An Ice Pick Onboard?

When we bought our first cruising sailboat, I was sort of surprised to find an ice pick in the galley drawer. Oh well, I figured, something that the previous owners thought they needed.

You see, I knew better than to use an ice pick to chip ice out of the freezer to defrost it. The first “real cruisers” we ever met had told us the story of losing their refrigeration halfway across the Pacific due to an errant stab with the ice pick. So why would anyone have an ice pick on board?

I soon learned, and the ice pick became one of our most-treasured tools on board. We use it for three main things:

  • Line up bolt and screw holes
  • As an awl to make a dimple where a hole needs to be drilled
  • Scraping out small areas

Last fall when we moved aboard Barefoot Gal and began doing some work on her, we immediately realized that we needed an ice pick. While we’d been living ashore between boats, we hadn’t really missed one.

But on a boat where you’re always trying to line up bolt or screw holes that you can’t see? Essential gear to us. Dave will often put the ice pick through one set of mounting holes, then rotate the item to get a second set of holes lined up where he can get a bolt or screw started. A demonstration (out in the open, so I could take a picture):

Favorite Tool for DIY Projects -- Ice Pick: You think of an ice pick as something used in the kitchen in days gone by . . . but it's an essential tool on our boat!

I learned something. Finding an ice pick in a store is tough. People just don’t buy them any more.

I’d be in housewares, and ask a clerk if they had one. Younger clerks literally didn’t know what I was talking about, and clerks closer to my age would say something like “Geez, I haven’t seen one of those in ages!”

It quickly became clear to me that at least around here I wasn’t going to find one and I might as well stop wasting my time going from store to store. Amazon and Prime delivery it was!

One note: we prefer the square handles to round as they are easier to grip without slipping. It’d be really nice to find one with a rubber handle like a screwdriver, but haven’t seen one yet. This is the one we have, although ours came with a black handle instead of the natural wood. It saw a lot of use during our engine rebuild!

To be honest, I chose this one because it was the cheapest one with a square handle. The fact that it came with a sheath was just a nice bonus and I figured it would keep me from stabbing myself with it in the drawer. But Barefoot Gal came with this great tool rack and one of the tiny holes fits the ice pick perfectly, so it lives there and the sheath was eventually repurposed in another project.

Favorite Tool for DIY Projects -- Ice Pick: You think of an ice pick as something used in the kitchen in days gone by . . . but it's an essential tool on our boat!

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