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Old 04-23-2015, 07:33 PM   #1
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Essential tools

Putting my tool box together and was wonder what you think are the most essential tools in your tool box. I guess what engine you have is relevant as well. I am tooling up for a FL135.
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Old 04-23-2015, 07:57 PM   #2
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That's a hard question to answer. We have four toolboxes on the boat with tools for just about everything we might encounter, including wood working.

In terms of truly essential tools, in no particular order:

Good quality 1/2" portable electric drill
Complete drill set
Complete Allen wrench sets in SAE and metric.
Wide range of screw drivers in straight and Phillips sizes.
Pair of pipe wrenches sized to fit the packing gland adjustment and lock nuts on our shaft logs.
Full set of box/open end wrenches in SAE and metric sizes.
Full sets of socket wrenches, sockets and drivers in SAE and metric sizes.
Good quality heat gun (Makita)
Feeler gauges for adjusting engine valve clearances.
Various sizes and shapes of chisels.
Brace and bit driver (old fashioned manual drill). Best tool on the planet for removing and replacing deck screws or fasteners where you need a lot of torque and pressure.
Driver bits for the brace and bit driver (hard to find these days, we bought out every hardware and surplus tool store in the Puget Sound area that had any)
Portable impact driver.
Vice grips in various shapes and sizes.
X-acto knife kit
Box knife and extra blades.
Dental picks
Set of Forstner bits
Electric palm sander (Makita)
Electrical test meter (volt meter some people call them)
Soldering gun
Large socket and driver handle for removing the hub nut on our helm wheels.
Hacksaw
Bunch of woodworking tools- scrapers, chisels, mallets, sanding blocks, etc.

There's a lot more, but those are the ones that come to mind right now.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:14 PM   #3
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That is what I was looking for.* I am putting three boxes together.* A mechanical, electrical and a wood working box.* A couple tools not on your list that I added were:* lighted mechanic mirror, hose cutter, laser thermometer, crimp too, amp meter, soft mallet, strap wrench, cole chisel and tap and die set.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:14 PM   #4
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Marin has a good list I have a large conventional tool set, a few extras would be a strap wrench, Ridgid makes a good one, some medical friends got me long forecepts in various styles for picking up small parts in hard to get spots, 90*bent large needlenose pliers, asst.vicegrip pliers. Snubby screwdrivers. I keep a short sharp tooth "shark" woodsaw on board, 16 inch crescent wrenches. I also have several cheapo socket/screwdriver bit sets on the flybridge, engine room, & saloon, they get lots of the work done without needing to drag out the larger toolboxes. Mini butane torch for rope ends, heat shrink etc.
Good luck
PS lots of tape measures, and a set of calipers
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:40 PM   #5
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That is what I was looking for.* I am putting three boxes together.* A mechanical, electrical and a wood working box.* A couple tools not on your list that I added were:* lighted mechanic mirror, hose cutter, laser thermometer, crimp too, amp meter, soft mallet, strap wrench, cole chisel and tap and die set.
Now that I see it in writing, we have some of that too, but not the lighted mirror, thermometer, tap and die set (have at home if needed) and ammeter (the engines have their own ammeters). We had a strap wrench on the boat but found it was all but useless at actually removing anything so we took it off (I think). Like things like broken screw/bolt unscrewers, I find that strap wrenches are great in theory but reality tends to render them ineffective.

I just thought of something else we have that's been useful, and that's one of those telescoping magnet things for picking up stuff that falls out of reach. As long as it can be picked up with a magnet, of course. A lot of stuff on a boat can't be.

Steve mentioned calipers. We got some for the boat sometime in the last few years and they've come in very handy on projects like replacing fuel tank sight tubes and similar jobs where we needed to know the inside or outside diameter of something.
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Old 04-23-2015, 08:50 PM   #6
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It seems the first tool I need for workin in ER or bilge is a head lamp.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:05 PM   #7
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A lot of tools covered. Here are a few more I carry.
-Oil filter wrench[s],
-Quick Wedge screw holding screwdrivers [life savers, well sort of],
-pipe cleaners,
-sand paper includ. strip rolls,
-files of various sizes and types,
-Q-tips,
-various sealers and tapes,
-Bending beam torque wrench,
- good flashlight[s],
-headlight [for your head],
-Picks,
-Packing removal screw,
-three finger flex. grabber,
-several sizes/shapes of mirrors,
-flip folding type drywall saw with a coarse recipro blade in it,
-mag. retrieval tool - extendable type,
-hydrometer in an ABS pipe case to contain drips/leaks,
-Screwdrivers, lots of them including stubbies AND Robertson,
-nut drivers,
-very small wrecking bar [12-14"]
-small sledge[I use a brass head 2# hammer],
-hammer type heavy lug type crimper. That's why the brass sledge.
-plus the typical hammer and ball pein,
-GOOD battery terminal puller, battery term. plier, battery term./lug brush, -Torx key set,
-scrapers of various sizes,
-Snap ring pliers with tips kit,
-deep sockets - 1/4,3/8,1/2 drives - common sizes picked up from pawn -shop. Lots at home and that's where they are staying.
-good selection of extension for the drives and swivels
-pieces, cutoffs, of ply or starboard for working on
-small tarp pieces or I will die when wife sees the mess.
-heavy plastic dishpan for containing messy stuff.
-several C clamps of good size and a handscrew to act as a vise when needed. Large vise is impractical unless you have a large boat/engine room, not compartment.
-GOOD quality duct tape. Not really a tool but saved my bacon two years ago.
-maroon Scotchbrite pads

Lots of items will be driven by your needs on your boat. Buy as you need them. I scrounged from home when needed and then replaced the home tool if needed. Some I bought for the boat.

For repairs these lists will cover almost everything except truly specialized stuff in which case you likely won't have the parts..

If you are far away from the boat like Marin then your needs will be different from someone like me who gets peeved at a 15 min round trip. I make a list of what I think I will need but if I forget I'm not far away. I carry enough that I have effected some repairs away from home.

Take a look around the boat and try to imagine what it will take. You'll get most of it.

As for woodworking tools and fiberglass tools they are at home in a large Rubbermaid bin or two and travel to the boat as needed or I would need another boat/barge to carry it all.
Don't get too carried away.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:26 PM   #8
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Greetings,
Pretty comprehensive list thus far. Did anyone mention a Dremel tool?
Couple of 2 1/2 gallon buckets, wet/dry vac (IF you have the room, get 25' of sump pump hose at Home Despot-GREAT extension for the shop vac hose in cramped areas-just stick it on the nozzle end), couple rolls of gasket material, cable ties, hot glue gun AND a couple of cedar shingles. (VERY important!!!)
Apologies if I've mentioned something already suggested.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:27 PM   #9
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If you are far away from the boat like Marin then your needs will be different from someone like me who gets peeved at a 15 min round trip..
Good point. We live about 100 miles from the boat, a 1.5 to 2 hour drive depending on who's driving and if we stop to eat along the way. (My wife, Miss Former SCCA Driver he said with a sneer, drives a lot faster than me )

So we have to make sure that if we're going to tackle a job on the boat we either have what we need already up there or we remember to take what we don't need from the shop at home.

One thing that helps is my wife put the locations of all the tools and spares and "stuff" on the boat on a "where is it?" list that's on our computers, iPads, and iPhones. This helps a lot although we are not the best at keeping the list updated.

Some jobs we bring home. The biggest one to date has been locating and fixing a leak in the swimstep dinghy that appeared when we took the boat out a few weeks ago. We brought the dinghy home the next weekend in the pickup and it's been sitting on sawhorses in the garage while we've been dealing with the leak and are taking the opportunity to do other stuff to it at the same time, like having its outboard overhauled.

But C-lectric is right in that we have tools on the boat that we probably wouldn't have if we lived just a few minutes away from it. A lot of stuff on the boat is duplicated in our shop at home.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:35 PM   #10
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EAR MUFFS. GOOD ONES. or youur hearing will pay the price when you are working around a running engine.

KNEE PADS GOOD ONES your knees will thank you if not today then down the road especially when you kneel on the screw or nut you missed.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:43 PM   #11
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All great ideas. My last boat was a single screw with storage bins above the fuel tanks held in with shock cord. The new boat has twins so I have no idea where to put all this stuff.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:44 PM   #12
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I love these types of discussions!

Here's a similar one from 2 years ago, so it's probably still relevant.

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Old 04-23-2015, 09:48 PM   #13
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EAR MUFFS. GOOD ONES.,,,KNEE PADS GOOD ONES
In addition to Clectric's excellent advice here (which we adhere to) we also carry a sort of mattress thing. It's actually the cushion from a folding lawn or patio chair, the kind you can recline way back to flat, so the cushion is one-piece but can be folded up for easier storage.

The engine room in our 36' PNW boat is pretty crowded what with two engines and a large generator. I have to get around the front of the engines to access the fresh water pump or the injection pump on the starboard engine and so on. There are engine stringers, battery boxes, seacock handles, hoses, etc. that I have to lie over to do the work. Laying this cushion across where I'm going to be lying does wonders for avoiding bruised arms, sharp edges of things digging into me, and so on.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:50 PM   #14
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Greetings,
Ahhhh.....Mr. C raises the MOST important point. SAFETY EQUIPMENT!!!!! Including safety glasses to be worn at ALL times please.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:55 PM   #15
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Digital inspection camera

Digital Inspection Camera

Magnet tip screwdrivers, or a strong magnet to magnetize them, so you don't spend all afternoon chasing those tiny little screws all over the boat.
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Old 04-23-2015, 09:59 PM   #16
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If you're buying new, spring for the ratcheting box end wrenches. They are really nice to work with. Don't get the flat ones that you flip over to reverse, they'll band your knuckles. Get the angled ones you have to flip a little lever to change direction.

Battery operated drills and drivers. I have had good luck with Ryobi brand.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:16 PM   #17
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I was thinking of getting a set of the ratchet box end wrenches. I would think the open end box end combo would be the way to go. Should zi get English or metric for a FL135? What size range?
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:17 PM   #18
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Greetings,
Mr. HC. I've had 2 sets (metric and SAE) of ratcheting box end wrenches with the little reversing lever on board for the last 8 years and have yet to use any one of them once. I suppose it's all what you're used to.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:23 PM   #19
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Greetings,
Mr. HC. I've had 2 sets (metric and SAE) of ratcheting box end wrenches with the little reversing lever on board for the last 8 years and have yet to use any one of them once. I suppose it's all what you're used to.

I'm sure they look cool in your tool box! I have a couple tools I have never used myself. Some tools you almost never use but if you need them, there is no substitute.
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Old 04-23-2015, 10:28 PM   #20
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AND a couple of cedar shingles. (VERY important!!!)
I've forgotten what the purpose of the cedar shingles is?? I do have a scrap (4x3") of 1/2" wood for drilling but cedar?

Add to the list a turnbuckle. I am aware that you can use a pry bar when repositioning the alternator after changing the belt. For me, a scrap of wood (see previous paragraph) and a turnbuckle allows me to tension with ease and it holds steady too.

I did not have universal joint sockets (the ones that bend in the middle) when I started. Ditto a crows foot wrench head for the square set screw in my coupler at the transmission.

Initially I used my jig saw quite often. It's small and easy to stow.

A reamer is handy to have.
My vacuum is useful but often a paintbrush and a small dust pan works for project cleanup.

If I had more room I'd have a bench grinder and a bench vise. In lieu of the bench vise I've found C-Clamps and my dinette suffice. It's not the best option, but it does work.

Years ago when I was DUMBER THAN A ROCK I sold my daddy's D-clamp. I have rued that day ever since and continue to look for one. What was I thinking??!
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