ABI windlass

Fellow forum members,

My BCC came with an ABI bronze windlass that’s need some maintenance. I
contacted already ABI and although they had been very correct, they had
been not of much help. I need to take it apart in order to clean, lub
and probably replace some parts. My questions are:

Does anyone have a user / maintenance manual to guide in doing this job?

I think the first task I should do to take it apart, is to untwist
counter clock wise the clutch nut. I tried already that (with the help
of some WD-40) but it seam frozen. I’m afraid not doing the right thing
and make the things even worst. Can anyone give me some tips on how to
get that bronze beauty apart?

Luis Dordio Gomes

Anhinga, hull 83

This e-mail and any attachment is for authorised use by the intended recipient(s) only. It may contain proprietary material, confidential information and/or be subject to legal privilege. It should not be copied, disclosed to, retained or used by, any other party. If you are not an intended recipient then please promptly delete this e-mail and any attachment and all copies and inform the sender. Thank you.

There is a whole forum on them here:

http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/archive/index.php/t-60171.html

Which windlass is it? The one with the center lever or the large one with the side lever?

I rebuilt our center lever RC Plath windless, which is the one ABI purchased and sent to China to have copied. If I can help let me know.

In short, they are easy to rebuild.

Rod

Is the one with the center lever.

ABI windlass.JPG

Rod,

I couldn?t got any manual, but looking at the pictures attached I think the first thing to do to take it apart, is to untwist part # 1 ? clutch nut, like if you were loosening out some chain. I?m not sure if it should untwist counter or clock wise. I have tried both ways, using the handle and the wildcat pawl as a stopper but count’n loose the nut.

Any tips?

Anhinga Wrote:

Rod,

I couldn?t got any manual, but looking at the
pictures attached I think the first thing to do to
take it apart, is to untwist part # 1 ? clutch
nut, like if you were loosening out some chain.
I?m not sure if it should untwist counter or clock
wise. I have tried both ways, using the handle and
the wildcat pawl as a stopper but count’n loose
the nut.

Any tips?

Luis Dordio Gomes
Anhinga, hull 83

Luis,
Last summer I finally tore down Itchen’s ABI windlass (same as yours), to clean & lubricate and inspect. It is a marvelously rugged and un-fussy piece of equipment which has never given us a bit of trouble, but it seemed overdue for a 100,000 mile service. Came apart easily and logically and we cleaned out all the old salty black gunky grease with mineral spirits (kerosene or diesel should work as well) regreased it with expensive Lewmar winch grease and put it back together. Worked just as well as before and could not tell any difference but at least I felt virtuous.

So I am puzzled by your trouble in getting it apart as the method you outlined above sounds exactly correct in every detail. Can you loosen the clutch at all or is it still frozen? It loosens counterclockwise if my memory is correct. At the moment I am in Florida and Itchen is in Maine but if you are still having trouble I will look at it in ten days when I get back home. That is a very robust piece of equipment with a big coarse-threaded shaft and clutch nut, so if frozen and unoiled for a long time it could take a lot of force to move it. I assume you may have already tried heat with a propane torch, penetrating oil, etc?

Welcome to the club . . . .! What are your cruising plans once finished fitting her out?

Thanks Scott.

WE both agree! It?s really a beauty. This windlass and the four bronze Barient winches Anhinga has on deck and that I have also to maintain.

But first thing first, the clutch nut is really frozen after several years of no maintenance and worse, no use. I have the habit of not use brut force on a piece of equipment before I am sure how it works. With your confirmation I?m now confident that nut must untwist. I?ll let you know.

About cruising plans, as you know I?m based in Portugal (you can take a look on the Who’s Where page). This year I?m planning after making Anhinga operational again, just to explore her in different kinds of weather along the Portuguese coast and north of Spain.

After that the Med is my goal. And that?s for sure, at least once, I need to cross this big pond that I?m looking at from my veranda.

Anhinga Wrote:

Thanks Scott.

WE both agree! It?s really a beauty. This windlass
and the four bronze Barient winches Anhinga has on
deck and that I have also to maintain.

Although now out of business, I think there may still be an after-market source for Barient springs and pawls, etc. from an Australian(?) supplier. Don’t have the address here on Sanibel, but it is all on the boat in Maine. Nice winches; strong, simple, and easy to service.

But first thing first, the clutch nut is really
frozen after several years of no maintenance and
worse, no use. I have the habit of not use brut
force on a piece of equipment before I am sure how
it works. With your confirmation I?m now confident
that nut must untwist. I?ll let you know.

If you are not in a hurry, I will check out Itchen’s ABI in a week or two to make sure of the best way to start that disassembly. I’m pretty certain it is counterclockwise, but better safe than sorry with a big frozen nut. I would start with a few days of alternating heat and penetrating oil. Hydraulic brake fluid used to seem somewhat better than WD40 (which someone recently told me is just relabeled and perfumed kerosene. Maybe so, maybe not, who knows?!) Rod – are you there and do you recall whether the gypsy clutch loosens counterclockwise? Once that is off, the rest of the disassembly was rather obvious and straightforward.

About cruising plans, as you know I?m based in
Portugal (you can take a look on the Who’s Where
page). This year I?m planning after making Anhinga
operational again, just to explore her in
different kinds of weather along the Portuguese
coast and north of Spain.

After that the Med is my goal. And that?s for
sure, at least once, I need to cross this big pond
that I?m looking at from my veranda.

Yes, last year we were headed for Cape Breton with thoughts of wintering the boat
there and then crossing over this year. But we got diverted by the pleasures of Maine and ended up buying a place there and will do that coast this coming summer and fall. After that who knows . . .

Scott

Luis Dordio Gomes
Anhinga, hull 83

Parts source for Barient winches:

Just ordered springs, gears and gear extension from Hutton-Arco (www.huttonwinches.com) Parts were stock…Bruno got them to me within 10 days.
They also have explosion view of winches to identify the correct parts. They are located in Australia by the way.

Good luck

Mark
SV “Lightfoot” # 93

Scott,

It untwists counterclockwise. I finally took it today with the help of the WD-40 I sprayed a couple days before and heat applied with a heat gun. Now a need to clean and lubricate it.

To clean the internal gears I?ll use white spirit or parafine but what to use to clean the outside bronze body?

Anhinga Wrote:

Scott,

It untwists counterclockwise. I finally took it
today with the help of the WD-40 I sprayed a
couple days before and heat applied with a heat
gun. Now a need to clean and lubricate it.

Bingo!

To clean the internal gears I?ll use white spirit
or parafine but what to use to clean the outside
bronze body?

First question – is it lacquered, or corroded, or pitted or only “patinated”?
Scott

Luis Dordio Gomes
Anhinga, hull 83

It is “deeply patinated”.

I don’t want to make it shine but I would like it more dark gold than green.
After that I’m thinking to protect it with some liquid wax.

I’m planning to do the same to all the deck bronze hardware.

Is this feasible or just live it to the weather.

Anhinga Wrote:

It is “deeply patinated”.

I don’t want to make it shine but I would like it
more dark gold than green.
After that I’m thinking to protect it with some
liquid wax.

I’m planning to do the same to all the deck bronze
hardware.

Is this feasible or just live it to the weather.

Feasible, for certain. Worth the effort? Now, there’s the rub . . .!
I find that keeping the saloon table’s brass pipe support, the Sam L. Morse maker & and hull number cast-brass plaque, and the companionway ladder support as beautifully polished as when conveyed by MarK Giegel takes all the time and zeal I can muster. Everything else including the ABI windlass has been mostly left to it’s own devices. But, for the most part, most of the brass has arrives at a pleasant brown patina and without too much green. Seems to be a factor of how much handling and use individual surfaces get. Salt spray or fingerprints need to be cleaned-off from time to time.

As to whether to lacquer, wax, or leave alone, I generally prefer wax over lacquer, and certainly wax over doing nothing. Lacquer maintains a beautiful polish longer than anything else, but when it starts to go, which it eventually will, watch out! It then can be hard to remove and any defect becomes very obvious and sometimes even pitted – in contrast to adjacent areas with thicker or un-crazed lacquer. Wax can be easily removed or refurbished and leads to a much more even and gradual darkening (patination) of the underlying surface. It also minimizes the effect of sweaty fingerprints on polished surfaces.

That said, if one chooses to lacquer, one can get beautiful and long-lasting results by using INCRALAC, a proprietary acrylic lacquer which contains a benzotriazole tarnish inhibitor. It is available commercially but I do not know a current source. Do not brush it because brush marks will eventually always show up as tarnish. It must be sprayed or dipped.

All the above is based on many years working as a conservator in a museum with a large brass band instrument collection and lot’s of time to observe the dire results of more or less misguided treatment and handling. Basically, nothing works forever. One just does the best which time, budget and circumstances permit . . .!

As for which wax? There are expensive microcrystalline + polyethylene museum waxes – “Renaissance Wax” is one." but for the present purpose I tend to use good old “Butchers Wax” Inexpensive, widely available, and has a lot of carnauba in it, which gives a hard, shiny and longer lasting finish.

Scott

Luis Dordio Gomes
Anhinga, hull 83

Thanks Scott for the lacquer and wax tip.

For cleaning and polishing I suppose any general propose household yellow metal cleaner will do for brass, bronze or even copper, isn’t it?

Anhinga Wrote:

Thanks Scott for the lacquer and wax tip.

For cleaning and polishing I suppose any general
propose household yellow metal cleaner will do for
brass, bronze or even copper, isn’t it?

Luis Dordio Gomes
Anhinga, hull 83

Polishing. Ok, this is what I use on Itchen and for marine fittings in general – THIS IS NOT what I recommend for musical instruments, museum antiquities, anything delicate. Very Important Difference. In our situation a lot of surface area needs polishing and most of us choose to use a polish which gives a good result reasonably quickly. I use Brasso. However Brasso contains ammonia, plus a not particulary fine grade of pumice. These very qualities which make it effective when polishing thick cast brass or bronze yacht fittings are the same qualities which make it unsuitable for delicate or valuable antiquities. 1. The ammonia can cause preferential removal of zinc, and also stress corrosion cracking in work-hardened brass (your old trumpet, for example). 2. The pumice removes enough tarnish or corroded metal to clean quickly but also removes more material than is appropriate for antiquities.

For buffing with power tools and a cloth or felt buffing wheel, jewelers rouge is effective, gives a high polish and does not remove as much netal as pumice or rottenstone. I tends to burnish instead of cut. Again, this is not advice intended for anything other than replaceable marine fittings. It is amazing how much metal can be removed by polishing again and again over the years – another reason to minimize the need for frequent polishing, by following up with wax or lacquer protection.
Scott

Hello Luis,

To clean the bronze with the heavy patina I would use a product like Brasso or Noxom which also contains amonia. If I could not remove the hardware and put on a wheel, I would use some bronze wool with the cleaner on areas of severe oxidation.(do not use steel wool) I had all of the bronze on the exterior polished to a high mirror finish at one point. I got to much ribbing from fellow sailors so I have slacked off a bit. The look does not last long. Most “sailors” like the look of the bluegreen patina as it imparts the perception that one has been out in the ocean at some point.
Best to luch to you
Mark
SV “Lightfoot” no 93

ps I have noted that in this thread we have the hull numbers 73, 83 and 93.
I may have toplay those numbers this weekend.