Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Boating yin and yang

We're starting in the happy place today. June Cleaver is baking a fresh apple pie, the Beaver is doing his homework, little Opie Taylor is fishing down at the pond, and the sun is shinning. I have to re-install a VHF antenna, and an older Raystar 120 GPS antenna. Brand new T-top canvas has just been installed, and I had to untie a portion of it to see where the old equipment holes were located. Lo and behold, look at that hole, it's a beauty. Two inches in diameter, and someone took a moment to deburr the edges. How sweet it is, this is the way it's supposed to be done, and my hats off to the builder of this T-top.

Wait a minute, let's bring this pastoral scene to a screeching halt. This is not a good day. June Cleaver has been arrested for prostitution, and is sitting in jail. Little Opie Taylor, and the Beaver are cooking down meth in an old trailer down by the pond, and a tornado warning has just been issued. Where did I put my hockey mask and chainsaw?

After doing an excellent job at the top of this wire pull, look at this crap at the bottom. I'm sure the guy at the factory got his micrometer out, measured the diameter of the wire bundle, and found just the very next size up drill bit to punch this minuscule hole. Afterwards he went to the bar and told everybody he had set a new world record for drilling the smallest possible wire hole ever. His friends probably all bought him a lot of shots, laughed, and congratulated him on his new record.

Well I know the two wires were recently pulled out, so they must have fit, albeit tightly, and there is a special secret trick I use to do this. It is called "Fragrant Grease", and you use it liberally to bribe the hole into letting the wires pass. This goo, has another name that might be more familiar to everybody, and it's called "Tub O' Lithium Grease". It's a versatile, slippery, and waterproof substance that can be used on everything from sail tracks, to keeping your boat's bike chain from rusting out in the salt air. So what should have been a happy day, turns out to be a big messy pain in the keister day. Clean rags are needed to keep the goo away from the new canvas, a roll of paper towels to keep my hands clean, a grocery bag to collect all of the contaminated materials. Okay, it got it done, but "dew neh loh moh" on all boat builders. Why can't they get this right in the first place?


  1. Would it be possible to make that hole bigger without nicking the wires?

  2. Bill, it is, but the pain threshold depends on what actually happened. If the flange at the bottom entry point was closed, then the hole through the aluminum flange is the same diameter as the hole you see, and about the only real option is to cut the wiring, remove the canvas and back pull the wiring, and with a hole saw cut a new hole through the fiberglass, and the aluminum plate. If the flange hole is larger, you can take a small drill bit and punch a series of holes to see what the diameter is, and with a rotozip you can enlarge the hole, albeit slowly and carefully. A piece of tin or the ilk can be bent and slid next to the wires to protect them while cutting. It all begs the question of why the hole was so small in the first place. I think it was just laziness in the first place.


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