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Author Topic: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short  (Read 3010 times)

meechingman

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Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« on: August 28, 2016, 08:25:38 PM »

I've attached some photos of my model of Newhaven's former harbour tug Meeching (1960), built by local modeller Fred Davies a few years ago, on the lake at Princes Park, Eastbourne - Friday 26th August 2016. It was a bit breezier than I expected with no calm spots anywhere on the lake. However Meeching handled very well, didn't roll too much for a 'tall' tug, and was great fun to drive, much like the real thing at times!



Alas, she started to leak through the stuffing tubes and this brought the sailing to a premature end. So both shafts have to be removed and tubes packed with grease, ready for the next outing. The starboard shaft has come out with no problems, but the locking nut on the port shaft refuses to budge - the prop and its locking nut unscrew instead. Access isn't great, I think the deck was added after everything was put in and it's hard to get tools in through the available gaps. So after letting some WD40 soak in for a while, I'll try to hold the UJ between the motor and the shaft tightly while trying to loosen the nut. There's a small grub screw on the UJ, I've loosened that - but should I have done that before trying to undo the locking nut?

If I have problems I'll post again with a couple of photos.

It's clear that the stuffing tubes have been almost grease free for a while. I'll clean the remaining watery goo out with pipe cleaners. There's no rust on the starboard shaft, but it's not smooth - there's a very thin build up of something on it. Presumably I should lightly sand this off? And is it worth cleaning and polishing the props. They're in good order, no dings or nicks, but a little stained here and there.




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boatmadman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 08:31:14 PM »

Try using scotchbrite on the shafts to clean them up.
Ian
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Stavros

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 09:30:13 PM »

If you havnt got any scotchbrite then simply use some pan scouerers and not the metal type

Dave
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meechingman

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Prop shafts, stuffing tubes and props - advice sought.
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2016, 07:41:12 PM »

After much swearing and cussing, I got the port shaft out this evening. After much head scratching, I turned my attention back to the grub screw on the UJ. Maybe it wasn't loosened enough. It turned out (pun intended) that I hadn't been turning it at all, the key had simply been slipping. All subsequent attempts then also failed for the same reason, hence the language. I said to myself "What you really need is a small Allen key that goes around corners!"  :-)

Then I remembered that I'd bought a set of precision tools for working on computers, laptops and ham radio gear. And there, in the case was a set of small Allens, a long handled driver and - a flexible shaft! That had the grub screw loosened in moments and the shaft then unscrewed as it was supposed to, releasing a pool of watery, oily sludge as it exited the tube.

Thanks for the tip about the Scotchbrite and scourer pads, Ian and Stavros! Both shafts are now smooth and gleaming. Is it now worth cleaning and polishing the props? This is a tug, not a speedboat, so does it make a huge difference? Any recommendations on how best to do this?

Finally, packing the tubes. I have a tub of K99 waterproof grease. Would that be too thick for the job? I was thinking of using a syringe loaded with the grease to fill half or a quarter of each tube. There's no access to the end of the tubes from inside the tug, so I'll have to do this from the outside. Then I'll grease the shafts and insert them. Hopefully any excess grease will be pushed out of the tubes.

I've never done this before, though I expect I'll be doing it again with a fleet of four tugs! Am I thinking it through correctly or would you suggest another way.

Thanks
Andy
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boatmadman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2016, 08:44:26 PM »

Amazing the difference a loose screw makes! ;)


Greasing prop shafts is a subject open to much debate. Basically, if you use too much or too thick then it will cause drag and increased load on the motor, although it will only be minimal.


If you have excessive leakage up the shaft, then the drag penalty may well be acceptable in favour of stopping water ingress.


If the bushes have been made to a good tolerance, you should get minimal or no leakage up the tube.


Do you know what the bushes are made of? If bronze they will be hard wearing and may have a degree of self lubrication with the lead content. If brass or anything else, you will need a little lube.


One option I have used is olive oil. This doesnt leave the oily film on water when you go sailing as it is a natural product.


Polishing the props is more of an appearance issue when on the stand, there will be no performance gain for this type of model. If you do polish, be careful not to use an abrasive, as material removal could unbalance the prop and promote vibration (depending on revs).


Ian
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thamestug

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2016, 08:16:44 AM »

I have small plastic syringes which are used for getting liquids into dogs mouths. I inject grease from screw end into shaft until it starts to come out other end. insert shaft whilst holding finger over other end to ensure shaft is well packed. you will find finger will lift with pressure to allow excess grease and air to exit.
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meechingman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2016, 08:35:16 AM »

I have small plastic syringes which are used for getting liquids into dogs mouths. I inject grease from screw end into shaft until it starts to come out other end. insert shaft whilst holding finger over other end to ensure shaft is well packed. you will find finger will lift with pressure to allow excess grease and air to exit.
Thanks for the tip about the finger over the end of the tube while inserting the prop shaft, I hadn't thought of that! I'll de-goo the tubes as soon as the pipe cleaners arrive and then get started on the re-packing.

Bearings look like they're brass rather than bronze, but I'll be able to check when I've got the black goo off.
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meechingman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2016, 10:51:13 PM »

While I'm (still) waiting for the pipe cleaners to arrive to de-goo the tubes (you can't seem to buy these near to me) I had another thought about the tarnished props. After watching a clip on youtube where a lady cleaned up some empty bullet cases with nothing more than tomato ketchup, I decided to try it. Dunked them in some Heinz for 15 minutes, rinsed them off in warm water and dried them. All the tarnish was gone! I was so impressed I bought a tub of Brasso this evening and spent five minutes giving them a further buff up. They now look like new. It probably won't make the tug faster or increase its bollard pull, but it sure looks good. :)

Looking again at the outer bearings on the tubes, they do look more bronze in colour, darker than brass, but if they do have a self-lubricating element, it must be minimal.

Got the syringe this evening - I told the young lady at the pharmacy what I needed it for and she seemed most impressed, she didn't charge me for it! I'll need to file down the nozzle just a touch to make a good fit just inside the bearings - I don't want grease going everywhere!
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meechingman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2016, 12:17:42 PM »

Well, while doing all the work on the props and shafts I thought it a good idea to check if there was the possibility of water ingress anywhere else. The tops of the rudder tubes are above the water line so they are OK and they'll be greased anyway. "Aha" I thought "I'll just check the hawsepipes to see if any water could get past the anchors."


Shock, horror! The original builder, though having made a fantastic model, had not sealed the anchor openings at all. On both port and starboard bows is a 3/8" x 1/4" opening. It's well above the water line on a flat sea, but not above the bow wave line at full speed or above the waterline if she hits a wave. And where the anchor chains pass through the deck, there are two more holes.
So now I'm faced with the problem of sealing an opening from the outside, effectively up the hawsepipe (which is where I'll be if I can't find a solution!  :-) ). Some sort of wooden wedge, maybe, glued in and then sealed and painted (it won't be visible unless you turn the tug upside down so appearance isn't an issue). The deck holes will just get a drop of black sealant and I'll paint the anchor chains black instead of bare metal. They should be black anyway - they were always repainted after use (once in a very blue moon!).


I'll take a photo when I get back home and maybe someone will come up with a great idea!
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meechingman

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Re: Meeching - a nice afternoon's sailing cut short
« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2016, 09:56:41 AM »

So how did I fill the holes? I thought about getting a couple of pieces of balsa and cutting them to size, but then I thought about using chunks of polystyrene. So, I cut two slightly oversized pieces from a bit of packaging and gently pushed them into the gaps at the top of the anchor openings until they were firmly in place. That left a few small chinks, so I decanted some silicone sealant into a small syringe and squeezed some in. It was gently brushed into place with a small paintbrush and the sealant also acts as a glue to stop the polystyrene from moving. The gaps are no more, so all that's left is to paint the areas dark blue (as I said, you can't actually see them unless you turn the model upside down, but it's still worth doing!).


The two small holes where the anchor chains run through the deck were each filled with a little blob of Milliput and painted gloss black. I will get around to painting the anchor chains black, as well as the chains that hold the bow fenders. Meeching hardly ever used her anchors while at Newhaven, and my Dad, and his successor (well trained!), would ensure that the paintbrushes were regularly wielded by the crew to keep the rust at bay, so gloss black would be accurate.


That just leaves the propshafts to be lubed and re-inserted. The only problem I have is that, once again, the model was built from the bottom up, everything inserted and then the deck added, with no real access. I'll have to cut two small openings in the deck to get a pair of long nosed pliers or a small spanner through to tighten up the inboard propshaft nuts. I can then cover the openings easily enough, as they are covered by the superstructure when it's in place.


All good fun, but worth it to get her watertight for her next sailing.
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