Make Your Own
are Wooden cleats easy to make they are in many respects superior to
Because the wood is softer than metal it is much kinder to the rope.
And because wood will also create more friction than metal type, it
hold your boat's mooring lines more securely.
How to Make your own Mooring Cleats.
made from a solid block of suitably
main criteria are that the grain
should run along the horns and the space under the horns should allow
room, so that even the largest rope you are likely to use won't
marking out the shape on your
block use a half pattern which, can be flipped over to provide a
mooring, drill holes for the base
using a drill bit larger than the diameter of the thickest rope likely
used on it.
cut out the waste wood with a saw
to give the basic rough shape.
next stage is to round off all the
corners and give it a bit more shape.
have found a Japanese Saw Rasp a quick easy way to rough shape convex
need a round rasp for the
the base is where greatest friction
occurs, this will need to be well rounded at both ends.
a really good sanding to make
it as smooth as possible.
mount mine on a hardwood base in
order to keep the rope clear of the nonslip deck surface.
can if you wish drill a hole or
slot through the base.
needs to be between the two
through bolts and below the level of the horns.
method is how I made the
used the same 1inch/25mm square
lumber I used for the
was simply a cross bar resting on
two short pillars of the same stock and resting on a hardwood
wood was cut to length, holes
drilled for the through bolts then glued and bolted together.
finish all the corners were well
rounded and sanded smooth.
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There is a formula which
states that the length of the horns should be 6 x the circumference of
However, for any boat over 20 foot I wood suggest that they should be
9 to 10inch, 230 to 260mm.
For any boat less than 20 foot, the horns want to be at least 6inch
It is possible to make them from almost any wood even fir,
hardwood is best.
The best choice is probable well seasoned locust, or white oak.
"There is something
elemental about boats that favour simplicity in place of
Many of the legendary
were known for advocating simplicity and its working partner,
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Mooring cleats normally will mainly be
to loading from the side.
However, in some situations, such as tied to a fixed dock with a
they may have to bear considerable upward pressure.
They will also be subject to twisting as the pressure is exerted on the
leading from one side.
So, those for mooring must have strong horns with the wood grain
They also need a minimum of two through
from the top of
the horns to a backing plate below the deck or through a deck-beam. bolts
If you use carriage bolts as the fastenings there is no need to
the domed heads won't interfere with the cleat-hitch.
Backing plates need to be much larger than the base area
If using either plywood or solid wood the through bolts must be fitted
large diameter washers under the nuts or a metal plate.
Cleats, apart from those used for mooring, should be installed at an
about 10 degrees to the lead of the line belayed to it.
This will help prevent the standing part of the line becoming jammed
and the horn and the figure of eight and help reduce chafe.
lines should be
lead through a metal fairlead before cleating off.
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is very little point either varnishing or painting a mooring cleat
as the rope friction will soon wear through even the toughest
good soaking hot linseed oil or any
other wood oil (I prefer
will help to prevent any checking. Tung
the oiled wood is dry it can be
buffed up to give a very pleasant sheen.
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Wooden jammers are equally easy
the line only needs to go around
once there only need for a long horn at the front.
this cleat, we do want the line
to jam so the horn slopes down to the base plate at an acute angle
belaying options include using
the king post or bollards.
don't forget the age
old Fife rail with Belaying pins.
is a very efficient method for
quickly and tidily securing running rigging.
the lines can be released quickly
just by pulling out the pin.
On an open and framed boat you can
fit a bar across pairs of
frames to act as a belaying point.
do as I have done on
Mignonne and fasten a bar across the taffrail
mine I have incorporated two
notches on the top as jammers.
make use of all those off cuts you
have lying about.
yourself some good sized cleats
which will not only enhance the look of your boat but will, probably be
efficient than those you can buy.
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