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Complete Stern Tube Restoration On Sailboat

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NBF
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Complete Stern Tube Restoration On Sailboat

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Comprehensive Guide to Cutless Bearing Replacement

Embarking on a maritime adventure often entails facing unexpected challenges, and today's task was no exception. I found myself tackling a significant project - the replacement of the cutlass bearing on a boat. In this article, we'll delve into the intricacies of this 20-dollar fix, exploring the process, unexpected discoveries, and the meticulous steps taken to ensure a seamless outcome.

Unveiling the Challenge

Upon initiating the cutlass bearing replacement, a routine task took an unexpected turn. The stern tube, when disassembled, revealed an ageing wooden cavity. Over four decades, this wood had weathered its course, rendering it unsuitable for supporting a new cutlass bearing. Recognizing the importance of a sturdy foundation, I decided to eliminate the decaying wood.

A Fortuitous Discovery

Amidst the challenge, a stroke of luck presented itself. Examining the area exposed by the removed wood, I discovered a well-preserved section beneath the metal housing. It was dry, devoid of any rot, providing a solid base for the upcoming modifications. Sealing this wood became a priority to safeguard it during the restoration process.

Strategic Sealing for Protection

To shield the wood underneath, I meticulously sealed the bottom, ensuring a protective barrier against potential damage. A layer on top addressed any holes that could compromise the project, preparing the groundwork for the next steps.

Crafting a Sustainable Solution

Acknowledging the significance of a lasting solution, I opted for a lamination process to reinforce the entire area. Employing a 6mm fibreglass backing, I built a robust foundation for the upcoming layers. This strategic move ensures the longevity of the modification, preventing future issues.

Addressing Wear and Tear

Returning to the cutlass bearing replacement, I addressed the wear and tear evident in the existing component. Although not severely damaged, a subtle play had developed over the years, prompting the need for a timely replacement. The stern tube, a critical element in this process, posed additional challenges, requiring careful consideration.

Ingenious Solutions and Stainless Steel Precision

Encountering unexpected modifications in the stern tube, I employed inventive solutions. Reversing the tube for a more favourable thread, I tapped in M6 holes, utilizing stainless steel components for durability. The replacement cutlass bearing, a crucial part of the puzzle, arrived promptly, ensuring a seamless continuation of the restoration.

Painstaking Lamination Process

Initiating the lamination process, I employed meticulous attention to detail. Using fibreglass and a specially concocted fibreglass filler, I filled voids and gaps, ensuring a solid structure. The labour-intensive process involved layering and building up the material, creating a robust foundation for the modified stern tube.

Towards the Finish Line

As the days passed, the restoration progressed. Filling in voids, sanding, and layering fibreglass became a repetitive yet essential routine. The underwater primer marked a significant milestone, paving the way for the final steps - anti-fouling and propeller installation.
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