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Old 09-01-2011, 04:27 PM   #1
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Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Irene hit me with another small surprise -- in inspecting a* midships cleat I found that the load had not only loosened the cleat, but bent one of the mounting brackets approx 20 deg from horizontal.* This thing is 10" long, bronze, and anything similar on Ebay is $50+. Before ordering, I'd like advice on whether this thing can be straightened, or would heating, bending, etc. affect the structure to make it brittle or otherwise subject to further failure?

*

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Old 09-01-2011, 04:29 PM   #2
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Once bent (bent twice after fix) is weak.* Purchase a new one.
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Old 09-01-2011, 04:56 PM   #3
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Take it to a machine shop with experience working with bronze and brass. I suspect it can be returned to its original shape and retain its strength. After all, they reshape and repitch props all the time. There is a shipwright on the GB owners forum who knows this kind of stuff like the back of his hand. I'll pose your question there and see what answers I get.
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:42 PM   #4
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Here is one response from the GB owners forum in answer to my question if your cleat could be straightened. I posted your photo so they know what the thing looks like.* If more comments come in I will post them.

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The cleat is almost guaranteed a bronze casting and not brass. So the short answer is yes, but how well depends on the alloy. The best way of doing this is to carefully heat it to a dull red color with a rosebud torch. This is best achieved in the dark when it's easier to see the red color shade. Turn the shop lights off or at least find a dim corner of the shop to do this and keep heating while the cleat is being bent back to shape. If it will be as strong as an original casting, I don't know but if done carefully as described above, the weakened strength will be minimal.

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Old 09-01-2011, 07:00 PM   #5
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

NEW and give the used one the medal of honor.
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Old 09-01-2011, 07:44 PM   #6
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

If it were mine, it'd be a doorstop and conversation piece. Whatever force it took to bend it might happen again, do you want to bet your boat that it'll be strong enough the second time?

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Old 09-02-2011, 04:50 AM   #7
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Toss it , fill the holes and get a better grade cleat, about 14 inches will go great.

Install a proper sized backing plate.

Replace its mate on the other side of the boat at the same time.
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Old 09-02-2011, 12:41 PM   #8
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

You could staighten it out and make a very nautical looking door handle with it.
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Old 09-02-2011, 01:47 PM   #9
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

While it would appear your cleat could be straightened and perhaps even retain its strength, the cost of doing so (unless you do it yourself) will likely equal or exceed the cost of a new cleat if you're finding them for fifty bucks. If your boat used cleats that are hard or impossible to find today, then straightening the one you have could be your best bet to retain the original boat configuration. But if it's an easy type of cleat to duplicate new, as others have said, why take the chance?
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Old 09-02-2011, 02:44 PM   #10
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

I have what I affectionately call my "Wall of Shame" that I keep above my dock cabinets that displays the result of my misadventures. It's part reminder to me to not make that blunder again and part conversation piece.

Your cleat doesn't fall into the 'blunder' category, but it sure would make a nice conversation piece. I have things like a crusty, rusty manifold elbow, a taco shaped strut and a broken antenna. All have their own stories to tell.

I agree that a new cleat is cheap insurance for when it's REALLY needed. (I hear another storm is on the way.) This one failed once. Whatever you do to straighten it cannot make it stronger than it was.
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Old 09-03-2011, 07:18 AM   #11
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Ordered a pair of replacements. Looks like Katia's latest forecast track is going to keep her offshore anyway. Here's hoping
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Old 09-04-2011, 04:24 AM   #12
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

IF it BROKE , its too small for the job. Replacing with a similar undersized item does not make sense to me.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:51 AM   #13
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

FF -- It* lasted 38 years. I guess if I upsize this one I should change them all out?* My boat has five similar-sized cleats per side, and in a storm tie-up* I have lines or double lines on all of them, both sides.

Only reason for the failure,(and it only bent, after all) I think was that a cleat on the dock which had my other port side* fwd spring line* failed first, putting extraordinary load on this one.*

*
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Old 09-04-2011, 12:02 PM   #14
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Replacing with the same size seems to be the appropriate thing to me. If it lasted the first 30 years of service and failed only due to an unusual circumstance, then it was sized properly. You can't foresee everything and you'll go crazy trying.

This reminds me of the people who swear that you have to replace your mild steel fuel tanks with something "more durable". My steel tanks are 31 years old and have no rust on top, and no pinholes in the bottom. I have no doubts that if they went bad tomorrow and I replaced them with exact replicas, that the new ones will outlive me. But then I like history and knowing what the product can and will do.

You know what it took to destroy this cleat. Buy another just like it.

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Old 09-04-2011, 12:16 PM   #15
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Quote:
ARoss wrote:
My boat has five similar-sized cleats per side,* ...

*
*It's difficult to have too many cleats.* Had my builder add a couple more*so now have three per side from middle to stern (a bollard handles bow lines).
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:13 AM   #16
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

Quote:
markpierce wrote:It's difficult to have too many cleats.*
*Unless you stub your bare toe on one.*

*

But yes, you're right.* Most boats have too few cleats.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:13 AM   #17
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

For me the mid-ship cleat is the most important cleat (when you have control of the mid-ship cleat, you have control of the ship) on board.

The cost to repair the cleat will equal the price to replace, therefore I would replace the cleat, but I would look very closely at what was available to upgrade one size, then replace both port & stb'd cleats.
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Old 09-06-2011, 10:49 AM   #18
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RE: Cleat -- Repair or Replace?

The size of the cleat is important, no question. But equally-- if not more--- important is the strength of the backing. It does little good to have a nice big cleat with poor or minimal backing. So simply replacing a cleat with a larger one is no guarantee whatsoever that the larger cleat will hold more of a load. We added three bronze cleats to our GB not long after we bought it. We were able to get the same size and pattern from GB Parts that had been used when the boat was built in 1973. As a previous poster said, there's no such thing as too many cleats. But we backed each of the new cleats, which are deck-mounted, with very large stainless steel backing plates. They are the strongest cleats on the boat now despite being identical to the others.
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