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Old 04-04-2011, 12:04   #1
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PVC Chain Pipe

Hello:

This may be a bad idea but I wonder if anyone has considered/tried using PVC pipe to direct anchor chain to the chain locker from a windlass?

There are are a number of obvious concerns: abrasion and striking resistance (i.e. when the chain runs through the pipe or strikes the pipe in rough weather) and how it would respond to the extremes in temperature.

However, on the positive side, it is very affordable, easy to work with, rust and rot proof and would probably be a bit quieter than a steel pipe.

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:10   #2
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Re: PVC CHAIN PIPE

Quote:
Originally Posted by ADMPRTR View Post
Hello:

This may be a bad idea but I wonder if anyone has considered/tried using PVC pipe to direct anchor chain to the chain locker from a windlass?

There are are a number of obvious concerns: abrasion and striking resistance (i.e. when the chain runs through the pipe or strikes the pipe in rough weather) and how it would respond to the extremes in temperature.

However, on the positive side, it is very affordable, easy to work with, rust and rot proof and would probably be a bit quieter than a steel pipe.

Any thoughts?
I made one that diverted the chain into the locker at 45 degrees. It stood up well without any of undo sign of wear and tear. I figured if it did break it would be easy to fix but never had a problem. I am working on a similar situation on my new boat. You can always use schedule 80 if you want more strength but I don't see the need unless you already have it.

Jim
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Old 04-04-2011, 12:40   #3
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Re: PVC CHAIN PIPE

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I made one that diverted the chain into the locker at 45 degrees. It stood up well without any of undo sign of wear and tear. I figured if it did break it would be easy to fix but never had a problem. I am working on a similar situation on my new boat. You can always use schedule 80 if you want more strength but I don't see the need unless you already have it.

Jim
Thanks Jim.

I have to admit that one of the things that appeals to me about this solution is that it is considerably less expensive and easier to work than going with a "proper" steel pipe but then I feel guilty for cheaping out on it. It is good to know that idea has potential. How far does your chain drop? I think in my case it is about 5 feet or so.

Andrew
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Old 04-04-2011, 13:58   #4
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

Yep. Seen it on boats. You can also build one in grp.

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Old 04-04-2011, 14:08   #5
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Re: PVC CHAIN PIPE

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Thanks Jim.

I have to admit that one of the things that appeals to me about this solution is that it is considerably less expensive and easier to work than going with a "proper" steel pipe but then I feel guilty for cheaping out on it. It is good to know that idea has potential. How far does your chain drop? I think in my case it is about 5 feet or so.

Andrew
The tube was about 2-3 ft long but the entire drop only 4-5 ft or so. The most important part is what is actually bracing the pipe and holding it in place. I glassed a wooden brace in and rested/mounted the pipe on that to give it some rigidity.

Jim
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Old 04-04-2011, 16:35   #6
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

Why not? I can't really think of a downside, except that it's usually grey.
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Old 04-04-2011, 17:21   #7
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

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Originally Posted by ADMPRTR View Post
Hello:

This may be a bad idea but I wonder if anyone has considered/tried using PVC pipe to direct anchor chain to the chain locker from a windlass?
I have one.

It has one 45 degree elbow to lead the chain aft and down - from deck it drops just below the windless (about 30cm), turns 45 degrees, and then runs back about a meter. It has been in service for 12 years continuous live aboard. Has help up pretty well. After a half dozen years, the chain wore a groove thru the pipe at the at the bottom lip where the chain runs out of the pipe. I filled the groove with thickened epoxy and put a nice smooth fiberglass/epoxy patch over that lip edge and that has not worn at all.
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Old 04-04-2011, 17:43   #8
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

I think PVC would work great, but it seems to be more brittle than ABS. I've accidentally broken small PVC and it seems to shatter. A plumber told me that PVC is hard plastic to carry pressure and ABS is for plumbing drains so it is softer. At my local store they have nice long radius ABS elbows, but I've only seen short radius in PVC. Maybe plastic conduit would be a good choice since conduit elbows are very long radius. just a thought...
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Old 04-04-2011, 17:50   #9
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

Love PVC. I made a table out of the PVC "lumber". It is holding up great.
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Old 04-04-2011, 17:52   #10
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

You should feel no guilt! Both ABS and PVC would be easier on the chain galvanizing over the years, compared to a steel pipe. Properly installed, I would rate it more "seamanlike" than steel pipe.
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Old 04-04-2011, 22:44   #11
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

Yep, pretty much standard for do it yourselfers.
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Old 04-04-2011, 23:06   #12
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

We did it with a 45 degree elbow off a flange below the deck at the windlass. Believe I used 3" PVC pipe to run the 3/8" chain. The final drop into the chain locker was not deep enough so had to hand feed the last 50' or so of chain. Not the fault of the PVC but my design. Worked for anchoring 24/7 for more than a year cruising SoPac. If you are worried about wear, use the gray Schedule 80 pipe. Sched 80 is has about twice the wall thickness of the white Sched. 40 which is the most common type.
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Old 05-04-2011, 00:18   #13
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

Once saw a neat idea on a 30 something monohull (without a windlass). The owner had used a bronze thru hull large enough to accept the chain rode. There was a cork in the thru hull with a line reeved through the cork... a loop on the deck side, and a few feet of the same line going down into the chain locker (directly beneath) and tied on the last chain link for retrieval purposes. The thru hull looked good and evidently had taken years of wear (still looked new). PVC would be less expensive, but perhaps appear a bit more 'industrial'?

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Old 05-04-2011, 03:51   #14
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

The coefficient of friction will be lower for steel chain on PVC pipe, than on steel pipe.
Clean metals in wet air ≈ 0.5 - 2.0
Metals and ceramics on polymers (PE, PTFE, PVC) ≈ 0.04 - 0.5
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:29   #15
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Re: PVC Chain Pipe

I had considered ABS but read that PVC was more durable although PVC being more brittle could be an issue. Either way, I think that is the solution I will go for as it solves a number of problems of where and how to store my new chain.

Anyway, thank you all for your responses!

Andrew
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