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Old 08-02-2010, 17:23   #1
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Frozen Hardware, or Stubborn Shackles

So, our little hole in the water has some sail/hardware issues. I have done my due diligence here and at other sites and have not been able to suss up the 411 on corrosion removal and returning frozen shackles to working order. Obviously a paste cleaner will make them look better ( they are blue green right now) but won't allow me to open or close them.

Currently all of our sails have been stored for some unknown (but presumably too long) period of time with the herdware on them. SO all the shackles along the luff are frozen onto the grommet holes. A very bad thing.

I would like to somehow clean and uncorrode and lubricate the shackles without damaging the sails.

If this info is elsewhere please point me there, if not, and wise suggestions (other than replacing them, because I still have to open them to get them off with out damaging the sail. Unless I left them on and double hanked the sail I guess...)

Cause really, while you can fly a headsail with out them, when they are only secured at the top and bottom of the Jib they are REALLY hard to take down... beyond all the other obvious problems...


ain't what ya do, it's the way that ya do it...
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Old 08-02-2010, 17:45   #2
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Hi Sarafina:

First question that I have is the terminology. Are they hanks or shackles. I am leaning towards hanks b/c you say it is on the jib. If that is correct than the hanks are frozen. Not an uncommon problem. You may have to replace them. The hanks that I used at the sail loft were held on to the grommets by a flexible brass finger. It is not flexible in the sense that you can move it with your fingers but if you hit it with a mallet it would close the finger arouund the grommet. First thing I would do is to soak them as best I could with a penetrating oil. WD 40 may work but it is better to get a real penetrating oil. Be careful not to get too much on the sailby surrounding the sail with a rag as you apply the penetrating oil. From there add a little more penetrating oil. Then have a cocktail. A tequila sunrise made with fresh squeezed orange juice and only enough grenadine for color ( Like the ones I had in La Paz last week) is a very good choice for this part of the process. From there Cook a nice dinner perhaps some seafood a nice Dorado with arroz y frijoles. (Again like I had in La Paz for 70 pesos) another Tequila Sunrise or a glass of wine with dinner is very helpful in the process. Then after a nice evening get up in the morning and check to see if the hanks are still frozen. If so take a pair of pliers and try to turn the knobs on the hanks. If you can't open the hanks by then try more penetrating oil. Cook yourself a nice breakfast and then try again. eventually you will be able to open the hanks. The other option is to grab the knobs of the hanks and pull on them till they open with a pair of pliers. This can leave sharp edges on the hanks so the patient penetrating oil method is preferable. You can also apply a small amount of heat with a lighter or a butane torch to the hanks to help them open. If you do have to replace them b/c the springs have corroded on the inside you can purchase the parts from Sailrite Swedish Snap #2 Wire to 7/16" the finger can be pried open with a large screwdriver to replace the hanks. Make sure that all the hanks face the same way before closing them (don't ask me how I know this). Not a hard project. BTW you can probably purchase hanks from a local sailmaker if you need the parts quicker than you can get them from Sailrite.

Fair Winds,


Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
Joseph Conrad
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Old 08-02-2010, 18:16   #3
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Try this trick before replacing the piston hanks.

Electrolytic Rust Removal aka Magic

If the parts inside are wasted away because of corrosion you'll be buying replacements anyway, but I've used electrolytic cleaning to bring back some things assumed to be dead. Hey, it's an experiment!

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Old 08-02-2010, 18:39   #4
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Penetrating oil like PB blaster, time, and some tapping with a hammer is usually best. Be very careful with penetrating oil near the sail fabric. When I have a badly frozen fastener, I hit it with penetrating oil once a day for several days and usually it is pretty easy to get working again at that point.

Good luck.
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Old 08-02-2010, 19:22   #5
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I think Charlie's advice is spot on.
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Old 08-02-2010, 20:58   #6
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Yes, Charlie is right. I had the best results using CorrosionX which worked in minutes. Have lots of rags to catch all that green muck running off them. This product works so well/quick that you can do one by one which prevents a lot of mess.

I never tried to take one off and put it back on later. Not sure if that finger will work-harden or get weak otherwise. But if you take them off, you can submerge them in CorrosionX or PB blaster.

About the position of the hanks: if you're right handed, you would want the opening on the port-side.

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Old 08-02-2010, 21:28   #7
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G'Day all,

As to re-using "finger" type hanks... I have in times of need re-used them after removal by carefully annealing the metal at the base of the finger. To do this, put alayer of carbon black on tehe affected area. This can be done with a candle or kero lamp turned up too high. Then heat the area at the base of the finger just until the carbon burns off. Then let the hank cool slowly. In my experience, about 80% of them will then be able to be re-crimped (hammered, whatever you wanna call it) successfully.

Kinda mickymouse, but it works when you can't get new ones for some reason (distance, poverty, whatever).


Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Broken Bay, NSW, Oz

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