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Old 09-10-2015, 01:04 PM   #1
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Renew or Replace Cleats

The cleats on my 1976 boat are chromed brass. The cleats are rock solid, but the chrome is wearing/pitting and getting a little (actually, a lot) shopworn. Some require rebedding due to small (sure to get larger) water leaks developing. As part of the ongoing boat upgrade, Iím looking at either rechroming or replacing the cleats.

Rechroming is proving to be a bit of a challenge in terms of finding 1) a shop that will do a quality job, and 2) trying to get a handle on cost. Iíve discovered that for every car guy who recommends a chrome shop, I can find another who damnís the same shop. Additionally, projected costs are from the shops Iíve talked to are vague, at best, and range from ďif you have to ask, you canít afford itĒ to a ďper poundĒ cost subject to more caveats than a lawyerís fee schedule. Based on the reading Iíve done, there are a ton of quality factors that go into rechroming, so the first piece is to identify a good source for the service.

The alternative is polished 316 ss. Looking at pricing and the skinny manufacturers info, there must be quality factors between products that I do not appreciate. Some variation is understandable. For example, Iíve found 10Ē cleats that handle ĺĒ line (all in 316) ranging from about $70 to $125 each. Iím sure there are a bunch of factors involved that I do not appreciate. For instance: Is all 316 ss born equal? I suspect not.

Questions for the experienced hands:
1. Are there factors for rechroming marine hardware that are different from those that apply to automotive work?
2. If I go with 316 ss replacements, what should I be evaluating between different products?
3. Is there any particular advantage to cleats that are built with integral attachment studs versus those that attach with through bolts?

As always, the assistance is greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-10-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
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It's been a while since I've had anything rechromed. The best process is a 3 part referred to as copper nickel chrome. Voids and pits are filled with copper, then nickel plated, and finally chrome plated and polished. This is for restoration of antiques where price isn't a factor. The lessor processes are dependent on the prep work as to how thick the plating and how well it adheres. My guess is that quality rechroming will rival the price of new stainless steel or more.

If it were me, I would buy new Stainless steel cleats that through bolt. If you gall a bolt just cut it off and get another. As to selecting a manufacturer, I would look at his other hardware and decide if you think he makes stuff of good quality. Probably wouldn't buy perko cleats.


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Old 09-11-2015, 10:32 AM   #3
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Bronze is nautical looking , let the chrome go.

Or wire brush them when off for the re bedding.

IF you are dead set on SS replacement try for 12 to 15 inch if there is room.

Cleats frequently get 3 or 4 lines at times so "Too big" is hard to do.

If you are loop bound a 15 inch midships will be a great assist in the big commercial locks.

A couple of fenders and one line you ride "the pig" up and down with no effort.
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Old 09-11-2015, 10:36 AM   #4
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Look up Suncor, they make some. I've stainless cleats and other stainless stuff.
Thanks, Oliver
M/V Oliver
Nordhavn 47 Hull #12
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Old 09-11-2015, 11:41 AM   #5
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I would strip the chrome off of the brass or go with the stainless replacements. I don't see chrome plated external parts on a boat as being that durable. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 09-11-2015, 01:09 PM   #6
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Gulf Plating for marine quality chroming. Gulf Plating

They did my Ideal windlass for the PO in 2007 and it has held up terrifically under all kinds of use and abuse. It may not be any more economical than buying new stainless, but the problem with new may be getting the bolt holes to line up and size match.

"There's the Right Way, the Wrong Way, and what some guy says he's gotten away with"
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Old 09-12-2015, 06:26 AM   #7
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"but the problem with new may be getting the bolt holes to line up and size match. "

Especially if there is a proper good sized backing plate built in.

For heavy load items like cleats I find slipping a thin O ring on before bolting into the Dolphinite helps stop leaks from really heavy loading ..

Always use an easy to replace goop, not a glue.
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Old 09-12-2015, 08:45 AM   #8
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On CL... I recently found two never used 12" ss cleats for $50 bucks. Plan to install as extras on my already well cleated Tollycraft. IMO, can never have too many big cleats on transom, gunnels, bow.
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Old 09-12-2015, 09:42 AM   #9
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If cost is a factor, buy new. Brass is a very poor metal for use on a saltwater boat. If they are bronze then they might be worth keeping, but rechroming will likely cost more than new cleats.

Suncor makes decent cleats. Their herreshoff style cleats come in two lines - regular and heavy duty. 12" regular cleats are $65 at Hamilton Marine and the 12" heavy duty cleats are $120. The heavy duty cleats are much beefier than the regular cleats. Flat top cleats are more expensive than herreshoff style. So I think the price range you see reflects different lines of cleats, at least in part.
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Old 09-12-2015, 10:08 AM   #10
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I'd be inclined to take them to the plating shop and have them unplated and polished. If you want to replace them, I've had good luck with Sea Dog cleats.
Sea-Dog : Quality Marine, Industrial and Rigging Hardware

I stock the Sea Dog but the Suncor that has been suggested are very good as well.

Parks Masterson
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