December 18, 2015
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I was back at the windlass capstan first thing. Nothing had changed overnight, but I continued slowly making progress, though the drum wasn’t going to simply give up till the last inch of shaft was free. It took another hour or so to finally release the capstan, during which time I bottomed out the puller once again and had to adjust it once more in order to continue. Not long after this, I found that it was getting harder–not easier–to move the wrench attached to the puller’s screw, and I eventually determined that the screw threads were damaged and galling from the efforts of the past hours. This was not a high-quality puller. Fortunately, I had another, larger, one on hand, and with this one I managed to complete the job in relatively short order. This was a battle won, but the war raged on.
The level of corrosion at the steel shaft housing–which extended from the bronze deck plate through the deck to the gearbox beneath, and through which the bronze shaft turned–was horrific. It was pieces of this housing that I’d pulled out earlier, when I’d started to move the capstan upwards. The tragically rusted remains seen here are supposed to be a nice, clean, whole steel pipe, essentially.
The photos below, stolen blatantly from two separate Ebay listings that I found, show similar windlasses in more or less whole and usable condition, and helped give me–and you, perchance–a better idea of how the components fit together.
Anti-plagiarism and intellectual property compliance note: if any of these are your photos and you’re unhappy that I’ve reused them here, please let me know and I’ll remove them at once.
I chipped and cleaned away what I could of the corroded mess, leaving behind a sort of cove-shaped remnant that looked a little better, but was no closer to allowing the windlass to come apart into its component pieces. That little drive pin, seen in the first photo, is what allows the shaft to drive the capstan and it, too, was irrevocably stuck in the shaft at this time. I didn’t waste much time trying to get it out since I didn’t think it needed to be removed at this point.
Dutifully following along with the old removal instruction from Ideal Windlass’s website, my next chore was to attempt to release the deck plate from the deck, and, dreamily, from the steel housing itself. I proceeded with as much delicacy as I could given the fairly brutal tasks at hand, all this to try and salvage not just the windlass–still hoping, at this point–but, perhaps more importantly, the deck parts on which it sat. Releasing the deck plate wasn’t too difficult, with an eventual combination of stiff putty knives, screw drivers, pry bars, and, finally, a long blade on a reciprocating saw to clean out sealant from beneath the slim slot. None of this had the least effect on the grip between shaft housing and deck plate. But at least now I knew that the deck plate was free, and that the space beneath might give me the avenue needed should I eventually need to resort to the most destructive means of removal.
I turned once more to “The Google” to seek the help of collective wisdom of the Interwebs. There was little there to help. I found one other tale of woe with a similar or identical windlass, in which the writer resorted to cutting through the pipe and shaft after jumping through similar (and apparently ineffective) hoops to release the corroded components after consulting the same documentation that I’d been. I think Danusia’s winch looks far worse, frankly. Attribution for these photos listed below.
After a morning’s work, I decided to simply keep soaking the area in question with penetrating solvent over the weekend, and see what happened from there. I had little hope, but one never knows.
in between some other goings-on at the shop, I spent the rest of the day’s time going over several of the upcoming jobs on the work list and assessing the projects in a preliminary way.
Total time billed on this job today: 4.75 hours
0600 Weather Report:
Clouds, fog, 40°. Forecast for the day: Clouds, fog, trending toward some sun, highs in the 40s to near 50.