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ProStarMike
08-28-2005, 10:04 AM
All:

Has anyone installed either the MC or aftermarket Pull-up cleats on their boats? I picked up a very nice set of Accon Marine stainless pull-up cleats (I have three - one for the bow, and one for each side near the stern). They look well-made and have a very solid stainless steel backing plate. Here's a link: http://acconmarine.com/products.asp?cat=3&subcat=3&view=PROD

The backing plate also serves as the cut-out template. Each cleat will require you to drill two holes, and cut an oval opening for the cleat mechanism to slide through. It then sits almost flush with the deck. I have easy access to the underside of the gunwale everywhere I want to install the cleats, so this should be a smooth installation.

My question to this list is in regards to cutting through the gelcoat and fiberglass to install the cleats. I've installed Bimini tops on several boats that I have owned in the past, and one problem I've encountered is that gelcoat tends to chip when you cut or drill it. You may only drill a 1/4" hole, for example, but a piece of gelcoat 1/2" or more may decide crack off when you drill that hole. The cleats have a flange around them, so if there is a small chunk that cracks off past where I am cutting or drilling, you won't see it when the cleat is installed. However, if a larger piece decides to come off that the flange can't cover, that could cause me to throw a temper tantrum in front of the neighbors! :)

If there is a trick to keeping the gelcoat from cracking past where you are actually cutting, please share your expertise/tricks of the trade!

Thanks in advance,

-- Mike

H20skeefreek
08-28-2005, 10:16 AM
place several layers of masking tape down, mark the spot, then start your drilling in reverse. once you are through the gel, put the drill in fwd, then finish your hole. If you have a countersink bit, countersink it a little to prevent the bolt from cracking the gel.

JohnnyB
08-28-2005, 10:24 AM
Mike,

I don't know that you're pioneering here....hope to see lots of advice get posted for you. Once you gather all the info, can you take step-by-step pics of your project. I'd like to do this to my boat over the winter or next spring and am interested in tips, tricks, etc as well as how they look when they're finished, where you put them, how you liked them there, etc.

Good luck. I'll be anxiously watching this thread for more info.

NatesGr8
08-28-2005, 11:22 AM
I agree with skifreek, but i thought you were supposed to run the drill in reverse the entire time. Thats how the fellas at monster tower instructed me to do it. :twocents:

SD190EVO
08-28-2005, 11:28 AM
If you have a Dremel, that works much better than a drill. You can very carefully route out the shape desired with no chipping of the gel.

I have done the install on several boats and it works great.

erkoehler
08-28-2005, 11:47 AM
Also use the sharpest bits that you can find!!!!

ProStarMike
08-28-2005, 01:18 PM
If you have a Dremel, that works much better than a drill. You can very carefully route out the shape desired with no chipping of the gel.

I have done the install on several boats and it works great.

I have a dremel, so that is good advice, especially for the oval opening that must be cut out. I could use the abrasive cutting wheels it has to at least cut thru the gel-coat layer to prevent the gelcoat from cracking past the cut-out area. For the holes, I could run the drill in reverse no problem to at least get thru the gelcoat area first, then flick it to forward and power on through the fiberglass.

I also was told to use masking tape, so I will do that for sure.

Keep the tips coming! I will be sure to take pictures of the whole project. I am trying to do it this week, before we head to Norris. Hard to tie the boat up to a dock without cleats! :-(

-- Mike

erkoehler
08-28-2005, 01:22 PM
I also heard someone on here state that you should file the edges after cutting or drilling to prevent cracking.

bigmac
08-28-2005, 01:30 PM
I have a dremel, so that is good advice, especially for the oval opening that must be cut out. I could use the abrasive cutting wheels it has to at least cut thru the gel-coat layer to prevent the gelcoat from cracking past the cut-out area. For the holes, I could run the drill in reverse no problem to at least get thru the gelcoat area first, then flick it to forward and power on through the fiberglass.

I also was told to use masking tape, so I will do that for sure.

Keep the tips coming! I will be sure to take pictures of the whole project. I am trying to do it this week, before we head to Norris. Hard to tie the boat up to a dock without cleats! :-(

-- Mike

I have a friend that owns a body shop and does a moderate amount of fiberglass work. To drill holes, he uses an air-powered die grinder with a router bit. After he gets throught the gelcoat, he drills the hole in the fiberglass. Just before he mounts whatever hardware he's installing, he put a little dab of polyester resin around the edges of the hole to seal micro-cracks (his term) in the gelcoat and pushes the mounting bolt through while it's wet. He acknowledges that removing the harware at any later date is problematic in that doing so does tend to chip the gelcoat.

erkoehler
08-28-2005, 02:47 PM
I don't see why you would take them out, so that shouldn't be a concern.

DanC
08-29-2005, 02:05 PM
I installed two MC "brand" pull-up cleats in my PS209 myself. They were not Accon, I forget which OEM mfg. No problems at all with gel coat chipping. H20skeefreek hit the important points. I don't run the drill in reverse, just go slow. Plenty of masking tape. Scroll saw with an agressive metal cutting blade, I forget the tpi. Bevel the gel coat edges (countersink) so that the hardware hits only fiberglass and not the edge of the gel coat.

btw, for those of you who keep recommending SHARP drill bits. I find DULL drill bits work better. They have less chance of digging into the gel coat and pulling up a chip. Same reason why many recommend running your drill in reverse to get through the gel coat.

AirJunky
08-29-2005, 02:16 PM
I don't see why you would take them out, so that shouldn't be a concern.
Several towers on my own & my friend's boats....... several things that tend to happen that would warrant removing the tower.
- the wood backing plates crack
- the rubber under the tower feet will squeeze out one side or another.
- loose nuts
Over the last 5 yrs, I've removed my tower once to adjust or realign things. I can see the rubber under the cleats being a similar problem too.