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Gunwale Screws...

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by pklonowski, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. pklonowski

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    I came up with this neat trick while working on composite canoes, but it seems like it would be quite appropriate for real canoes, too. And maybe other folks are already doing this, but I don’t recall hearing of this, and it seems pretty handy.

    The issue I’ve had has been driving screws into inwales & outwales. A regular screwdriver doesn’t provide enough torque to be comfortable after the first 15 or 20 screws, leaving about 40 or 45 left to go. Driving with a power tool resulted in cracked rails, which is not pretty.

    Lee Valley Tools used to sell an adapter for a ratchet, but I couldn’t find it on their site. Turns out it’s now available at auto parts stores, under different brand names: Titan Finger Grip Drivers, Toolworks Thumb Ratchet, and probably others. It looks like the exact same thing, only it’s a set of three, all the same size; see attached image. Don’t ask me why you need three of the same size.

    The adapter fits onto a ¼” drive ratchet, and your driver tip fits in its other end. I hold the ratchet arm, and use the thumb wheel to start the screw (pilot holes, of course), then when I start feeling some bite on the threads, I use the ratchet to drive it home, slowly. The best part is, you can feel when the screw bottoms out in the countersink, so you know when to stop, and the rails don’t end up cracked.

    Like I said, maybe some folks already know this... but I was impressed!

    Attached Files:

  2. Andy Hutyera

    Andy Hutyera The Red Canoe Guy - Life Member

    I have a similar item I have had for years. It has internal reduction gears and you use your hand on the outer ring as a clutch. It gives much better control than the slipping clutch found on most good cordless drills. I think mine came from Sears a zillion years ago and was bought for the same reason you mention — mostly to save blisters from installing many many screws. It also reverses - a feature that likely predates that little reversing switch we now find on our power drills. Mine mounts in a power drill rather than using a ratchet.
    mmmalmberg likes this.
  3. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

    Very interesting! I think my grandfather had something like it, but his was seized with rust, before I ever saw it. We weren't sure what it was, but I'll bet it was just that...
  4. OP

    pklonowski Unrepentant Canoeist

  5. Mike Fretwell

    Mike Fretwell Curious about Wooden Canoes

    Would a drywall dimpler work? They are usually Phillips but Robertson are available. With a counter sunk pilot hole this should work. Cheap and easy.
    Tom Moye likes this.
  6. martin ferwerda

    martin ferwerda LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I use one of these, Old Miller Falls spiral screw driver with adapter for hex bits, 2 pushes gets the screw snug and a quick turn with a regular screw driver gets it tight.

    Attached Files:

  7. Dan Miller

    Dan Miller cranky canoeist Staff Member

    bit-and-brace works pretty well too.
    Tom Moye and Dan Lindberg like this.
  8. cmandan

    cmandan New Member

    Thanks for sharing your views! I am a new member and getting familiar with the culture here.
  9. mmmalmberg

    mmmalmberg LOVES Wooden Canoes

    My dad had one we used on a drill press. It was great. Bulky but just cool. Couldn't find it when we cleared out their house (amidst quite a lot of stuff).

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