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JDC 07-03-2013 08:59 PM

Adding pull up cleats
Who has any tips they can share as far as drilling holes in my boat for pull up cleats?
It appears I need to drill 3/4" holes.

Should I use a hole saw bit? Are there any precautions I need to take to keep from chipping or flaking, or is that even a problem drilling in gelcoat?

Thanks in advance,

MC25 07-03-2013 09:08 PM

id use a step drill bit, and mask off with painters tape to help from cracking.

waterlogged882 07-03-2013 09:08 PM


FrankSchwab 07-03-2013 09:16 PM

Gelcoat is very brittle when drilling, if you don't do it right the edges of the hole will chip while you're drilling, and start spider cracks that will propagate a long way over time.

I was very successful with a step drill, as Aric suggests. Use a small drill, run it in reverse until you get through the gelcoat, then forward through the fiberglass. Then use the step drill up to the diameter you need.

MC25 07-03-2013 09:23 PM


Originally Posted by Cloaked (Post 953820)
Search on the forum. Several threads on this topic.


Is it me or are you the forum nazi? good lord. I'm pretty tired of seeing your useless posts around here

waterlogged882 07-03-2013 09:28 PM


Originally Posted by Aric'sX15 (Post 953825)
Is it me or are you the forum nazi? good lord. I'm pretty tired of seeing your useless posts around here

FY ..........


MC25 07-03-2013 09:41 PM

its really irritating, Im clearly not the only one who thinks so

JRW160 07-03-2013 10:14 PM

There should be backing plates glassed in. Drill in reverse through the gelcoat. Make sure you chamfer the edges of the gelcoat to prevent spider cracks. Use some blue loctite on the nuts to keep them from coming loose.

46Chief 07-03-2013 11:33 PM

Where you getting the cleats from?

KahunaCraft 07-03-2013 11:40 PM

Wonder if duct tape would be better or worst in this application ?

In terms of running cutting bits in reverse, I did the same when I cut plastic siding with a skill saw, prevented the plastic from splintering likely a similar effect with fibreglass/gel coat. I'd buy a high grade bit and take a look at the RPM's of the drill. Slower seems to be better and yes in reverse.

Some other thoughts ..

1. Drill a small pin test hole first 1/8th inch in the area you want to place the cleat, that way if you decide to move the hole 1/2 inch either side you'll be fine. In case where you're off a bit.

2. Take a look at the stock ones, MC had someone do some research on where they go, may not be obvious at first glance. Also helps with resale if you mimic original as much as possible. I'd try to find a relatively flat spot if possible.

3. There are wiring harnesses close by, take your time. Measure three times, drill once.

4. If you're sold on having them, I'm assuming your adding the midship cleats, don't read this point. There are fender adjusters that I use even though I have midship cleats. They work well if the cleat is mainly being used for bumpers. Just a thought.

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