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Old 31-03-2010, 15:52   #1
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What Hand Tools to Have Aboard ?

Hi all -
We're getting closer to buying our Gemini and moving aboard. We've sold the house, the furniture, and most of our "stuff" - Now I'm trying to pare down my collection of hand tools and figure out what to sell and what to bring aboard.


So what are the basics to keep (for maintenance and repairs - not for a full on engine or drive leg rebuild)?

As of right now my new tool kit consists of an assortment including pliers (regular and needlenose), wire cutters, files, allen wrenches, wire stripper, crimper, hacksaw, utility knife, putty knives/scrapers, hammer and mallet(s), soldering iron, etc.

What I'm not sure about:
  • Screwdrivers - Keep a set of standard and phillips in 3 sizes) or get rid of all of them and buy a combo driver with removeable bits?
  • Ratchets / Sockets - I have 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive and a wide variety of sockets from 1" down (SAE and metric). Do I need regular and deep, 6 and 12 point sockets in each size or can I get away with a general set of standard depth 12 pointers?
  • Torque wrenches - Should I keep my 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4"? Is there any need for a torque wrench aboard outside of engine/drive work?
  • Box/open end wrenches - SAE and metric: How big and how much of a size range?
  • Adjustable wrenches - 1 or 2, or a full set of 4 ranging from 12" to 6"?
  • Vice grips and Channel locks - One medium size or S, M, and L?
  • Any need for torx and star drivers?
It's tough moving from a big rolling toolbox set with multiple drawers to a 22" plastic box with tray and a canvas rigger bag, but I'm getting closer and appreciate any input/advice...
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Old 31-03-2010, 15:59   #2
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You've barely described a basic tool kit for a cruiser.
Keep all of them.
After all, how much space/weight could you save?
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Old 31-03-2010, 16:26   #3
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Originally Posted by DWJensen View Post
Hi all -


As of right now my new tool kit consists of an assortment including pliers (regular and needlenose), wire cutters, files, allen wrenches, wire stripper, crimper Make sure its a 'rachet crimper' and not an 'automotive crimper', hacksaw, utility knife, putty knives/scrapers, hammer and mallet(s), soldering iron, etc.

What I'm not sure about:
  • Screwdrivers - Keep a set of standard and phillips in 3 sizes) or get rid of all of them and buy a combo driver with removable bits? Keep the regular screw drivers plus a combo driver that can take the odd bits (torx etc)
  • Ratchets / Sockets - I have 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2" drive and a wide variety of sockets from 1" down (SAE and metric). Do I need regular and deep, 6 and 12 point sockets in each size or can I get away with a general set of standard depth 12 pointers? A standard set will do the job, except I need one deep socket to crank the main shaft nut on the engine (to turn it by hand)
  • Torque wrenches - Should I keep my 1/2", 3/8", and 1/4"? Is there any need for a torque wrench aboard outside of engine/drive work? You really don't need a torque wrench. I occasionally use one when I change my injectors but usually do it just by feel. One is useful if you have to take the head off, but (hopefully) that's will not be very often and you can borrow one
  • Box/open end wrenches - SAE and metric: How big and how much of a size range? I need box ends only for the injectors, and the harken bat car tension adjusters
  • Adjustable wrenches - 1 or 2, or a full set of 4 ranging from 12" to 6"? Just one or two
  • Vice grips and Channel locks - One medium size or S, M, and L? These are generally useful, S, M & L.
  • Any need for torx and star drivers? I have a bag of all sorts of odd bits. It does not take much space - I ended up with some Robertson (square but) screws from work done in Canada and Torx are in some electronics.


It is tough moving from a shop, and slimming down to one or two tool kits. You can do amazing things with a general simple kit, and will learn over time what special stuff is useful on your particular boat.

I happen to use a tap and die set a lot.
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:08   #4
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Compound action cutters for cutting the rig away. Not a hacksaw.

On this boat I just got, apparently you need 6 five-eighths sockets and no 9/16...

A really big screwdriver, or equivalent socket bit, for those really big winch and toerail screws.
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:10   #5
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I think I read it in Practical Sailor but Evans has a very good article on keeping a small toolkit handy with all the regularly used tools in it. Picasa Web Albums - mckenzie.charlie - Tool Bag Picasa Web Albums - mckenzie.charlie - Tool Bag Picasa Web Albums - mckenzie.charlie - Bag of Tricks
I think that there are a couple of things that I use when working on an engine in a confined area are the swivel attachments for sockets and a breaker bar. Another thing that I often find a need for is a lever. I keep a 24" long crowbar for that purpose.
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:25   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DWJensen View Post
Hi all -
We're getting closer to buying our Gemini and moving aboard. We've sold the house, the furniture, and most of our "stuff" - Now I'm trying to pare down my collection of hand tools and figure out what to sell and what to bring aboard.


So what are the basics to keep (for maintenance and repairs - not for a full on engine or drive leg rebuild)?
What I'm not sure about:[/LEFT]
[*]
Box/open end wrenches - SAE and metric: How big and how much of a size range?
[*]
Vice grips and Channel locks - One medium size or S, M, and L?
[*]
Any need for torx and star drivers?
[/LIST]
It's tough moving from a big rolling toolbox set with multiple drawers to a 22" plastic box with tray and a canvas rigger bag, but I'm getting closer and appreciate any input/advice...
Hi, The make and manufacturer of the engine/s will often determine which sizes of open and ring wrenches (spanners) one needs most often - and because of some guy named Sod - spanners only bounce once before joining Neptune - spares are necessary.On all Japanese engines and those that are made by China for other companies, the following metric sizes are the most commonly used :- 7 & 8 mm for hose clamp nuts; 10 mm for the great majority of nuts and bolts ; then 12,14, 17 and 19mm elsewhere on the engine. The photo of just 2 spanner design shapes are those that are in most common use. The most used hand tool on a boat is probably a no#6 long nose vice grip - remarkably useful - the 8 " also worth investing in.
Power tools ???
Not to forget to clean and dry tools after use - then protect from corrosive
environment with some thing like WD 40 - a more economical protective substance and which is free, is a wipe down with used cooking oil. otherwise mix new cooking oil with a little natural turps/linseed oil - this will keep rust at bay)
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:31   #7
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I took some photos of mine a while ago:

Rebel Heart - The boat and her crew - Eric's Blog - A look inside Eric's*toolbag

Rebel Heart - The boat and her crew - Pictures - Tools & Repair*Items

sail repair stuff:

Rebel Heart - The boat and her crew - Eric's Blog - sail repair toolbag*contents
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:44   #8
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One favorite tool of mine is the Klein 10 way screwdriver. Another I ended up needing is a gear puller - separator set (raw water pump rebuild).
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Old 31-03-2010, 18:45   #9
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I only use 6 point deep sockets you will never need the others. you will almost never need 1/2" drive sockets.

torque wrenches will rust before you use them.

Add wire stripper, wire cutters and crimp tool

1/2" and 3/4" wood chisel (sharp)

larger medium and small adjustable wrenches

large, and I mean the biggest pair you can find channel locks

razor knife

And last but not least a Hammer! one big and one small

And don't forget the band aids

Fair winds
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Old 31-03-2010, 19:29   #10
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I don't care what you take, as soon as you start working on something you will need something you do not have. "Problems are like a box of chocolets, you never know what is going to happen next". If you have a garage full of tools you will still need something you don't have or you loaned out. If you have machinery, you need tools. rigging? differant tools. Running gear? None of the tools you have willl do the job. Cutlass bearing removal tool, prop pullers, gear pullers, hand wrenches, and no matter what is in your tool inventory you will always need something you don't have.

I was removing the exhaust manifolds, The clearance is to close for a long 6 point socket, I need a short one. Next bolt, I need a boxend wrench, Then a grinder and stud puller to remove a broken bolt. It goes on and on. So, just take whatever you have. Water tight box. Ammo cans from an Army Surplus is great for keeping tools dry. They even come in plastic versions now. Okay, so you can put a head on without a torque wrench out next to some little island in the middle of nowhere. Would you want to bet your life on the bolts being tight without over tightening them? Snap a mast? Oooh, that brings up a whole nuther set of tools. Bang a hole in the hull? Here we go again. Another whole set of tools not used for anything else.

Quit worrying, take what you have. Someone out there will have what you don't have. I just took a compression tester and set of vacuum gauges to a fellow down the dock. Boaters are a differant breed. We help out each other. You don't pay back a favor or help. You pass it on to the next person who needs help.

The easiest way is to take whatever you have and get what you don't have from another boater. There are guys like me out there who have a tool inventory that would envy a Snap-On tool truck. Go have fun, quit worrying..
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Old 31-03-2010, 19:38   #11
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I happen to use a tap and die set a lot.
Maybe if you used a torque wrench you wouldn't need the tap and die set
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Old 31-03-2010, 19:43   #12
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Pry Bars with handles/Lady Slippers/Oil Filter wrenches(that fit). smooth jawed wrenches (they look like a pipe wrench I don't know the official name but I get mine at flea markets) for stuffing box nuts, Long handle 1/2 inch and 3/8 in breaker bar

What ever you do do NOT BUY CHEAP TOOLS FROM CHINA....your knuckles will thank you....do not buy anything from a marine supply place that looks like a pickle fork and calls itself a packing nut wrench.

If you are handy with a sewing machine, make your own tool wrap/pouch

carry an extra 1/2 9/16 and 10 12 13 14 metric wrench.

Did I say NOT TO BUY CHEAP CHINESE CRAP?
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Old 31-03-2010, 20:23   #13
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Don't forget an oil filter wrench and whatever type of fuel filter wrench is appropriate. You should also have an impeller puller for the raw water pump.

I keep torque wrenches on board. A lot of stainless bolts tend to be screwed into hunks of aluminum on a boat, especially on outboard motors on dinks. It's really easy to over torque the bolt and strip the aluminum, hense the earlier reference to getting a lot of use out of a tap and die set. Also galvanic corrosion eats the aluminum when these two metals are mixed with saltwater, so I keep the tap and die set on board as well. I also keep a set of very short screwdrivers and even have a couple of ratcheting 90 degree ones with changeable tips. It id amazing to me how manufacturers can get some of these screws into the tightest places.

I would add a hack saw and spare blades.

I have a set of ratcheting flex head box end wrenches in both metric and SAE. There have been many occasions when these things worked great. Mich easier than a conventional box end wrench.

My socket set has a full range of metric and SAEs in both 12 and 6 points. I have had situations where I didn't have enough swing to get a 6 point on and other cases when I rounded the points with a 12 point and had to use the 6 point to get the bolt out or nut off.
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Old 31-03-2010, 21:09   #14
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Leaving home without...

In some ways it might be easier to work out what not to take. I seem to remember one cruiser who even took a lathe. I'm going to take my small drill press (do need ballast up front!).

Many small power tools weigh little and so I'm going to bring mine. I don't think they'll be worth much by the time I've finished fitting out anyway.

No mention so far of small screwdrivers. Those "jewelers" kits aren't really much chop, but the next grade up in quality individual units are much better(around the size of "0" and "00" Philips and flat). And good spanners in the larger sizes are invaluable if you have something big to turn.

Why not work out a tool weight budget and see what fits in? Maybe 100Kg?

Mind you this is from one who just ordered a 130amp DC inverter welder and self darkening helmet - can't run it from the generator, I'll have to come in to the wharf.

My excuse is that one of the stanchions broke and the cost of paying someone to come and do it is not much less than buying the gear...
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Old 31-03-2010, 21:50   #15
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I know on my last 3-month cruise, I used the following:

needle nose piers
regular pliers
vice grips
socket set
cresent wrench
many size and length screw drivers - including very small ones and short
allan wrenches
wire snipper
wire stripper/crimper
cordless drill and bits
hammer
sewing tools (sail)
oil pump
fuel filter wrench
small hand saw
box cutter/razor knife
voltmeter
tape measure
good knife blade
brushes
spatula - spreading devices

Not quite tools, but fasteners and sealants sure got used a lot. Rubber/vinyl gloves. Solvents to clean up.

I didn't use on this cruise, but am glad to have a large wire cutter that will cut rigging as well as a hack saw.
Wish I had brought a file/rasp
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