Gill Deckhand Gloves

The Deckhand Gloves have lightweight polyester-spandex shells with doubled synthetic suede Amara reinforcements and padding. None of these materials hold much water, so they dry fast. The elasticity of the shell makes it much easier to put on and take off than a leather glove. A side benefit is that the materials provide UV50+ protection, an important factor for us in Florida.

Outboard Extension Handles

Having the HelmsMate’s U-joint locked out provides positive control of the motor, and I was comfortable using even the full extension while pushing 5 knots. With the diagonal slot tightening the connection and the socket squeezed tight on the tiller handle, the only play is in the tiller’s connection to the motor head. I like motoring standing up, and the HelmsMate, locked straight, works very well for that.

Grappling Hooks

The grappling hook (also known as a grappling iron or grapnel) that I made a while back from some stainless-steel rod and a few cable ties worked well enough, but it was an awkward and dangerous thing to keep in a small boat. It rested with one claw pointing straight up, like a caltrop, an ancient and wicked device of war that wounded anyone unlucky enough to step on it. Modern grappling hooks aren’t so hazardous. I found two different types, both welcome to stay aboard until there’s a call to retrieve something underwater.

Circular-Saw-Blade Sharpener

If Harbor Freight would offer wheels with finer grit, there’d be hope for the sharpener, but the 180-grit wheels that are supplied with the machine and available as replacements are brutal on carbide saw teeth. I have two diamond sharpeners from EZE-Lap Diamond Products with four grades of diamonds on aluminum handles about the size of tongue depressors. The grits are rated from 250 to 1200, and the 250 grit is designated as “coarse.” That puts the 180-grit wheel on Harbor Freight’s circular saw sharpener into the proper perspective—coarser than coarse.

Rolling Relief for Boat Trailers

Croft makes a pneumatic-wheel kit with dual 10″ wheels. The plated-steel hubs have grease fittings to lubricate the axle and bushings. Between the wheels is a plated-steel caster plate with a 2″ socket. At $90, the kit seemed pricey, but the other option I’d considered, a two-wheeled hand dolly, costs about the same. I often need to move the trailer when I’m away from home, and a hand dolly isn’t easy to carry along.

Dust Deputy Cyclone Separator

We do a lot of sanding for our small-boat restorations and builds, and have relied upon a shop vacuum to collect dust. It does the job but leaves us with bags to empty and filters to clean or replace, which is messy and costly. That changed when we bought an Oneida Dust Deputy cyclone separator to collect the dust on its way to the Shop-Vac. The device uses cyclonic airflow to separate dust and heavier particles, drops the debris into a collection bucket, and sends cleaned air to the vacuum.

Pedal and Paddle Switches

I often have an awkward and anxious moment when I’ve finished a cut on my table saw or bandsaw and have to reach down to turn the machine off while still hanging on to the workpiece. While I’m groping for the little toggle switch beneath the table, I have to keep my eye on the racing blade, the work piece, and my fingers. Beyond my own safety, some cuts can bind and stop bandsaw and table saw blades and I like to shut the motor off as quickly as I can before something gets damaged. Having switches that are easily and quickly operated add an important element of safety.

Image-Stabilized Binoculars

The Canon binoculars are very compact and lightweight. They measure 5.9” by 5” by 2.8” and weigh 1.33 lbs. Two AA batteries power the image-stabilization function, and last for up to 9 hours at 77 degrees F. Battery life decreases as temperatures drop; the manufacture’s literature lists an hour of operating at 14 F, but I doubt we’ll ever test that in Florida.

DeWalt’s Benchtop Planer

We researched benchtop planers and decided the DeWalt DW734 would meet our requirements. Its 12-½” wide bed could handle the 12”-wide garboard that we needed to replace, and its 6” thickness capacity it would come in handy for shaping some 4” stock for the stem. The 734 weighs a sturdy 80 pounds, a bit heavy for moving around, but solid and stable in use, especially when working with long stock.

Quickloader Retractable Ratchet Straps

The QL15 model has two black, rubber-coated metal S-hooks, one of which is on a 9-1/2” piece of 1” polyester webbing, and the other is at the end is a neatly coiled 1” polyester webbing stored around a spring-loaded core. Fully extended, the Quickloader has a reach of 12’. The strap feeds out and retracts like a tape measure so there’s never any slack to get knotted, tangled, or twisted.

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