Favorite Tools For Used-Boat Maintenance

Working on used boats calls for a dedicated set of trusted tools.

If you’re looking for a used boat, I’m going to assume you’re handy with tools. If not, you will be soon. I have a few tools I can’t do without, so I thought I’d share the list.

Mechanix Wear Gloves

After a big repair job, the muscles in your hands are always sore. You can’t avoid that, but you can avoid the calluses, nicks, and cuts that take seem to take forever to heal—especially after you hit age 40. Aside from a full tube of Neosporin, the best solution I’ve found is Mechanix Wear gloves. Even if you already have a pair in your tool box—and you should—you can always use another pair. They are invaluable when it comes to working in the bilge. They fit tightly enough that you can hand-spin nuts and bolts as small as 10 millimeters. They’re thick enough to let you work with parts that are too hot for bare hands, and they also help keep your hands and fingernails cleaner.

I like “The Original” gloves for their low price and simplicity. They feature a Clarino synthetic leather palm, fingers, and fingertips, a Spandex top, and a thermal plastic rubber cuff with hook and loop fastening system. Compared with most other work gloves, I’ve  have found that Mechanix Wear’s “originals” are superior for working on all things mechanical. Oh, and when they get too dirty for working on your boat, you can repurpose them for gardening duty. They work well for that, too. Retail price is $24.99. For more information, visit Mechanix.

DeWALT Impact Wrench

It’s true that cordless drills have been on the market for years, and even the early models were good for turning screws and light drilling. But now, we’re also seeing genuinely powerful impact wrenches. DeWALT offers a cordless impact I’ve been abusing for a while now. DeWALT’s line of 18-volt tools was originally designed for Ni-Cad battery power, but they also accept the company’s latest lithium-ion batteries. So regardless of whether it’s a new tool or an old tool, the new lithium-ion batteries will fit.

DeWALT’s DC820KA half-inch impact spins from zero to 2,400 rpm with up to 2,700 impacts per minute. The tool measures just 5-3/4 inches long and weighs 4.6 pounds. It also provides up to 145 foot-pounds of torque without kickback, which can bust your knuckles into the nearest piece of rusty steel. It has a magnesium gear case for strength and lower mass, LED work-area illumination, textured anti-slip grips, and replaceable brushes for increased serviceability. Its power means you can use it to break lug nuts loose. Its size lets you get it into places pneumatics won’t fit. For more information, visit DeWALT.

Ingersoll Rand Electric Ratchet

Available in quarter-, three-eighths- and half-inch drives, these ratchets come with 7.2- or 14.4-volt power sources. The quarter-inch ratchets provide from 5 to 25 foot-pounds of torque, and the three-eighths-inch model can punch out up to 60 foot-pounds of torque with the 14.4-volt  battery. They’re all variable speed—maxing out at 225 rpm—and they offer much quieter operation than their compressed-air counterparts. In fact, Ingersoll Rand’s literature says you can run 10 of these ratchets at the same time and they would still be quieter than one pneumatic ratchet.

They all feature rugged metal housings so you can tug on them as you would a normal ratchet and are available with nickel-cadmium or lithium-ion battery packs. Retail prices range from $125 to $150. For more information, visit Ingersoll Rand.

- Brett Becker

Comments

  1. Excellent post. Recent improvement in battery technology and power density has made a lot of cordless tools practical for boaters who don’t have access to AC power. In addition to the excellent DeWALTt and Ingersoll wrenches mentioned above, there are cordless drills, sanders, buffers, screwdrivers and multipurpose tools. Now that the new technologies have extended the battery life, these are ideal for situations where shore power is not available.

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