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2014-07-31

Another linkage in the chain

Something my American friends are not always used to dealing with is the worldwide preference for metric measurement. The SAE standarized Imperial (or "American", but it's British in origin) gauged and standardized tools and fasteners in the early days of automotive production, and knowing that the 3/8" nut on that new 1910 Stanley Steamer would match the 3/8" bolt from Mr. Ford's outfit no doubt made the assembly line and mass production run more smoothly. While there have been many variant fasteners and tools of unusual sizings before and since the widespread adaption in North America of SAE Imperial sizings...the British Whitworth system, still used in U.K. plumbing, comes to mind...the rest of the world uses metric tooling.
And this is only the beginning...
Now, unless you own, in addition to a Canadian boat with a Japanese diesel, a 1950s British sportscar, you will only be required to carry two complete sets of wrenches, sockets, fasteners, washers and nuts if you are restoring a boat. Get that? Not three. This is not a huge leap for a Canadian boat refitter, as Canada is the homeland of the Robertson screw and bolt, a type very popular indeed in Canada, but somewhat obscure elsewhere, that requires, in addition to the more widespread flathead/slot and Phillips/"cross" screwdrivers and bits, a set of Robertson drivers for hand and electric tools. I also have a bunch of Torx bits and drivers, which remain untouched and pristine as I have yet to enter one in the wild outside of the inside of a computer case...and even then, seldom.
But wait, there's more!
Allen or hex keys also come in metric and SAE sizings, and while I like them in principle, they represent another pair of tool sets and socket drivers I have had to acquire and, inevitably, must bring along. I don't resent this, per se, but when I think that I could disassemble a German engine in a French boat with only the tools I could pack in the most compact of tool boxes, it is to weep. And to list slightly to port with the weight of all these bits and pieces.

There they are, neatly organized inside of under the vise grips. I must have four sets of these between two boats and my house's garage
All this came into play yesterday on the engine. As the Drive to Drive continues, I am becoming familiar with the largely metric Allen screws, drain plugs, nuts and bolts of my Kubota engine. This (the "largely metric" part) makes sense, as it's a Japanese diesel marinized by an English company, and England, despite the Whitworth and indeed "Imperial" provenance, went officially metric in the '70s, even if that means, as here in Canada, that they are more or less getting around to it now. Proximity to the rest of Europe helps in Britain's case, as proximity to the States, noted disdainers of anything the French devised, doesn't help Canada's attempts to leave Imperial/SAE measurements in the historical dustbin. Net result is that I have to carry two more or less full sets of hand tools that drill, screw, lever or tighten/loosen. If it's a specialty item, like a really big socket or a prop puller, that's more weight and expense, but if I really need to pull off the prop, I'll need both.
Useful...to a point.
Occasionally, I'll find a tool/gadget like the adjustable rachet wrench socket pictured above, or a clever rethink such as this:
...or to another point...
...which makes me glad that industrial design students exist. Sometimes I even buy them. But there's no obvious, in my experience, replacement for a deep socket that can fit a buried bolt head attached to a nice long handle. So the embarrassment of hand-tool riches is wanted on the voyage.

Throttle linkage linked. Vroom.
Which brings us, inevitably, to yesterday. I hooked up the throttle and gear shifter linkages, an act I consider symbolic of progress, although it's just the latest step. The nut on the throttle arm was a 10mm nut, but as it was painted, I assumed it was something SAE. Nope!
 
This seems to work in that the shifter lever is shifting, but I think I should reverse that little bored-out piece.
So I was well-warned when I repeated the hook-up for the shifter on the hydraulic gearbox. As can be seen, apart from the particle-covered engine, which will be wiped down before first fire-up, there's an unappealing offset to the path of the Morse/Teleflex-style shifter cable. This photo makes me think I could just put the silvery cap on the little universal joint on the inner, rather than the outer, side of the shifter arm and straighten the hell out of that run. I have no evidence it's an incorrect installation; the engine transmission shifter arm came that way...but my developing instinct makes me think I need to get out, again, the metric spanners.

Which, of course, I have to hand.
Yeah, we'll get back to this level of shiny.



2014-07-30

Looking back and paying it forward

The cover leaves the impression that if you see a shark whilst crouching in the water, you should don a coat, but really, it's a good book.
Something out of the ordinary today, as I once again attempt to acknowledge the fellowship of sailing and the generosity of my fellow sailors by offering (wait for it) a book prize. Not too many blogs bother to hand out goods to their readership, but this is a special case.
These are Ken and Lynn from the well-travelled Silverheels III spotted, unusually for them, in front of a fireplace.
 The Handbook of Survival at Sea, by British author Chris Beeson, came to me courtesy of veteran cruisers (and hashers and boat repair in exotic locationers) Ken and Lynn from the Niagara 35 Silverheels III. Mrs. Alchemy, the Cabin Boy and myself spent at enjoyable evening with them recently here in Toronto as they were back (and shivering) for a vacation from their permanent vacation. They kindly offered me a copy of this helpful volume (along with a part-used tube of caulking which is going on the porch flashing), which had been, in turn, given to them. But they already had a copy. So did I, via the 2010 "Safety at Sea" seminar I attended. But, being part of a thrifty fraternity, I pledged to find this useful book a good home.

So here's the deal: The first person who wants it, gets it, but must come and get it, either from my home or my boat club. Contact me via commenting on this post, and leave a working email. I will reply with my contact info and a time on which we can agree to hand off.

I would suggest this is only practical, the book in question being of a $20 value, to those of my readers in the greater Toronto area, although if you are visiting by boat, that would work, too. Should I get no reply within one week, I will donate The Handbook to my club's Junior Sailing Program, where perhaps it will be of some use in keeping the little Opti and 420 crews undrowned, although they do a pretty good job of that already. Thanks particularly to Ken and Lynn for giving me the idea, and fair winds to you now that you are back in the sufficiently warm tropics!