shows by example how easily you can eliminate stress, become more independent, raise your children in a safer environment (while spending more time with them, instilling values not based on the mighty dollar) and avoid the traps of commercialism. Because we live and sail simply, we have been wandering for 11 years with no intention of stopping. This is not a trip for us; it is our life, and I hope to share our success with stories of laughter and tears, as well as how-to tips and DIY projects for preparing, sailing and making a boat a home, so that others can join us.

Homemade Clamps

October 6, 2014

We have all wished at times that we had three hands. When tackling boat projects, however, it seems that what we need more of isn't hands, but clamps: the mechanical version of "Here; hold this." A famous boat builder once answered the question "How many clamps do you need?" with "More than you have." There is an entire locker onboard our 34-footer dedicated to clamps, but still, when assembling a cockpit table for a customer, my husband needed more.

Cover the area with plastic and the angle aluminum with packing tape.

This time the solution was not simply going to the store to buy more clamps. Because he wasn't able to find the perfect product for the job, he built his own. He was trying to epoxy on the 3 border pieces to the leaf of the cockpit table when he realized that, while he could keep 1 piece tight with standard clamps, it was not going to be easy to clamp the other two and apply even pressure while keeping the pieces aligned and square.

Threaded rod through angle aluminum

Instead of fighting with standard clamps and worrying about the pieces not gluing well, he built his own clamp. He bought two pieces of 1" angle aluminum and 2 threaded rods. With washers and nuts for both ends of the rods he was set. He covered the angle aluminum with packing tape so that the epoxy would not make it part of the end product.

Nut and washer on the end of threaded rod

He applied the epoxy, aligned the pieces and tightened the nuts on the threaded rod until the two pieces of aluminum were applying equal pressure the length of the 2 border pieces. He used standard clamps, to both push and pull, for the other piece. The end result was breathtaking. A beautiful table, satisfied customers, and more clamps for the locker.

An assortment of clamps to keep the project together

The end result
Previously published in Good Old Boat Magazine

As many of you know, I'm a huge fan of lists. But as we prepare to get back on the liquid road again, I am reminded of the importance of dealing with said lists. MONDAY we'll give you some pointers on what to do with your to-do list.

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