Got Wobbly Stainess?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Sometimes stainless bimini and rail connectors aren't very snug and the structure is just plain wobbly. Here's our quick and inexpensive solution.

Whether it’s a bimini/dodger frame, dinghy davits or something else, most boats have some stainless tubing that ends up getting used as a handhold. And the connections can be, well, a little less than secure. Sometimes so bad that you notice the wobbles even when you’re not holding on to it.

This past weekend we redid some of the stainless on our dinghy davits to accommodate a large 345-watt solar panel. We put a larger diameter and thicker wall bar on and added diagonals to make it stiffer and keep the davits from pivoting.

But the whole assembly was still a little shaky.

The problem is that some of the connectors don’t fit snugly together. Great for ease of connections, not so great for creating a sturdy frame.

Our solution is to shim the joints with washers– stainless, of course.

Sometimes stainless bimini and rail connectors aren't very snug and the structure is just plain wobbly. Here's our quick and inexpensive solution.

Usually the “jaw” connector has one screw for connecting the “eye” from the other piece as well as a screw that tightens it onto a stainless rail. We usually have to loosen the screw holding it onto the rail as well as remove the connection screw, carefully insert the washers and then stick the connector screw back in and tighten everything up. TIP: Sometimes it helps to line up the screw holes and washers with an ice pick before trying to put the connector screw back in.

Sometimes stainless bimini and rail connectors aren't very snug and the structure is just plain wobbly. Here's our quick and inexpensive solution.

If you don’t loosen the screw (sometimes a setscrew) that holds the piece to the rail, you won’t be able to get enough washers in to make a really snug fit. Be sure to use a drop of Loctite (blue — not the red “permanent” type) on each screw.

You can use this same trick to tighten up connections on existing stainless around the boat, too. I’m sure that Home Depot wonders why we buy 50 washers at a time and no bolts or nuts!

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Comments

  1. Just what I was looking for. Thanks!

  2. Levey Peterson would this help with the antenna holder?

  3. Yes, it would. Thanks for that. How do you find stuff like this? I look for years, and you find it less than a minute!

  4. Levey Peterson The Boat Galley is the best!!! It’s where I got all our info for provisioning last summer. Like their page. They have a ton of useful tips for living on/working on your boat.

  5. Ahoy Carolyn , T Y for your time and effort on your blog , as a new reader, I look forward to reading your archive for useful tips .
    BTW , when I stack SS washers I get a heap of rusting around and between them , even using 316 ss washers.
    My remedy is to use silicon bronze washers and or silicon bronze bolts to stop that rust corrosion on and around the ss fittings . It seems to me that the bronze washers corrode green , but the ss fittings don’t seem to rust anymore .

  6. We use various thickness ‘plastic/nylon’ chopping boards for similar issues. Use a circular hole cutter to create washers or spacers that are amazingly durable. We used thick strips to space out the wheels for our aluminium hulled dinghy where the hull trailing edge had a lip. We have several sacrificial chopping boards in the workshop and they do get used! The other benefit is the range of colours and the cheapness ………..

  7. So simple it’s genius!

  8. Great idea!

  9. Lucky Read

  10. Convenient in a harbor or in sheltered waters but it is not a good idea to use a davit offshore. They are no match for a pooping.

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