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Old 20-07-2019, 01:22   #1
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Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

Hi all,
It’s winter here in New Zealand and we e decided to go about some maintenance. Sails are getting restitched and we’ve removed some deck hardware and jib and main sheets.
What kind of servicing is recommended with the blocks. Most are single bearing type. Can pins be replaced where worn? Do I pull them apart clean them up and lube them with something.
I’ve been told to clean the dirty sheets by putting them inside a pillowcase and running them through a couple of cycles in the washing machine... does this sound like the right advice.

Thanks
Mal
Christchurch
NZ
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Old 20-07-2019, 04:00   #2
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

A mesh laundry bag (often used for “delicates”) might be better, than a pillow case, for washing sheets.
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Old 20-07-2019, 05:00   #3
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

Don't put loose rope in a washing machine - I've seen what happens when you do that, and it is not pretty.

There are only a few ways of assembling a block or any simple machine. If you are concerned about them beyond the level of squirting in lubricant, disassemble them, check for worn out parts, clean, lube, and reassemble. It will not be difficult. Winches are a bit more complicated, with e-rings to be prised out and gears, but the same holds true and you can do it. If in doubt, go on line and get an "exploded" parts diagram, so that you don't assemble in the wrong order. Photos as you disassemble also help.
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Old 20-07-2019, 06:55   #4
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Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

I tried the mesh bag once with three strand anchor line for the dinghy.
Won’t do that again, for braided it may be fine, but three strand unravels.
I know the discussion wasn’t about three strand, just thought I would bring that up.
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Old 20-07-2019, 11:29   #5
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

We have a front loading (drum) washer and we put our hanked halyards in it with a touch of fabric softener, cold wash cycle. I think it is important to get the salt out of lines, especially sheets and guys that have been lying on deck.

Remove and inspect the halyards for chaffing or wear, especially at the head and where the sheet stoppers contact them. I have had some luck doing and end for end swap on core-dependent (hi-tech) halyards but I would not try it with polyester double braid. If the shackle end of a double braid halyard is worn cut off the worn end and attach the shackle with an anchor knot with the tail whipped to the main line for a short distance.

A good fresh water rinse is all the roller beating blocks need. Do the same for the pin bearing blocks with just a drop of lithium lube if you can access the bearings. Any pin bearing block that does not turn freely needs to be repaired or replaced.
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Old 20-07-2019, 12:11   #6
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

We've washed double braid in mesh bags in the laundry for years. Before that i would hand wash in a tub. Some have stated machine washing will fatigue the line but dirt and salt also cause wear. Machine washing can give a fuzzy appearance to winch chafed areas though the wear is obviously from the winch.
For the blocks, if they can be easily removed we sumbmerse in a dishsoap solution and agitate. If not then we spray with a garden sprayer. For lube of pins I use Harken one drop or similar McLube product. There are also dry lube/ dry wax products available. I don't lube ball bearing style for concern of attracting dirt.
On some Non Critical blocks over the years I have drilled out the riveted bearing pins and replaced with clevis pins. This allowed replacement of some sheaves.

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Old 20-07-2019, 13:52   #7
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

nzmal, if you have access to a big tub, like people put canned or bottled beverages in in ice at parties in summer, or a bath tub, soak the lines a few hours with a tiny bit of detergent, then rinse. No need to locate a wash machine. Remember the live outdoors anyway, most damage comes from chafe (sheet stoppers, winches) and UV exposure. If they have any oil borne stains, try waterless hand cleaner on those areas, first, or even spray de-greaser.

Jim has some molybdenum sulfide grease that he uses on the pins, after cleaning them up first. Hope none of yours are frozen up, they're more work, but usually salvageable by heating and driving out the pin, and cleaning up the axle with a drill bit, just by hand.

Ann
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Old 26-07-2019, 16:19   #8
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

I recently washed my jib sheet in the bath. seemed to work quite well. Bit of ordinary washing powder, fair bit of hand agitation then a good hose down.
I agree with others - wouldnt put it in a mashing (hmm, nice freudian slip; I meant Washing...) machine.
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Old 26-07-2019, 17:19   #9
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

I just chuck the lines in the front loader and do them on a normal wash. Really old ones will go hairy and sometimes the core will poke out of the cover. It’s time for it to stop being a sheet or halyard or reefing line if this happens. Good condition lines will be fine.

Sure, if you put three at a time in the machine they’ll get a bit tangled, but it’s just a couple of minutes to sort them.

PS are you at the marina? Feel free to pm me if you want a chat or a coffee sometime.
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Old 01-10-2019, 01:23   #10
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Re: Servicing blocks and cleaning sheets

Ok just thought I'd belatedly update what I ended up doing.
I took the lines home and soaked them in the tub for a while then scrubbed the greener areas with a little washing powder.
I still wasn't happy so I Daisy chained the line and put it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle and it came out great. The lines had already had a bit of wear but still have plenty of life in them and looked fine.
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