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Old 26-04-2010, 12:15   #1
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Cleaning Shackles

Ok. we got old blown out sails on our little hole in the water, but they don't have holes, the corners are in good shape and we can't afford a new suite of sails, not even used ones at the moment.

My issue is the hardware that has been left on them to corrode shut. In particular the shackles for hanking on the head sails are just plain stuck. I am wary of trying to use pliers to force them because that seems to much like a nail and hammer approach and even with my needlenose I can't get a good grip on anything to bring pressure to bear. I have heard that soaking in vinegar will dissolve salt, but I think there may be more here than that to take into account. These sails have been stored on the boat, prolly for years, rolled up and just sitting there is a pretty much unused boat. I am also afraid of using anything on them that if it touches the sails will mess them up.

advice? The hardware on the boat all seems to be of older, but very good quality, so I expect under the powder and corrosion there is sound stainless.
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Old 26-04-2010, 12:29   #2
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sarafina -
If they weren't on the sail I'd suggest soaking them in vinegar for 24 hours or so. As it is, you might try PB Blaster (Power Blast). Make sure to protect the sails from the penetrant.
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Old 26-04-2010, 13:13   #3
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When all that fails, use a jumbo bolt cutter, or a "nutcracker"

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whack it off, and put on a nice high grade "Wichard" or something like that.

I don't like halyard shackles. I had one fracture on me in a storm, letting my stailsail blow out. It's a miracle I didn't lose the sail. Crevice corrosion. If it's old enough to be frozen up like that, then it's old enough to fracture just when you're counting on it.
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Old 26-04-2010, 13:13   #4
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Second the recommendation for PB Blaster. Just put an old rag under the shackles to keep the overspray off the sails. You know the trick about tapping with a hammer after you spray your favorite flavor of penetrating liquid on a fitting?

If they are good, stainless shackles a little force won't hurt in trying to free up the pins. Instead of pliers try to find a wrench that will fit on the flat part of the pin so you don't mung up the end (how do you like these fancy technical terms). Or, if they are like most shackles the pin will have a hole in the end where you can insert a marlin spike.
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Old 26-04-2010, 13:59   #5
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Just noticed you were referring to the sail hanks and not regular shackles.

Are you sure these are stainless? I thought they were usually bronze. Also, SS doesn't usually powder when it corrodes. What color is the corrosion?
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Old 26-04-2010, 14:26   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sarafina View Post
advice? The hardware on the boat all seems to be of older, but very good quality, so I expect under the powder and corrosion there is sound stainless.
That would surprise me. I'd expect bronze hanks. If so, don't worry to much about busting one, they are something you can replace yourself. No more difficult than sewing on a button.
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Old 26-04-2010, 15:25   #7
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spotless stainless steel cleaner.......works great, wont harm the sail cloth
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Old 26-04-2010, 15:49   #8
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A common cause of failure in bronz piston hanks is rust forming on the springs, even springs made with stainless. You may be able to dissolve the rust with a mild acid such as "Wink" but if the deterioration has been ongoing for any period, there may not be much left of the spring even if you do manage to free it. On the other hand, press on bronz piston hanks are relatively inexpensive, roughly $6.00 USD each for a sail of the size of your Cal. (And, if you check with some of the local sailmakers, you may be able to pick up a handful for next to nothing. In the Bay Area try Pineapple and/or Hood Sails) Given the foregoing, you might find that replacement is the preferable alternative. As for reinvigorating your old sails, you might find Sail Care worthwhile. They did a great job on the aging 150 on our old Cal 2-29 for not a lot of money and it's still going strong for the young man that purchased the boat.

FWIW...
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