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Thread: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

  1. #1
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    Default Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I am building a KDI from Chase Small Craft. It is a clinker built Okoume/Epoxy boat. There are several places where lines are led through holes in wooden spars, similar to the Caledonia Yawl. I have been on boats where this is done and the lines can slowly saw through the holes. In addition, synthetic lines have very fine fibers and, unless the holes are tediously worked after epoxy coating a small wood fiber, coated with epoxy, becomes a needle that catches the line.

    The fix is some kind of fairlead. Here is a guy who used flared copper tubing as fairlead. I bought some copper tubing (⅜” and ½”) and a tool and have made these. I plan on using them everywhere I can. I think I can glue them in and clean out any squeeze-out where they join.

    I will update this as I go.


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Welcome to da Forum.

    Can't see pics, acquaint yourself with the FAQs for help with this.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Thank you Massive Member.

    When you say you can't see the pics do you mean the links I included don't lead to anywhere? Or, perhaps you are expecting pictures included in the text (which I did not do) and since you don't see pictures you presume I put them and they aren't showing. Perhaps the links don't even show up as links (for example the letters KDI above are a link on my screen)?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I clicked the links and got the photos

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Thanks. The world is back to a normal level of chaos again.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I'll be interested to see how the verdigris works out once these get salty. Nice work!
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Good idea. I like the way copper works too. I have copper bits and pieces all over Drake.

    Lines always tend to snarl. The bigger the fairlead-radius the better, within reason. Will 1/2" be big enough?

    Can you do it in copper water pipe rather than tubing, if you soften it with heat? That would be an interesting experiment.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Quote Originally Posted by Thorne View Post
    I'll be interested to see how the verdigris works out once these get salty. Nice work!
    I have 4 copper fairleads (normal shaped ones) on my mast for the main halyard. Admittedly, it's wire, but the green seems to stay on the outside.

    I like this idea too - but wouldn't want more than 1/4 - 5/16 line through a 1/2" faiirlead.
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    RE: Verdigris
    My feeling is that (I am going to “dry sail it”) any green will be minimal and add to the retro (non-stainless steel) look of the boat but it could be polished if desired. I won’t know about that for some years, I guess.

    Lines snarl ½”
    Yah, I am concerned about that. I think the largest line I have that needs a fairlead (I think) is ¼”. That will go through a flared ½” tube. The tool I bought will flare ⅝” tubing but I didn’t buy any. I think the largest running rigging on the boat is 5/16” but that is a sheet that runs through blocks.

    A line could take a turn just at the hole and jam but that could happen with a wooden hole too. It might be easier to unjam the turn at the opening with copper than wood, but that is speculation.

    RE: can you soften typical copper
    I don’t know. I have some it is rated “K” which is hard. Some research or an experiment could answer this but I don’t know. I spent about $100 on 50’ of ½” and ⅜” soft copper tubing. I will probably have 45’ of each left when I finish. My plan is to pass the “kit” along to someone for some small remuneration.

    I did come up with this independently but found the link to the guy above (with the Herreshoff) that did it and went for it. Before buying the Flared tubing I used brass grommets as a fairlead in some of the 1/4" Okoume bulkheads for attaching small lines for bumpers. I had to "spotface" the two sides of the Okoume to get the thickness down to just less than 1/8" before putting the ring on the ferrule and hammering it over. That worked great.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    If you have access to a lathe, fairleads can be made of Lignum Viatae or Osage Orange which can be glued in place with G/flex epoxy. This will eliminate corroded copper. If ever they need removal it requires only a drill of the correct size to take them out.
    Jay

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Many fiberglass outboards have transom drains with brass ferrules and there’s a flaring tool for same. On a dry-sailed boat, brass is less a worry.


    https://www.amazon.com/Moeller-02125...83992314&psc=1

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I'd completely forgotten until Jim mentioned drains, but 15 years ago or so, I installed some drains for my cockpit seats. The seats slope aft a bit & always collected some water in the aft outer corners. I flared some 1/4" copper tubing, ran it down through the seat & onto the cockpit sole. Epoxied the flare into the top of the seat so it was flush. Anyway - little or no green & the water hasn't worn through the copper yet
    "If it ain't broke, you're not trying." - Red Green

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I like that idea. It sounds beautiful. Perfect for "furniture grade" boats. Mine is a "first boat built" grade boat.

    While it takes about 10 minutes to make one (side) of a copper fairlead I suspect it might be longer with a lathe turned piece. I have seen much larger fairleads (for anchor rodes) made from heated PVC pipe. Like the copper it becomes sacrificial in that it can be removed with a heat gun and replaced. I would be very disappointed to have to replace a beautiful lathe turned piece years later but that is the risk with "furniture grade".

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    i've been using copper and brass tubing flaired on both sides of knife handles for many years

    provides a "finished" look to the lanyard hole

    have seen @ a messabout where one builder used solid brass grommets as fairleads

    and somewhere in the way back portion of this gray haired mind there is an image of a threaded tool that sets grommets maintaining a nice fair finish on both sides

    guess i've got some more research to do ;-)

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    RE: brass grommets used as fairleads
    Yup. I have those too. I used them in the bulkheads behind the seat backs for tying fenders and here in the centerboard lift (25 seconds into the video).

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    That's a nice collection of build videos you've got there TS. I built, sailed and sold on the first iteration of the KDI, she was a good looking, fun and capable little boat. Which sail plan are you going with?
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    RE: sail plan
    Balanced Lug

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    We have been using your pictures as a reference. Nice work, sorry to hear it is gone.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I am too, sometimes. But the ability to launch a boat around here is frustratingly limited and I built another, bigger boat that lives in the water ready to go. Feel free to ask questions, though you appear to have things well in hand.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    Annealled copper tube can be "dapped" into just about any shape you want using a small ball peen hammer and some courage.
    Drill the hole, carve the shape of the chamfer you want and using handful of different sized ball bearings, punches, a formed conical shape of hard wood or metal can get you just about anything you want.
    Annealling or softening copper is simple, heat it red hot, drop it in some water and voila! Like putty.
    I sometimes make fairleads from thick bronze bushing stock, chamfering and fussing the inside until I like it, then grind or cut a groove or some notches around the OD and set it into a hardwood block using epoxy.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    RE: Annealed copper
    There you go. I couldda saved $50 on the 1/2" tubing I bought. (I didn't have 3/8".)

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Flared copper tubing as a fairlead

    I use "Pipe" the sizing is different and pipe is available in different wall thickness.
    It is all the same after it is annealed. (Like putty)

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