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Rusty screws!

OK - they probably looked brassy
Posted: 16 Feb 2020 - By: Roger Smith

Hi All,

It looks like Idle Wild has suffered from some classic "cost cutting" over the years - I suspect from when she had work done in Greece by one of the two previous owners.

In two places, the brass / bronze strips to protect the toe rail capping seem to have been fixed down with (I suspect brass coated) steel screws which have of course rusted badly. I ground the remains of the heads away usuing a tungsten carbide burr in a "Dremel" type tool which was easy enough.

A bit of "Google" & "You-Tube" hunting provided a method of removing the remains of the screws by using what is in effect a very small hole saw to trepan round the shank, however these are very expensive and I could not find a UK supplier. Further hunting resulted in the idea of using a small (4mm) long socket with teeth cut in the end which then inspired me to try something of my own.

I happen to have a number of small leather punches (no idea where they came from!) so I chose one of these that would clear the old screw shanks and filed three teeth in it using a triangular diamond file (you have to remember to cut the teeth so they work with it rotating enti clockwise). Using my cordless drill in "undo" mode, this seems to work pretty well as long as you take it easy. Foolishly I had not fully charged the drill before I went to the boat on Friday so I only managed a couple of screws.

going round the boat to sort a couple of other things (like replacing the cut-off tap for the gas to the cooker) I have discovered more rotten steel screws that need removal, but at least now I know how to do it and heve the tool for the job.


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