Thursday, December 6, 2012


Our chainplates are finally done and installed!!  Let me tell you, this was not a cheap upgrade, but the peace of mind this brings us is truly invaluable. We had all the pieces fabricated through Dutchess Metal in NY.  They did a great job, and though there were times when the pieces themselves were imprecise, they were good enough businessmen to fix their mistakes.  The project took as long as it did because we had to ship the originals back to NY and each one usually took about 2-3 weeks to make.  With the sending back and forth and the corrections that had to be made, it took all in all about a year to finally get done.

After all the pieces were fabricated, they had to be polished to mirror finish.  This not only serves a cosmetic purpose, but getting the surfaces as smooth as possible prevents microscopic cracks from holding saltwater and corroding out the metal. The company we had originally worked with, Beaches Brass Polishing, was a great company, but we didn't want to pay the price of having them hand polished.  We opted to go a cheaper route and have them electropolished through a company in Orlando called AM Metal.   This was a big mistake as they came back not at all what we had asked for.  We had originally requested "Mirror Finish" and when we went to pick them up, they didn't even look polished.  The salesman I worked with told me that to get a mirror finish, it required them to be buffed out first, and then dipped into the vat of chemical.  Well, they didn't buff them out and they just electropolished them.  He tried to tell me that I should have specified to do so, and you would assume that I would've been informed of this when I asked for "Mirror Finish,"but this was not the case.  So after some arguing, I told them to redo them with them being buffed out first.  After 1 week, we drove back down to Orlando to discover that in the process of buffing them out, they scratched up all the chainplates!  I was infuriated as we had basically driven back and forth 4 times to still not get the right finish.  When I asked them why they were all scratched up, they had the nerve to tell me that it was just the nature of the metal.  Now that was true bullshit as it was clear that whoever did it just used sandpaper that was too heavy for the job, thus marring all of our plates.  After arguing with the salesman, whom I didn't believe deserve a dime, we took back our chainplates, paid for 50% of the labor, and drove back to St Augustine.  We contacted the original guy we had worked with to hand polish all the scratches off and basically redo them.  Raymond, the owner of the company, did an amazing job, and we regret ever going elsewhere.  The lesson we learned from all of this is that when you have a reputable company that you can trust to work with, stick with them because ultimately, there are far too many incompetent people out there and price you pay to learn this is simply not worth it.  As the saying goes, only fools and paupers pay twice....

Oooo La La...

Whoa, can we say MIRROR finish?

We bedded the chainplates and its corresponding bolts using butyl mastic tape.  This stuff is the best bedding compound we have used thus far as it stays soft, flexible, and sticky. It is easy to apply and very good at keeping water out.

Butyl Mastic taped wrapped around our
shiny, custom-made bolts

After installing all the new chainplates, Frank took the old backstay chainplate and was able to break it just by stepping on it.  We feel very justified in spending so much time and effort in replacing them as as I can't imagine what could've happened in rough seas.

This was broken by Frank stepping on it....
Damn you Crevice Corrosion!