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What’s in your toolkit?

Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
My wife and I recently purchased our first cruising boat for multiple week trips in the Pacific Northwest, and need to replace the rusting and cannibalized toolkit currently on board. Also I want to build a solid kit for whatever we may encounter out there. Our boat is a 1993 Hunter Legend, and many systems have worn parts that have already needed replacing.

We won’t be doing any blue water cruising.

I’m wondering what basic toolkit folks like - any brands rust and corrosion resistant? Best suited for storage in a salty environment? What tools have folks found essential?
 

RoyS

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Jun 3, 2012
1,214
Hunter 33 Steamboat Wharf, Hull, MA
I would not worry about corrosion. Keep tools in a strong, dry plastic tool box(s) or similar. You will need both metric and American wrenches. As for sockets 3/8" drive is probably all you will need, leave the 1/2" drive stuff at home. Get both shallow and deep sockets. You will need open end/ box wrenches in both metric and American up through 1" and maybe 22 mm. You should purchase an assortment of screwdrivers and a full set of allen wrenches. Make sure your screwdriver assortment includes stubby types. Channel locks, extension mirror, extension magnet and diagonal cutting pliers are needed. Oil filter wrench, Adjustable Wrench, Etc. As you find you need something else, buy it and toss it in the box. I can barely lift my onboard tool box. BTW, be careful buying wrench sets today. If you read the label fine print on the typical wrench set you will find that several critical sizes have been left out somewhere in the middle of the alleged range. Accountants did that; hate accountants.
 
Jan 1, 2006
6,088
Slickcraft 26 Greenport, NY
I've posted this before but a rubber mallet. A quality pair of shears. If you have a Yanmar 7 & 10 mm box wrenches. Fan belt tightener. Whatever combination of wrenches to use to tighten the packing gland nuts.
 
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Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
465
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
...any brands rust and corrosion resistant?
I sourced stainless steel tools for maintaining robots in the pharmaceutical industry. But the prices--ouch! Other than that, I don't expect there's a lot you can do about rust other than protect the tools from exposure as best you can. Perhaps a Pelican case with a desiccant pack inside, or wrap them in VCI paper when they're stowed.
 
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dLj

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Mar 23, 2017
1,830
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
or wrap them in VCI paper when they're stowed.
As @RoyS said, wrap well. I'm going to use the VCI paper @Tedd mentions here. Mcmaster has a nice product line but I'm sure you can find it elsewhere.

In past lives, I've used this paper for shipping machine tools internationally with quite good success. I've not used it on a sailboat for long term tool storage, but will be checking it out for my boat.


dj

Oh forgot - I find having a small vice that you can mount somewhere to be extremely useful.
 
Jul 12, 2011
985
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I love @RoyS list, because it gets to the heart of good preparation - have what you need on-board because the hardware store is a long swim away. I (hope that) I carry tools to remove all the fasteners on the boat, and spare parts to replace many bits. If I ever need to bring something from home, except major projects like woodworking for structural projects, I'll leave a duplicate of that tool in the box (bag in my case). Even if you are not blue-water cruising, it is far better to be able to have the tool, part, and know-how to replace a fuel-filter, than go aground in a channel and call for a tow (ask me how I know).
In addition to the things already mentioned, consider at least basic supplies for the other systems:
  • 12V DC electrical work - volt-amp-ohm meter, wire strippers, extra fuses, tape, spare primary wire, etc. and knowledge to use them or a book;
  • Plumbing - bottle brush for the sinks drains, assorted extra (good) hose clamps, small plunger (also good for bottom clean diving)
  • Lubricants for sailing hardware (silicon or SailKote), extra engine oil, grease for the autopilot joints or windlass
  • Jury-rig repair parts - duct tape, zip ties, nails and a hammer (no I would not like to nail my dining table over a my main hatch, but I would to save the boat), enough spare line to secure that thing that fell off the deck to get it home.
As far as quality, buy the best quality stuff you know how to use because you will only have one of them. I've rarely heard someone using a tool (while lying on their back in a locker) say, "Boy, I wish I had saved $5 when I bought this wrench!".
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,840
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
So far no one has mentioned a tool to cut away the rig if it should decide to fall. There are several tools that can do this, from very expensive hydraulic cutters to hack saws. We carry a small bolt cutter, it won't cut the wire, but it may cut the studs and a battery (Li) powered angle grinder with a cut off disc installed.
 
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Jan 11, 2014
7,840
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY

duck21

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Jul 17, 2020
78
Hunter 376 Washburn, WI on Lake Superior
We don't blue water cruise, we do some longer weekends, I DIY most of my own work on the boat in our marina.

My most used tool (that lives in the cabin) is a multi-bit screw driver. I also have a small adjustable spanner that lives full time in the cabin.

Leatherman on my belt.

I'm sitting at 4 toolboxes, currently. 2 with tools, two with bits and parts. One bits and parts is (mostly) electrical, the other leans more plumbing/sealants/other. I also have a combo 1/4" drive and 3/8" drive socket kit. Socket extensions are nice too (included in my kit). The socket has box wrenches, but an incomplete set, so I picked up a single holder that has a full range of metric and English box wrenches.

Some that I find myself often using (or rarely but play a specialty/critical role):
  • Two stuffing box wrenches
  • Multi-meter
  • Metric and English Allen wrenches
  • Hacksaw
  • Metric and English box wrenches
  • Metric and English nut-drivers
  • Fish tape
  • Soldering iron
  • Lots of screw drivers of varying sizes
  • A variety of pliers styles and sizes
The quantity of varying sizes is what ends up driving up the tool box space in my locker.
 
Jun 9, 2008
1,648
- -- -Bayfield
A little mirror in which handle telescopes some to see around corners, or if you want to spend more money, one of those cameras with a long tube to peek in areas you otherwise cannot always view. i also have one of those long things with a button on one end and a grabber on the other for reaching down where your arm won't go go pick up stuff you drop. Various tapes are helpful. Electrician tape, thread tape, duct tape (of course), etc. Also wire ties, hose clamps and longer needle nose pliers to go along with shorter needle nose pliers. Hack saw. I even carry an axe.
 
Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
In past lives, I've used this paper for shipping machine tools internationally with quite good success. I've not used it on a sailboat for long term tool storage, but will be checking it out for my boat.

I had no idea this existed. Seems great! It seems the items to be protected must be enclosed in the wrap, that it can't simply be added loosely into a toolbag and provide protection.
 

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,830
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
I had no idea this existed. Seems great! It seems the items to be protected must be enclosed in the wrap, that it can't simply be added loosely into a toolbag and provide protection.
Enclosed is best. But you can also put it above and below which can help although not ideal. There is a volatile compound that comes off the paper that works as a corrosion inhibiter. It's pretty cool stuff...

dj
 
Oct 29, 2012
289
Catalina 30 TRBS MkII Milwaukee
A little mirror in which handle telescopes some to see around corners, or if you want to spend more money, one of those cameras with a long tube to peek in areas you otherwise cannot always view. i also have one of those long things with a button on one end and a grabber on the other for reaching down where your arm won't go go pick up stuff you drop. Various tapes are helpful. Electrician tape, thread tape, duct tape (of course), etc. Also wire ties, hose clamps and longer needle nose pliers to go along with shorter needle nose pliers. Hack saw. I even carry an axe.
Typically, one can see the part they what to work on, or touch the part.... but never both
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,048
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
So far all good suggestions for the tools you will need. As for the stuffing box, go with service wrenches of the correct size for your boat. Likely will need two; one for the box, one for the lock nut. These work the best. https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Prot...words=service+wrenches&qid=1624367366&sr=8-49

Also, seldom used but very handy on a boat is a long grabber for picking up that SS nut or screw you just dropped and cannot reach with your fat fingers. https://www.amazon.com/PF-WaterWork...&keywords=long+grabber&qid=1624368046&sr=8-56

Another tool that comes in handy when you rarely need it, is an impact driver for removing that stubborn stuck fastener. https://www.tequipment.net/Klein-Tools/70220/Tool-Kits/?Source=googleshopping&/?utm_content=impact driver&utm_term=&utm_campaign=Shopping Campaign(BSC)&utm_source=Bing_Yahoo&utm_medium=cpc&msclkid=042c24792eda135d8c4744a8c8f4478c
 
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Oct 29, 2012
289
Catalina 30 TRBS MkII Milwaukee
So far all good suggestions for the tools you will need. As for the stuffing box, go with service wrenches of the correct size for your boat. Likely will need two; one for the box, one for the lock nut. These work the best. https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Prot...words=service+wrenches&qid=1624367366&sr=8-49

Also, seldom used but very handy on a boat is a long grabber for picking up that SS nut or screw you just dropped and cannot reach with your fat fingers. https://www.amazon.com/PF-WaterWork...&keywords=long+grabber&qid=1624368046&sr=8-56
Kim
BTW...the magnetic pick up tool doesn't work on SS , that's why the grabber is essential.
The magnet will pick up the cheap steel tools that cannot be reached when they slide and disappear.
The cheap tools won't break your heart when they go overboard.
And if you save the cheesy floating key fobs and tywrap it to the tool when tuning the rig, they don't immediately sink to the bottom
 
Oct 26, 2008
5,019
Catalina 320 Barnegat, NJ
I use glad sandwich bags to organize between metric and SAE wrenches & various other articles, like handles, extensions adapters, etc. I think they serve 2 purposes, prevents corrosion and keeps items sorted.

I always struggle with how to manage socket sets. because the plastic organizers they are sold with are cumbersome and seem to break easily. I end up with loose sockets everywhere. I end up with some (usually the smallest) sizes in plastic bags as well. I find that a simple box filled with sandwich bags (or larger as needed) to organize the sets of tools works best for me. Keeps me from excessive rifling thru a box of loose stuff just to find what I need. I also have a separate tool bag exclusively for electrical tools. I use plastic containers that can be sorted for screws, bolts, nuts, washers, & all the various small sailboat hardware. I use similar and separate bins for all the electrical fittings, such as butt joints, ring connectors & terminals, heat shrink tubes, etc.

I find that the hardest part isn't deciding what I need ... the hardest part is organizing what I need so I'm not constantly searching (not finding) & buying duplicates!