. That one took a bit of jiggling as I am not real great at drilling.

Install that second bolt and nut. The object is to hold the handles in place while drilling. Marking alone would never have worked for me. I needed the security of the handles to aim through. The final two holes were much easier to drill properly.


Photo repeated so you don't have to scroll

If you look carefully at the picture you will note the top two bolts have a smooth top. I opted for them to hopefully prevent their easy removal from the outside.  Alas, I only had two, so that's what I used.

Before the final tightening I removed each bolt individually. Then I added some epoxy to the holes. Next I shoved in the bolts. I added a bit more of the epoxy putty around the bolt heads on the outside. Finally I tightened the nuts on the inside.

Voila: Finished.


This project was a success. I find using the door handles on the cockpit door very convenient. The third handle I screwed into the inside of the pilothouse door on the port side. Maybe next time I'll buy another for the starboard side...

For now, life proceeds. I was very fortunate to find good buys at a great price from David and his son Eric. Thanks to Lizotte's I know what I bought was exactly what it was supposed to be. I will be able to depend on the hinges when I get to the tuna door project.

Life is wonderful afloat. Thanks so much for reading.

What is the best thing you've found at a nautical swap meet?
And, do you sell as well?


2018, 2023

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