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What’s in your toolkit?

Feb 14, 2019
3
Catalina 22 WK Indianapolis
These are all great suggestions. My overriding philosophy is look at every part of your boat (mechanical, electrical, standing rigging, running rigging, anchoring) and make sure you have a tool on board to remove/install/tighten/loosen/replace everything. At the same time, make sure you have one or two spares for every nut, bolt, screw, electrical connector, filter, etc. Organize by location/type - a bag/box for engine tools and parts. A bag/box for electrical tools and parts, a bag/box for plumbing tools and parts, a bag/box for extra blocks, extra shackles, extra clevis pins and ring dings (lots of those in assorted sizes), etc. Sail tape and electrical tape to tape over cotter and clevis pins so they don't work themselves out.
 

DougM

.
Jul 24, 2005
2,183
Beneteau 323 Manistee, MI
After owning the boat for several years, I have accumulated enough small tools and spare fittings to stock a small hardware store. I usually have what I need, and if I don’t, that item might be in my garage, which is only 1000 miles away…
I think it would be a great idea for marketers to sell the most commonly used english and metric sockets, wrenches, and allen keys if six packs. Those things either grow legs, end up in the bilge, or over the side.
 
Jun 2, 2004
3,160
Hunter 23.5 Fort Walton Yacht Club, Florida
When I grab wrenches and sockets to go work on a boat I always try to grab the six point one especially smaller than I/2" or 13mm.

I can't figure out why they even make 12 point sockets that small.
 
Jan 11, 2014
7,847
Sabre 362 113 Fair Haven, NY
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!
Just think of what you are doing to the economy when you buy all those replacement tools. ;)
 
Jul 12, 2011
985
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I've always said that the reason my slip is so shallow is not silting, but the accumulation of stuff lost overboard from years of occupancy - tools, shackles, spare parts, sunglasses, cell phones, beer bottles, etc.
 
Sep 29, 2012
15
Taswell 43 Center Cockpit currently the eastern Carrib
Over the 20+ years we've cruised, our tools have expanded and changed a lot. Now we use a small 10" soft tool bag for each type of tool...one for electrical(stripper, crimper, side cutter, black tape, linemans pliers, volt/ohm meter, amp meter, heatgun, heatshrink, etc), one for sockets(1/4" and 3/8" metric and imperial...with adapters, breaker bar, and extension bars), one for gnl/quick response(adj wrenches, channel locks, side cutters,pliers, basic screwdrivers, etc), one for misc tools, etc. We keep open/box end wrenches-metric and imperial to 24mm/ 1 1/4" in wrench rolls...a different color roll for metric vs imperial. We keep the sockets on a plastic bar, in order. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to find the correct size wrench/socket! The BEST tool we've found...is a dremel-type tool with both the sanding drum and the cut-off wheels...it works wonders! I'd also suggest buying a set of captive screwdrivers.....it's easy to undo a screw, but a real PITA trying to get that screw started down in a well or behind something! We also keep a pretty good benchstock of screws, bolts, electrical crimp-on ends, cotter pins and slip rings, etc...all s/s...in a group of Plano-type plastic compartment storage boxes (that keep each size and type separate)....I think we're up to 16 boxes now! But if I need something specific (and I've got it onboard) I can quickly find it.
 
Last edited:

dLj

.
Mar 23, 2017
1,831
Belliure 41 Now on the Chesapeake
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.
@Scott T-Bird I've found a really useful device at Sears that is like a long handle with a number of square connectors the sockets clip onto.

Here's one example:

I find these to be quite compact and work well for keeping my sockets organized. I agree, the plastic organizers are both cumbersome and take up a lot of space.

dj
 
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Likes: Parsons
May 7, 2011
189
Catalina 30 Lake Lanier
I started with a WM toolkit and built up from there. Start with the basics and you will build a nice set of what you need in a short time. We now have cordless Drill and Jigsaw, Drill Bits, Oil Wrech, Oil Extractor, Taps & Dies, Oil Absorbant cloths, a collection of nuts,bolts & screws, a collection of electrical items (spare circuit breakers, switches, fuses, connectors), Crimping tools, etc.
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,048
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
When we purchased our boat in 2002 the PO left behind a fastener storage chest that looks similar to this one. https://www.amazon.com/Deluxe-Hardw...words=Fastener+Storage&qid=1624373516&sr=8-22

Ours has four drawers that I use for plumbing, electrical, wood and machine screws with a top bin for odds and ends parts. Unable to find one similar, but the link above comes close. Very handy for keeping all the small stuff organized.
 

Tedd

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Jul 25, 2013
467
Between Boats near Vancouver, BC
I can't figure out why they even make 12 point sockets that small.
It doesn't seem to apply as much to marine use, but, in auto and aviation mechanics, twelve-point flange-head bolts and screws are quite common, even in the smaller sizes.
 
Feb 26, 2004
21,959
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
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.
P1120807Tool Box (Mobile).JPG


I got a set that has "captive" holders for all the tools and bits&pieces.
 
Oct 22, 2014
16,128
CAL 35 Cruiser moored EVERETT WA
My tool kits have expanded each year. Perhaps driven by my projects which seem never ending only paused when I need to go for a sail.

I saw one of these on sale.
1624381198283.png
DEWALT Drive Socket Set for Mechanics, Black Chrome Polish, 181-Piece (DWMT81522)

So I figured why not. It has earned it's space in the cupboard a few times. Just recently I needed to use the nut driver. I pulled it out and the spring that is supposed to hols the bit in fell out. I called the help line. Sent than an image of the nut driver. They sent me this.
1624381405989.png
DEWALT Screwdriver Bit Set with Nut Drivers, 71-Piece (DWMT73808)
to fix the problem nut driver.
WOW... was my response to the "Lifetime guarantee".

Plan on your go to tools failing or taking a swim at some point in your boat ownership. These replacement guarantees help with a fail, an inexpensive initial cost helps when the tool dives off the boat and learns it cannot swim very well.
 
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Likes: skunther
Dec 25, 2000
5,048
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
I have several 12V sockets on our boat; two in the aft cabin, two in the main salon, one in the forward cabin and one in the cockpit. Two came with the boat; I've added four since. They come in handy for charging USB devices. Cordless drills seem to work well on the boat as long as you keep the batteries charged. It seemed that whenever I needed to use the drill (seldom) the batteries were dead.

Purchased a 12v cordless drill from a local thrift store, removed the dead batteries and connected a long electric cord to the battery terminals with a 12v plug on the other end. Now. as long as my house bank is charged, I have a working drill for those occasional chores.
 

EV21

.
Apr 29, 2016
94
Macgregor 21 Venture Delaware ...
Maybe I missed it but Vise Grips? A long time fave of mine -- hope whoever invented them is very rich. Run the leg bolt out and put a bit of lithium grease on the threads to slow corrosion. I like the "WR" jaws for flexibility vs the flat "R" jaws. Can help with clamping too. Haven't used the newer fancy ones but the originals seem a good balance of simplicity, flexibility and reliability. Also, keep an eye on how the leg spring is situated. Don't ask why I mention it.
 
Feb 16, 2021
89
Hunter Legend 35.5 Bellingham
I have several 12V sockets on our boat; two in the aft cabin, two in the main salon, one in the forward cabin and one in the cockpit. Two came with the boat; I've added four since. They come in handy for charging USB devices. Cordless drills seem to work well on the boat as long as you keep the batteries charged. It seemed that whenever I needed to use the drill (seldom) the batteries were dead.

Purchased a 12v cordless drill from a local thrift store, removed the dead batteries and connected a long electric cord to the battery terminals with a 12v plug on the other end. Now. as long as my house bank is charged, I have a working drill for those occasional chores.
I like this. Having a standard AC charger onboard that inefficiently sucks up the DC juice via the inverter, only to then convert it back to DC to charge power tool batteries, is a terrible waste of battery bank. Does anyone have an elegant hack to skip the inverter when charging power tool batteries and not connected to shore power?
 
Dec 25, 2000
5,048
Hunter Passage 42 Shelter Bay, WA
Does anyone have an elegant hack to skip the inverter when charging power tool batteries and not connected to shore power?
Yes, here. Verify your identity

I have a few on board to deal with small inverter requirements, as opposed to the big hummer. Electric toothbrush, laptop, etc.
 
Jan 7, 2011
2,920
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I have a Stanley socket/wrench set in a plastic case. Includes Allen wrenches and an assortment of bits with a handle/driver. I also keep a few screw drivers and a knife handy at the nav station. A cordless drill, 4 pair of Vice Grips, and a few pairs of pliers (from large pump pliers to needle nose) and a hacksaw round my “leave on the boat tools”. Then I bring stuff as needed for specific projects.

i don’t cruise, so I am only 30 minutes from my shop :)

Greg
 
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Likes: JamesG161
Sep 24, 2018
1,475
O'Day 25 Chicago
Multiple screwdrivers for the inevitable time when they decide to jump overboard. I'm surprised nobody has mentioned ratchet straps. Incredibly useful when youre in a jam or need to pull something into place