Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Idea Drive

I'm always looking for things to investigate, either product reviews or engineering problems.

A few that are in progress.
  • Bucket dust collector. I made a trap for bottom sanding dust that goes between the sander and the shop vac, keeping the filter clean. Also good for pumping liquids.
  • Tall step disease. How boats have more access issues than they need to.
  • Outland hatch covers. I like them.
  • Gaffers tape. Good stuff, outlasts duck tape years vs weeks. 
  • Mooring. Quantitative testing of the effect of spring lines and such.
  • Catnip oil as fly reppellant.
  • Aluminum and zinc anodes. 1-year test starting soon, brackish and fresh.
  • Spill prevention. A few tools to prevent spills while refueling. So far I really like the shaker siphon.
  • Affect of additives on polishing. Some make filtration easier, some make it worse.
  • Stitched eye and thread UV follow-up. I'm going to break samples after 2-years in the sun.
 A few in the thinking stage.
  •  Boot drier. There are commercial systems and home-built.
  • Aluminum treatments (Alodine1201, zinc chromate, TefGel and more. Salt humidity chamber and old mast sections.
  • New Stiletto 27 review. They are going back into production!
  • Kayak review. Trying to get a line on some inflatables.
  • AC installation.
  • Seafurl bearing maintenance.
  • Climbing mast from a climbers perspective. 

Ideas? Questions? I've got too much time on my hands and I need to do something with it.


  1. Can you fit a cyclone in that bucket? Or make it into one?

  2. In fact, you can. The Oneida Air Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator Kit (AXD000004) was my inspiration. $99 through Ace Hardware or cheaper on Amazon.

    I'm not so sure it is needed, though. If the inlet is angled (there is a 90 EL inside my bucket) there is a lot of swirl, and I tested the unit on 4 gallons of cold fine wood stove ash from the ash bin; only a teaspoon made it through to the vacuum, which was not even a shop vac, just a little hand utility vac.

    I have also used it to clean out muddy pits and blackwater. Because the top is a screw-in type, you simply swap a blank lid and it is simple to carry or put in the trunk. Try that with a shop vac! Basically, it makes ANY vac into a sop vac.

  3. Check out the Innova kayaks. We've been using a two-person version of the Swing for a couple of years and are very pleased with its weight, performance, and durability so far.

  4. Hi Drew,

    I know this is an old post, but it was the best fit for my question.

    As a newbie fitting out an old boat, many questions arise and sometimes it's hard to find useful information. Recently I went over the tape box my predecessors left me, many of the tapes over 20 years old and unusable. So I wondered, what would you consider a good set of tapes to have? What to avoid? perhaps that would be worth a posting.

    Here's what I'm starting with:
    Blue masking tape, best in wide and not so wide version.

    Butyl tape for all kinds of fittings

    Teflon tape for all kind of plumbing

    Window isolation tape: My predessor left me a roll of good one. He used it frequently to prevent rattling from
    things that shouldn't matter move but still do. It was also used to make a seal on the fridge cover

    Sail tape: I think it would be useful, but which one?

    Duct tape: I'm not sure about this one, because every time I run across old duct tape, it's a mess. Is there something better?

    Electrician tape: No sure about this one either. Most of the time I can avoid it with crimp connectors or heat-shrink tubes

    Self-sealing isolating tape: I haven'nt used that much an don't know how it holds up. The idea is to replace heatschrink tubes in places where you can't put on a tube.

  5. First, a subscription to Practical Sailor is invaluable. Along with the subscription comes access to the digital archives back to 2000, along with a good search function. For example, if you want to know the best type of duct tape, you can search that. I use that function daily when researching articles. IT keeps me from reinventing the wheel.

    Sounds like a good "100 Best" topic, so that is where I will follow-up. But for the moment:

    * Blue masking tape. Yup, much less mess when it is time to remove. But there are still limits if it has been in the sun and rain.
    * Butyl tape. Great stuff. I like that I can keep it on the boat for bedding small things, and it NEVER goes bad.
    * Teflon. I like the yellow gas-rated tape better. It is softer and thicker, allowing it to seal better at moderate temperatures. You only need the white tape above 300F.
    * Sail repair tape. I like the rip stop better, since it conforms better to weird places. The adhesive is the limiting factor, anyway. For the most part, it is used on chutes anyway. But both are good.
    * Electricians tape. I like white and use it for rigging tape also. No, you won't use much on wiring, though it can be helpful for chafe protection.
    * Duct tape. I like gaffers tape for outside stuff. For example, I tape the end of the boom to keep birds out. But ordinary duct tape has a place.
    * Self sealing tape. I've used it but never been impressed. IMHO, use something else.

    I will add aluminum duct tape (Nashua). Good for sealing rigid ducts. But it is also the BEST thing for sealing paint cans, since vapors cannot go through metal (FE, mylar coated balloons). Wrap the lid with aluminum tape and the paint will last. With regular tape it will not. Also good for keeping the stink inside sanitation hoses--the stink can't go through metal either.