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Old 11-06-2008, 08:37   #1
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Drawers - keeping them closed?

How do you keep your drawers closed at sea?

OK I am talking about athwartships drawers especially and methods of keeping them locked when rolling downwind. The question arises as I am currently fitting quite a few drawers whereas previously I had very few and just used a small plastic clip that rotated over the front of the drawer. I reckon a lot of folk here have a better arrangement .
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Old 11-06-2008, 08:55   #2
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A Finger Latch, accessible thru' a hole in the drawer face is a common solution.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:40   #3
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I have these finger latches on my cabinets. I call them finger breakers. There are new models now that have push buttons that perform the same function. These are much better although more expensive. Another option with a drawer is to have an indentation on the bottom of the slide of the drawer. This indentation catches on a piece of wood and stops the drawer from being pulled out. In order to open the drawer you need to pull up and out on the drawer. This works well in pretty heavy rolling conditions that I recently experienced off the Oregon coast but it is not a solid connection in the case of a roll over.
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Old 11-06-2008, 09:42   #4
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I use push-button latches on my drawers. A bit expensive but very slick. On my old boat I used eyebolts for the pulls and just ran a dowel through them that also ran through eyebolts in the cabinet face.

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Old 11-06-2008, 09:52   #5
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I've met some nice drawers that simply have to be lifted slightly before they can be opened. the weight of their contents keeps them down, so they can't rise up (1/4" or less) enough to slide open. I suppose that's done by putting a small lip and indent on the slide or track, should be easy to fashion in wood or with an add-on of some kind.
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Old 11-06-2008, 10:45   #6
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Wotname, cupboard/drawer latches are one of many examples of items that have really gotten shoddy in modern boats due to cost cutting in ways builders believe will go unnoticed.
I have some really good button latches on my little dutch boat. I also have some lift-to-open drawers but they can open (even loaded) when I'm going downwind gunnel to gunnel. I put 2 small fairlead eyes centered above and underneath the drawers and tie a light line between them when its too rolly; if one ever slid loose all the way and dropped, (never actually happened), I worried it could injure my little doggie crew below. Its a bit of a drag if you need something in the drawer, (have to untie the line), but really only takes a moment.
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:08   #7
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I've just been pondering this today, now that a 2-foot square, 6.5-inch deep drawer under the salon table is full of rolled tool bags, socket set, and other steel things. I've added a thicker plywood floor, but the drawer is still held shut with a tiny little plastic catch... and it could become a cluster bomb if it gets loose in heavy seas.

I've considered slide bolts (ick) and rubber draw latches (not so bad, but meant for use in the other axis, as holding a lid down). I do like pop-out knob latches for light cabinet doors, but with a load of tools riding on ball bearing slides I'm not sure I trust them. I'm tempted by a double remote-actuation cable latch, with the pins engaging striker plates hidden on both sides of the drawer like the one pictured below (from the McMaster Carr catalog; put "latch" in the search box for a whole range of choices)...

The drawer front is in a narrow walkway, so any projections are potential ankle-slicers.

I'll post the solution once it's tested!

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 11-06-2008, 13:47   #8
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Hellosailors' comment is a good suggestion for most cases. In the event of nasty weather, where the boat may be leaping about, the inclusion of a small turnpeg at the top,center above the drawer ensures against any chance of an accidental opening. You don't want the solution to be so complicated or time consuming that its utility is compromised for everyday use.
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Old 11-06-2008, 13:49   #9
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We installed those childproof door latches on Dulcinea our Caliber 47LRC. After many miles at sea and many rough passages over several years, the cheap little plastic things are still holding up great and still holding drawers and doors closed!
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Old 11-06-2008, 14:34   #10
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Shiva has a device similar to what Roy M shows. it's a small ramp just behind the drawer face. When you close the drawer the ramp pushes the front front up (the ramp) and then the ramp ends and there is a small piece of wood which locks the drawer between the face and the ramp. To OPEN the drawer you must lift it up slightly to free it. The catch part is rather shallow, perhaps 3/16" but enough to prevent the drawer from opening unless an upward force is applied.

Having said all the above, if your boat is getting severely tossed about - all bets are off.
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:29   #11
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Thanks for the input everyone. I have used those finger latches on cabinets before but not on drawers - never really liked them but they worked. Sounds like the most common solution is the "lift up to open" concept with maybe a secondary securing method for the rougher conditions. Probably will be the way I will go.
Thanks again
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Old 12-06-2008, 05:47   #12
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WOW perfect timing....


Roy M just genius...that really is the draw solution. I have been pondering this for three years but my launch is getting closer and I have all manner of hold down problems. Can we please extend this to DOOR CLOSERS.....FLOOR HOLD DOWNS ....and BUNK BASE HOLD DOWNS.....
Simple and cheap solutions that will withstand a severe contents attack. Solutions that defy gravity.
It is easy to keep things in place under normal situations just have small lips and sloping shelves. I need more. Slack catches are a rolly anchorages song.......crik slapa banga bamd da crik crak crak....clik .......
crik slapa banga bamd da crik crak crak....clik ...crik slapa banga bamd da crik crak crak....clik ......

thems that have experienced it are now quietly nodding their heads !

For me preferably something that I can make easily. I have seen commercial solutions but to be blunt I would rather buy a mainsail...

cheers
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:32   #13
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We have the metal finger latches on the drawers, with stops which prevent drawer from launching across the cabin when it slams open. Most of our doors came with the clickety-clack latches to hold them open, and we stuff a rolled-up piece of towel behind them to keep them quiet. On the head doors, I added some double-hinged door hooks (just looked, and WMP does not carry them) to hold them open, and they are pretty quiet, but expensive. I have drilled and countersunk the floorboards for flat-head screws, which have only been put in once, (on our first passage), but are there I get nervous about being knocked down or rolled.
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Old 12-06-2008, 06:46   #14
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Coops,

Hmm... have to agree with the hijack .

Bunk hold downs - best held down with a body holding a tinnie - IMO. In heavier weather, best to use another friendly body to help out - not suitable for single handers.

Floor hold downs (technicaly - cabin sole). Depends on how often you need to lift the sole. In my case, not often as nothing is stowed below the sole - not enough room. Therefore I plan to use something simple like hex headed SS coach screws recessed into the sole surface with the thread part screwed into an epoxy plug. I will experiment with coating the thread with silicon grease (as a release agent) and sticking it in partially cured epoxy "bog". Internal hex headed bolt would look better! BTW, I have other solutions for cleaning the bilge strum pickups without lifting the sole!

For quick access some sort SS Dzus fasteners would do the trick - I haven't researched them much but have seen a few SS one's around. Maybe try http://www.southco.com/product/default.aspx?hid=7337 but not that cheap.

I would love to hear of DIY quick access solutions for soles.
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Old 12-06-2008, 07:14   #15
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I have put a lot of thought into keeping everything in the lockers and drawers on my under-construction boat. A couple things come to mind:

1. I want the the drawer/lid to stay closed even in a roll-over.
2. I want whatever ensures #1 to always be working, since bad weather can come up quite quickly, leaving no time to screw the floorboards down or put the bars in place or whatever.
3. I want to be able to open the drawer/lid easily and quickly even when it is securely latched.

For hinged locker lids, I have settled on stainless latches similar to the ones on overhead airplane bins. Southco has a nice selection.
For drawers, a finger hole in the front with a vertically sliding, spring-loaded locking bar inside the front of the drawer that engages a slot in the case under the drawer. The locking bar has a finger hole in it that is slightly lower that the one in the drawer front when latched. Sorry no picture, but to open you use the natural motion of putting your finger in the drawer-front hole and lifting up on the latch bar and pulling out on the drawer. The lifting up slides the locking bar up out of the slot in the case. I am making these myself as they are not commercially available. The description here is more complicated than the actual latch. The only disadvantage is that you need to lift the latch to close the drawer.
For lids under berths I will use a similar system to the drawer fronts.

I agree with the comment about the usual latches inside the finger hole being dangerous. They are often oriented so that your finger needs to be "backwards" in the hole as you open the lid; I imagine you could break your finger in rough weather if you lost your balance at the wrong time.
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