Don’t Lose Your Parts!

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2014 • all rights reserved

Don't lose a critical part or tool down the drain -- follow this one rule BEFORE doing anything else!

Over the last three days, Dave and I (mostly Dave with me being the chief tool hander and third hand) have basically torn the stove apart on our new-to-us boat.

It began with the objective of fixing a propane leak in one burner, and expanded as we discovered that the real problem was that something had spilled/boiled over on the stove, run down through the burner, totally plugged everything up and never been cleaned (more on this in another post).

The end result was that we (read: mostly Dave) had to tear the stove top almost totally apart to clean it. And the best place to do that was in the cockpit, once we got the stove out of the galley.

And so we employed a rule we’d learned the hard way on our previous boat: plug the cockpit drains and scuppers before doing anything else.

It doesn’t have to be fancy — rags or used paper towels will do just fine. The one time we forgot to do this — you guessed it — we lost a critical screw down it. Luckily, Dave was able to jury-rig a substitute, but it taught us a very good lesson.

Not only is there Murphy’s Law at work, but everything slopes down to the drains, making it even more likely that items will roll down the drain.

This time, nothing was lost although many things were dropped . . . and I now have a stove that works really well! Coffee this morning was ambrosia!

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  1. i’ve also taken digital pictures as things come apart as a reminder of what goes where! 1st did that repairing the wind generator.

  2. Patricia Pucher says:

    I love your site and not for the reason you might think. I don’t have a boat but I aim to have a ‘tiny house’. Much of what you say about boats applies to tiny houses too. Thank you, thank you.

  3. Working on the fresh water tank sensor, we dropped a screw inside the tank! Took an hour or so to finally “suck” it out with a hose!

  4. I like to have a couple of different size I think their called earth magnets handy. Super strong small magnets that can help you fis items from a tight spot. You can get them loose and put them on a string or for a few dollars more, you can get several sizes mounted on a telescopic ( old car antenna like) adjustable handle . Great for fishing out of tight spaces and the small ones are unbelievably strong. They even have a model that is in different sizes on both sizes so after you finish working you boat on the dry drag across the work area tomget any of those runaway screws or anything else sharp enough to cause a flat

  5. Just an after add on, keep away from computer drives or any type of media like that it may wipe it clean

    • Barbara Lowell says:

      Yes this actually happened to me … I had to replace my hard drive (Luckily it was recently backed up but Apple service guy charged me around $350 or maybe it was more, can’t remember. Anyway I found out later I overpaid and I was doubly annoyed.

  6. I’m a lurking land-lubber, too. I’m just here for the food. Sailors seem to eat better/live better than campers and RV’ers, while using similar skills. These skills, tips, and techniques are so handy during home-disrupting situations, such as remodeling projects, weather/power emergencies, extended plumbing repairs, etc.

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