Removing cleats problem

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Removing cleats problem

Postby mark48 on Thu May 28, 2020 1:57 pm

Hi PS builders,

I am replacing the forward mooring cleats on my PS Puffin with slightly larger ones. I'm having trouble removing one of the stainless bolts; it's unthreaded from its lock-nut part-way but further removing it is very difficult. I had bedded the cleat with 3M white bonding stuff, and I suspect some of that is on the threads and may be contributing to my troubles.

Any ideas on how to help without stripping the phillips slots on the bolt-head?

Thanks and stay well,
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: Removing cleats problem

Postby riverron on Thu May 28, 2020 6:05 pm

Have you been able to get the other bolt off? Wondering if you can pull out enough to use a hacksaw to cut the bolt? Other options to use a screw extractor kit. Many options on Amazon.
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Location: Richmond Virginia

Re: Removing cleats problem

Postby mark48 on Thu May 28, 2020 6:44 pm

Hi Ron,

Thanks for weighing in. Yes, I have successfully removed one cleat and one of the two bolts on the second cleat. The troublesome bolt un-threaded about a quarter inch and then "seized" such that I have great difficulty maintaining the phillips head purchase with my screw driver to continue removing it. The screw driver has slipped twice, and I don't want to do that anymore.

I've thought of cutting the bolt, but that will seriously mar or damage the Dorade box wall on the forward deck - and it would leave me with the shaft of the bolt still in both the marine plywood and 3/4" backing plywood within the box. I'm hoping to avoid destructive maneuvers.

I was thinking of heating the bolt and possibly loosening whatever is holding it fast. I have a heat gun (the boat-builder's friend) but I'm reluctant to turn it on the painted Dorade box wall to which the cleat is attached. I am also considering holding a soldering iron tip directly on the bolt head for a while to heat the bolt that way.

Still thinking, and hoping for advice from those more knowledgeable than I. Thanks for your thoughts, and all the best.

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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: Removing cleats problem

Postby Tom G on Sat May 30, 2020 9:54 pm

Hi Mark, I have had really good luck getting stuck bolts out with a soldering iron. I have used both a butane one and an electric with good results. Hold tip on bold head for a minute or so. A wide tip works best for heat transfer. If using a butane one watch where the exhaust is pointed. No damage to surface. Tey come right out. The builder of my Pocketship (not me!) used all manner of things to secure every screw and bolt. 3M 5200 , epoxy and polysulfide. The heat trick has worked on all so far. Tom
Tom G
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Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2018 2:25 pm

Re: Removing cleats problem

Postby mark48 on Mon Jun 01, 2020 4:37 pm

Hi Tom and all PS builders,

With a bit of internetting, I now realize that the problem preventing me from un-threading my stainless steel cleat bolt was a process called "galling." Apparently, if one twists a bolt of stainless steel too swiftly in threading or removing the nut, the generated heat within the mating thread surfaces melts some microscopic metallic bits left over from manufacture effectively welding the bolt and nut together. There are plenty of links describing this process; it can happen while either threading the nut onto the bolt or removing it, and if it happens, there may be no recourse other than to cut the bolt in two.

Galling can be prevented by threading slowly, avoiding use of power tools while manipulating bolt and nut (I was working only by hand in my situation), and using a thread lubricant - especially if one is threading lock-nuts which generate yet more heat.

Although I considered heating the bolt with a soldering iron, I was reluctant to apply significant heat to the bolt in my PS installation, concerned that I might cause unrecognized damage within the plywood or even start a fire. Ultimately I hack-sawed through the offending bolt and cleat leg, and then backed out the residual bolt pieces without difficulty.

Moral of the story: avoid galling.

All the best,
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Joined: Fri Jun 28, 2013 9:55 pm

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