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Old 30-03-2009, 02:55   #1
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Ideal Toolkit

Hi everyone,
I'm involved in doing the groundwork before I re-enter the sailing fraternity after 25 years away and buy my 12/15 Metre centre cockpit sloop/ketch or whatever. The boat will be either FG, Steel or Ferro, that bit of research is for a bit later.
I would like some suggestions as to what others consider an ideal set of tools for a liveaboard. Some I consider desirable if not necessary are:
Set of sockets and open ended spanners
Hammers, screwdrivers, handsaws and usual hand tools,
A bench pillar drill,
A number of angle grinders and disks
Jigsaw,
Wood chisels
Cold chisels drifts
Small bandsaw,
Circular/table saw,
Bolt croppers,
Multimeter
Dedicated engine tools, spanners, allen keys etc.

Sadly, I won't have room for my tractor, lathe, milling machine or planer.


Any comments would be appreciated!
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Old 30-03-2009, 06:59   #2
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Things nice to have:

Stuffing box wrenches are a bit specialized and not generic.

If you carry extra pulleys don't forget the puller.

LED flashlights and maybe a headlamp too. The tiny cheap $3 LED lights are great.

Ratchet end wrenches are really handy for the most common sizes. They can be dual ended or single sized with an open end on the other end.

I also have a hard plastic end mallet for those times when things need to be beat on repeatedly.

I also like small canvas or nylon zipper bags to store tools based on type such as electrical, plumbing however you like. All sizes are required with extra for hauling groceries. All metal tool boxes rust.

Larger tools can be separated so the overall tool bags are lighter. Soft tool boxes with the rubber bottom that don't slide or scratch are great. Tool belts are less useful as they don't allow you to get into those really tight places. They also shed tools when you hanging upside down inside a locker reaching those inaccessible places where you need to go.

Fishing tackle bins made out of clear soft plastic that won't shatter work well for parts. You can see the part before you open the case and dump all of them on the deck. The small ones are nice for sorting by type as they fit in drawers or in a duffel.

Adding your name to the tools helps retrieve them should you in a moment of insanity loan them out.

Small plastic buckets are handy for bailing small areas in bilges but also helpful for holding small parts as you work on deck or below. Nuts and screws can travel even in the slip as another boat goes by or the neighbor jumps aboard to give you a beer and pitches the deck. This way they all go overboard (or into the bilge) at the same time and don't roll away one at a time.

Larger buckets are turned upside down to make a seat or for hauling things on and off the boat. Things too gross for a trash bag often require a bucket. Consider it a boat wheel barrow. A couple that nest is best. They break and are cheap and invaluable.
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Old 30-03-2009, 09:31   #3
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The trouble is, there is always one tool you won't have.

From your list, it looks like weight is not a problem and you plan some pretty extensive rework.

I will comment on tools I use most often.

Rotozip with right angle attachment. IN ADDITION to the regular bits, get the 1/4" arbor fitting and the carbide tipped cutter for fiberglass from Sears @ $12 each. It's 1/8" with a 1/4" shank. And don't cut wood with it. Very hard to find side cutting tools for fiberglass, but very handy f you have it. The right angle attachment is not as good as a regular right angle grinder. But you hopefully won't need it so much. If you'r really going to carry "A number of angle grinders and disks", forget the right angle adapter.

Large tubing cutter. I saw one about 10" long last week. Much better for cutting stainless tubing (bimini/dodger frame material) than a hack saw or grinder. Mine is tiny, but it will open up to cut 1" tube.

Knipex (German) or Visegrip BUTTON ADJUST pliers. They look like Channel locks, but work very differently and cover a multitude of sins. You gotta try these. You will throw away Cresent wrenches (if you haven't already).

Hammer Head screwdrivers. The shaft goes all the way thru the handle (if you should be so evil as to use it as a chisel) and there's a hex at the end so you can put a wrench on it. That feature gets a lot of use

Ditto on the headlight. I like my Brinkman 3 watt LED. $30

My medical clamp thingys. I have one that is about 12" long and the tiny clamp at the end is the only part that spreads open to fit thru holes and grab stuff. The other one gets more use. It more closely resembles scissors and rachets closed.

Here's a big one.
Stepped drill bit(s). Most of my other bit collection just sits. Costco had them for about $25 I think. I later found them at harbor frieght for $15. My set of 3 bits covers 28 different sizes.

I realize that some of the names won't be familiar to you. But try searching harborfreight.com to see what I'm talking about.
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Old 30-03-2009, 10:02   #4
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Must have tool

A grabber. Not sure of the real name but it looks like a control cable about 2' long with a plunger on the handle end. Push the plunger and three springy wire fingers come out the other end that will retract to grab onto that nut that fell into the bilge under the engine.
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Old 30-03-2009, 10:14   #5
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Locking sockets from Link Tools. If you've ever had a socket fall off while up the mast, hanging overboard, or upside-down in the engine compartment, you'll love 'em.

And the new Makita Li-Ion LXT tools are amazing. My last set before that, Hitachi Ni-Cd, was junk (battery life now down to a couple of minutes after only two years of very light use). The Makita set for the boat is much more robust than anything I have in my shop, even the wired stuff.

Corrosion-X to keep things shiny.

I have an article about some of my favorite boat tools over yonder. (Disclaimer: it has some Amazon affiliate links, but I only recommend things I love and use. Hope that's OK.)

Cheers,
Steve
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Old 30-03-2009, 11:44   #6
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Stuff I use all the time: Channel locks brand name only, tapered hand reamer, misc. files. I am not a fan of battery operated drills, sanders, saws etc.
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Old 30-03-2009, 12:01   #7
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Thanks for the ideas, some of the tools I have never heard of before, I guess that a good router would be worth taking as well. All a bit overkill I know but I prefer belt and braces AND an extra length of rope just in case.
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Old 30-03-2009, 12:22   #8
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By the time you get your boat ready you will know....
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Old 30-03-2009, 12:33   #9
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My tool kit evolved over years. Give it some time and many projects and you will learn what you need and what you don't need. You can never predict everything that you may need in the future but I think you can get pretty close without turning your boat into Home Depot's tool department.
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Old 30-03-2009, 13:42   #10
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way too many.

[quote=bg9208;269664] I guess that a good router would be worth taking as well. quote]

I had a router. Gave it away The Rotozip does a better job getting into tight corners. Very powerful and versatle. I also brought a 12 volt dremel to get into even tighter corners. Haven't used it yet.

The Knipex pliers makes the Channel Locks seem primitive IMO.
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Old 30-03-2009, 15:15   #11
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My most important tool is the internet conection with Cruisers Forum where I can ask what bolt to screw in and what nut is holding the spanner.


So far we are still afloat


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Old 30-03-2009, 15:43   #12
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I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a Dremel tool. The most common bit for me is the fiberglass cutoff wheel. Short work of cutting anchor chain, etc. I also have and use the plunge router attachment and the miniature router table.

I'd also add to the list a small butane torch, and a remote IR temperature sensor. The latter saved a lot of time and money when I was able to determine that the engine was NOT overheating but the gage was defective. I bought one right after watching a guy tear down his engine cooling system only to find that his temp sensor was shot. By the way the butane can be used for helping to free frozen bolts, soldering, melting ends of nylon line, or creme brulle'.

Also to the list, a few small mirrors on extendable shafts. Hand impact wrench, a set of easy outs for buggered up screws as well as the special sockets for removing rounded up nuts. A can of PB Blaster would not be amiss either. A good set of allen wrenches both english and metric, ratchet wire terminal crimps, and a battery cable crimper would round out my suggestions.
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Old 30-03-2009, 16:03   #13
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[quote=cabo_sailor;269766]I'm surprised that no one has mentioned a Dremel tool. quote]

I thought I just did.
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Old 30-03-2009, 16:13   #14
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Speaking of temperature (I use a Fluke non-contact IR temp sensor - agree with Cabo!), a heat gun is way handy for heat-shrink (much nicer to it than open flame), softening coatings, unsticking stuck things, sticking unstuck things, nudging hot-glued items, fixing leaky stinky holding-tank spinwelds done by sloppy plumbing contractors, and testing things for temp stress. Oh, and a hot glue gun too.

I carry two heat guns... a standard shop electric one (I know, extravagant), and a little Ultratorch butane one.

Steve
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Old 30-03-2009, 16:48   #15
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More suggestions...

Some more suggestions:-

Power tools
2000+W Generator (Honda?)
Long electric planer
Second the small Lithium screwdriver
Mains powered electric screwdriver (my batteries are always flat...)
Electric heat gun
Smallest available sliding compound mitre saw with a fine toothed blade
Belt sander


Power tool accessories
Set of hole saws (most dangerous tool on the boat...)
Set of good spade bits (better than a router)
Spare chuck keys
Selection of suitable jigsaw blades (How, I don't know, I always seem to buy the wrong ones-maybe none of them work properly?)
Some way of sharpening drills without sharpening fingers
Fine tooth circular saw blade for cutting plywood

Hand tools
Butane torch (for when heat is really needed!)
Small chain block
Coarse keyhole saw for cutting in place insulation
Selection of chisels (1/4" - 1 1/4"?)

Materials and consumables
Thin abrasive cut off blades for angle grinder (some work better than others. Buy where the tradies shop)
Good quality hand sanding pads with a selection of good quality abrasive paper (40/80/120/240 grit).
Huge number of cheap brushes
10 litres of generic epoxy/cotton fibres/microballoons/solvent with measuring cups/syringes.
Large number of plastic and steel spatulas/scrapers
Long sleeve disposable gloves
Polyurethane mastic
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