Re-use bronze screws?

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Re-use bronze screws?

Postby JacobErdey » Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:28 pm

So, I am doing a full restoration of a 1950 Sportsman 18' (and when I say full, I mean even replacing majority of the transom framing and the chines). So there are thousands and thousands of bronze screws to be changed, and as you also know, they aren't cheap. So, I know they have to be structurally sound to be re-used, which about half of them seem to be. Some tarnishing and whatnot on most. But is there some sort of solution I should soak them in to get them nice and fresh for re-use? Or is there any serious reason that I should avoid re-using any of them at all?? Any insight is appreciated
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Re: Re-use bronze screws?

Postby robertpaul » Thu Oct 26, 2017 4:21 pm

Are you sure they are not brass? I have thousands of various brass screws (up to 3") that I pulled, intact, from our 1937, 35' cruiser. Most look spotless and have no damage to the slots, but I don't trust them. Like you, I would love to save a ton of money and re-use them. I wonder if anyone out there has successfully re-used similar fasteners from that era. I will add that I have experimented with some by screwing together pieces of scrap (from the boat) with proper pilot holes etc. Some screws that look good snapped and revealed serious internal corrosion (or maybe just discolouration in an unseen hairline crack that was there from fatigue), most took a lot of torque without failing.... but I could not predict which were ok and which were not. Seems a crap shoot to me. Sorry for not being definitive.
1937 35' Double Stateroom Enclosed Cruiser
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Re: Re-use bronze screws?

Postby Don Danenberg » Thu Oct 26, 2017 11:01 pm

The earliest use of Bronze screws or bolts I have seen in a CC was a 1953, 17-ft Sportsman. One entire side was yellow brass (screws and bolts), the other side was "red brass" (bronze).

Yellow Brass is 60% Copper, 40% Zinc.
Red Brass (Bronze) is 96% Copper...,

I'd have to think that saving the original screws might be problematic, overall?
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Re: Re-use bronze screws?

Postby maritimeclassics » Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:26 am

Don't do it, its not worth it. When these screws start to go bad they do it from the inside out first. If you break one open you will see a pink color and crystallization to the metal and its become weak. Even if it has not gotten that far in the break down process it is still compromised and when you screw it into new wood the head will twist a bit making the holding power of the fastener greatly reduced or even break off. If your doing a full restoration it is going to be a new boat so it should have new screws.
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1956 14' Chris Craft Kit Boat
1961 21' Continental Hardtop
1941 19' Chris Craft Custom BB
1941 23' Chris Craft Custom BB
1950 20' Chris Craft Riviera
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Re: Re-use bronze screws?

Postby jfrprops » Fri Oct 27, 2017 8:52 am

naw....not worth it....use new.

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1980 Fairchild Scout 30
19?? custom Argentine Runabout 16'
1954 Whirlwind deluxe dual ckpt 16'
1921 Old Town Charles River 17' (founding Captain, James River Batteau Festival)
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