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Thread: Making Cleats

  1. #1

    Default Making Cleats


    Ok, so it took about 2 hours to make this, and it turned out a little thin on top. But since it's only going to hold the centerboard pennant, it should be fine.

    Now that I have an Idea what I am doing, I think I will be able to churn one out in about 15 minutes.
    • A simple guide on the drill press means I can cut the holes for the curves without carefully measuring each block.
    • The order of cutting on the bandsaw is all important when some of the cuts are not at 90 degrees.
    • It's a lot easier to round the end of the cleat on a sander than on a bandsaw.
    • When you are joining a curve (20mm drill bit) and a straight line, don't try for a perfect tangent, cut inside the tangent, tidy up with sandpaper or a file.

    It is still hard to explain why I spent all that time, instead of just buying a half a dozen nylon ones. At least it's hard to explain to some people.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Nice work. What type of wood?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    I've heard that wooden cleats are kinder to ropes and less likely to chafe through as quickly. Or at least that's the rationalization I used when carving these elm cleats for Rowan. I like to drill the mounting bolt through-holes first before cutting out the cleat shape so that I can get them accurate and centered while the board edges are still all straight and square.



    I've got no less than nine locust cleats on Phoebe that need either refinishing or in many cases replacing. I kinda like carving cleats. . . .but seven of them could be replaced with belaying pins and a pin rail instead. . . .hmmm. . . .pondering. . . . .

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Lots of ways to make cleats. These six are narrower and, important in my mind, the underside of the horns slope up so that the space the line wraps around gets larger the further away from the central body of the cleat you go. This is to diminish the chance of the line binding under the cleat. This shape is faster for making up and casting off.


  5. #5

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    made from oak, the horns do slope up a little, I've made up a batch of four, I think in the next batch, i will make the base longer. I'll pop pictures of the batch up on my blog later.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Nothing wrong with wooden cleats and they are sooo much cheaper than storebought. Thinking that a wood cleat is kinder to a line than a smoother metal one is bogus though. A polished stainless or chrome fitting can be almost as friction free as a sheave. Witness the inserts on plastic fairleads.
    Tom L

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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Tom, don't you be shattering my carefully constructed set of rationalizations now. . . .if you hit that bullseye, the rest of my dominoes might fall like a house of cards, and then checkmate! Making your own wooden cleats is a golden opportunity.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    You know what wood makes really really lovely cleats? Lignum Vitae. When finely sanded it takes on a feel like a bar of hard soap, and rope slips over it in a most satisfying manner.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    interesting...

    I was just thinking of replacing the mooring cleats on Utopia with 12" Lignum Vitae cleats....
    There is a joy in madness, that only mad men know. -Nieztsche

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    I. . . .but seven of them could be replaced with belaying pins and a pin rail instead. . . .hmmm. . . .pondering. . . . .
    Go with belaying pins, James. Every boat has cleats, but how many use pins!

    -G
    - Anything you can't have fun with is not worth taking seriously.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    I'll second the suggestion for belaying pins. They are very effective and MUCH harder to snag sheets and lines on. I have two sets on my 16' dory skiff - one set of two for the bowsprit with the starboard pin used for the loop to the jib tack and port pin for anchor or painter, the other set of four for the mast's main, jib and flag halyards plus topping lift.



    That said, another plus to making your own cleats is that you can not only build it for the correct line, but also angle it for best strength. Hervey Garrett Smith and others clearly describe how to do this for various cleat positions.
    Last edited by Thorne; 01-16-2011 at 12:47 PM.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Tom is right [#6 ] that metal cleats are nearly frictionless. But with cleats, friction is your friend which is why in most applications a wooden cleat is superior. So much easier and more control to surge a line with a turn around a wooden cleat. And it only takes a half turn on a wooden cleat when you hold with one hand and sweat the line. This is the way to trim the line most fully.

    One place where metal cleats are superior is where you use a hollow base cleat with a bight passed through since the lead may be in either direction. The other place is where a suitably large four bolt cleat is hard to beat is as the mooring cleat on a boat that needs a little meat there.

    I have moved away from countersinking the bolts in wooden cleats. The bolt shaft is a important part of the cleats strength, as I saw when one of Marmalade’s original wooden cleats - lovely big strong looking things - lost it’s whole top half in a fracture line across the body under the horns. The flat head bolts only came up that high and from there a big hole to hold the bung just left a weak zone. Now I use stove bolt shapes so I can leave the round top proud but the square section just under that holds the bolt nicely when I tighten the nut under.

    On my boom, I still used stove bolts but press-fit into epoxy so no need to further tighten.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    interesting

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    "Stove bolt shapes"? Carriage bolts?

  15. #15

    Default Re: Making Cleats





    The plan is to countersink them for the ones to the mast, with 4" screws, but only so the head of the bolt is level with the top of the cleat.

    I have carriage bolts for the ones through the deck, into big thick backing blocks.

    Now I need linseed oil.....

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stove+bolt

    theres one definition with a drawing.
    Freudian slips : when you say one thing but mean your mother.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    PS beware cheap carriage bolts, the square under the cap is barely any bigger than the bolt, it will easily spin in the wood and then you are sort of stuffed. DAHIKT

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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Lately I've been trying to come up with a decent jam cleat. Not that I really need one, but I have this pile of offcuts that I just can't bring myself to burn. The bigger ones seem to be the right size for 5/16th 3-strand dacron line. I can see Ian's point about not countersinking, though, so these are destined for an as-yet undetermined domestic application.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    This is the pattern I used for jam cleats, from The Marlin Spike Sailor.



    I used them to tie off the down haul and halyard on the mainsail, as well as for jiffy reefing, on my Caledonia Yawl.

    They've made it through the first season with flying colors.

    Jim
    -Jim

    Sucker for a pretty face.
    1934 27' Blanchard Cuiser ~ Amazon, Ex. Emalu
    19'6" Caledonia Yawl ~ Sparrow

    Getting into trouble one board at a time.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Yeah, Carriage bolts, not stove bolts. I have a nice little tool made from a small square hollow of iron that squares the top of the hole with one gentle tap. So rather than drushing it's way in, the bolt gets settled and does not turn in the hole, as happens when you just smash it home.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    Yeah, Carriage bolts, not stove bolts. I have a nice little tool made from a small square hollow of iron that squares the top of the hole with one gentle tap. So rather than drushing it's way in, the bolt gets settled and does not turn in the hole, as happens when you just smash it home.
    Could you post a Picture of this?

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    No pix. I tend to lose the thing between jobs - only about 1" long and they get lost in the bag looking like a scrap of rust, which they really are - and make new ones for whatever size involved. If you can't find a scrap of square section, squared channel iron (3 sides) or angle iron (two sides) will do. It's sometimes hard to find stuff small enough. Anyway, I just put a bevel on the inside of each side and good to go. Since it's a light strike, I don't bother making a fancy handle. If you can't find iron of the right size, aluminum will do for a half dozen cuts into cedar or spruce. Sometimes it's actually just less work to use a very small chisel or, as I did one time when I didn't have the right size chisel, a ground down screwdriver. It's such a small cut almost anything will do. But the cut does let the square section of the bolt settle better. If just smashed in, the corners of the hole in the wood are damaged and the bolt may turn.

    G'luck

  23. #23

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    No pix. I tend to lose the thing between jobs - only about 1" long and they get lost in the bag looking like a scrap of rust, which they really are - and make new ones for whatever size involved. If you can't find a scrap of square section, squared channel iron (3 sides) or angle iron (two sides) will do. It's sometimes hard to find stuff small enough. Anyway, I just put a bevel on the inside of each side and good to go. Since it's a light strike, I don't bother making a fancy handle. If you can't find iron of the right size, aluminum will do for a half dozen cuts into cedar or spruce. Sometimes it's actually just less work to use a very small chisel or, as I did one time when I didn't have the right size chisel, a ground down screwdriver. It's such a small cut almost anything will do. But the cut does let the square section of the bolt settle better. If just smashed in, the corners of the hole in the wood are damaged and the bolt may turn.

    G'luck
    Many thanks, make sense ...

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Three different wooden cleats I made using the patterns from an article in WoodenBoat magazine about 2 years(?) ago. Using a pattern and a flush trim bit in the router did most of the work. Very pleased with them.

    CJ






  25. #25

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Very cool. I didn't think of that....

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Just a handy flag halyard cleat for H28 "Bright Star". The wood was a scrap of Lignum Vitae.
    Jay

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Stinkpotter
    I have just joined the forum. These are very nice. Any chance of a line drawing of that cleat patten? 2 horn cleat that is. I'm looking to make some cleats for my jib sheets on a couta boat. (1947 fishing boat used to catch couta fish in the port philip bay area of melb vic Australia)
    Cheers

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Here's a link to one good pattern ; from the old school NA Edson Schock. You can see the base is fairly broad ,and the bolts spred well apart . I used to have a cleat by Herreshoff on file that shared those characteristics. Shock's are tapered in cross section , which is nice .

    http://im1.shutterfly.com/media/47b7...D550/ry%3D400/
    Last edited by Bill Perkins; 01-29-2011 at 09:54 AM.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    I made two cleats the other day. I should post some pictures but I haven't taken any so maybe later if this thread come up again. I just grabbed some scrap in the garage for an afternoon project. I think one is red oak and I am not sure of the other piece. Anyway they turned out pretty good but I think a ban saw would have made things a lot easier. I basically carved them and they turned out nice but getting both horns perfectly symmetrical was little tough. I think I will toss them on board for backup cleats if one breaks. When I make a set for my future build I will make a pattern, and cut them all on a ban saw so they come out even. I also found that if you sand the crap out of them and they will turn out great. Good luck.
    Justin

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Quote Originally Posted by CJ View Post
    Three different wooden cleats I made using the patterns from an article in WoodenBoat magazine about 2 years(?) ago.
    What page and issue number was the article in? They look really nice!

  31. #31

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Probably one of the most important things is how long the base is, or rather, how far apart the bolts are.

    If the bolts are to close together, nasty things happen when your rope start pulling on the cleat.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    To cope with that you can use Cdr Martin's design, with an extended base to take additional fastenings --

    Mike
    Visit us to see how we help people complete classic boats authentically.

  33. #33

    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Inspiring!

    Just the other day, I was saying to my wife. "You know, if I had a bandsaw, I could make my own cleats. Wouldn't that be nice? Cheaper too."

    She wasn't buying it, alas.

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    What, Ray? No bandsaws?!? Not even one?!?! Dude! How do you live?

    Once you have a bandsaw of your very own, your life will get better in every way. Seriously, this would be the very first stationary power tool I would buy as a boatbuilder.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Making Cleats

    Inspiring for sure. I may need to look for one.

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