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Old 01-12-2010, 12:52   #1
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Cleaning the Prop - What Tools / Methods ?

For anyone else who dives their own boat, what tools are you using to keep the prop clean? I started diving my boat a few months ago and have the hull more or less figured out and can do all my zincs without dropping hardware (that took some iterations of learning).

The prop is pretty nasty right now, so I figure I'll need to go at it with a rotary sander of some type to blast the crap off when it's out of the water next. Once that's done and I drop it back in, what's the proper technique for under water preventive maintenance?

I drop in once a month or so.
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Old 01-12-2010, 13:05   #2
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I wash mine with hydrochloric acid using an acid brush. The stuff really cleans up most of the growth mess. I think this method is OK with bronze props. Mine are copper plated, hydrochloric does not eat copper so I don't worry about it. When finished, I just wash off with a hose. But hydrochloric acid won't leave any residue.

My friends use an orbital sander which does work. But I don't want to damage the copper plating on mine with a sander.
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Old 01-12-2010, 13:26   #3
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OP is asking about prop cleaning ...in the water...
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Old 01-12-2010, 13:37   #4
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First tool is snorkel and fins or if I'm lazy, tank and regulator.

If only soft growth I just use a stiff brush. Last year I let it go for 3 months in Narragansett Bay and picked up a load of barnacles so went for the metal scraper. If it gets that bad probably should wear some heavy gloves to avoid polluting the water with pieces of skin.
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Old 01-12-2010, 13:54   #5
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metal paint scraper works for me
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:28   #6
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Okay on the scraper; just didn't want to gouge the metal too bad.
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:29   #7
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Hard paint scraper, the kind that does not flex. Works great. Not fun, though.

If there are barnacles on the prop or around, wear gloves, and watch your head. It is easy to get cut.

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Old 01-12-2010, 14:31   #8
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Once that's done and I drop it back in, what's the proper technique for under water preventive maintenance?
I do not like to use metal implements on a bronze propeller (my prop is bronze, at least), as steel can scratch the soft bronze. I expect the propeller shape is what the manufacturer wanted it to be, and I'd like to change that as little as possible.

For general cleaning I just use a white or green 3M nylon scrubbing pad from the hardware store. For scraping hard stuff off I use a 1" x 1" square hardwood stick (8" is enough to work with) as a scraper. The hardwood is strong enough to scrape off barnacles yet soft enough to not damage the bronze. The right angle edges of the stick eventually get chewed up and lose a sharp edge, at which point I run the stick through a tablesaw to true up the edges and get them sharp again.

As an aside, to clean the prop while hauled out, running sandpaper over a bronze prop can alter it's shape slightly; if you use a fine bronze wire wheel chucked up in a drill you can clean the propeller without tearing up the metal.
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:36   #9
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A 2 1/2" paint scraper for the prop blades. The scraper also has a 1/2 semi cicle cut out of the side to do the prop shaft. Keep the blade sharp and it makes it easier. I'll then take some #60, wet/dry sandpaper to the blade to get the last of the barnicles off. All done with a mask and snorkel.
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:42   #10
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When we bought the boat, the prop was so bad I used a ball peen hammer and chisel. Once past that part I used a paint scraper, after that was done I used wet/dry sand paper. For regular maint I use a 1.5" metal scraper and red scotchbrite pads.
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:49   #11
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:50   #12
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Do the recommendations change to clean a MaxProp?
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Old 01-12-2010, 14:59   #13
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Do the recommendations change to clean a MaxProp?
I've been cleaning a Martec folding prop for years, I'm about to change over to a MaxProp VP and will continue with the same approach of soft scrubby pad and wooden stick.

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Old 01-12-2010, 15:04   #14
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I like the idea of using a piece of hardwood instead of metal so as not to chip the bronze.
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Old 01-12-2010, 15:17   #15
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I've been cleaning a Martec folding prop for years, I'm about to change over to a MaxProp VP and will continue with the same approach of soft scrubby pad and wooden stick.

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Thanks. Sounds like a safe approach.
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