10 of the best PBO reader-submitted DIY practical projects to enhance your summer cruise

Make your own wear pads out of a stainless pedal bin

Dismayed by the price of stainless steel and carbon fibre wear pads, Tim Marsden makes his own from a pedal bin

About a year ago, a well-meaning house guest who was in the process of tidying away the dinner plates accidentally broke the lid off our stainless steel pedal bin. It was well beyond repair, and was slung behind the shed ready to be taken to the recycling centre – but I inevitably forgot all about it.


Shiny-looking wear pads all made for free from an old stainless steel pedal bin

Fast-forward 12 months, and while rooting around in the undergrowth I rediscovered the bin. To my surprise, despite having being out in all weathers it was still in superb condition (apart from the broken lid), with no sign of any corrosion at all. I can’t imagine for one minute that it was manufactured from marine-grade 316, but it had certainly fared well against the elements in the garden.

Now, as I am in the process of a long-term restoration on my Mk1 Foxcub 18 I’m always on the look-out for cheap materials for the project. When I purchased the boat, the gelcoat showed the usual marks around the cleats and fairleads where the mooring lines had ground away at the gelcoat, leaving deep groves. During the restoration the gelcoat was duly repaired, and I resolved to use either stainless steel or carbon fibre wear pads on vulnerable areas when replacing the fittings – until I saw the price: £12.50 for a 6in x 2in stainless strip, and even more for the Kevlar version.

A quick survey of the boat revealed that a recycled kitchen pedal bin would be more than sufficient to meet all my wear pad needs. The stainless steel was only about 0.5mm thick: I initially tried cutting the bin with tin snips, but this unfortunately left a wavy, jagged edge, so I ended up using a cutting wheel in a 4.5in grinder and rounding the edges with a smooth file.

Over the next few weeks I manufactured bases for all the fairleads, bringing the pads over the edges of the coamings to protect the gelcoat. I also made wear pads for the bases of the cleats and the opening to the chain locker.

Unlike the commercially-available pads, the pedal bin obviously didn’t have a self-adhesive backing so the deck fittings were bolted through the wear pads and the pads stuck down with a bed of Sikaflex 291i.

The finished job looks really smart and has attracted admiring comments from other boat owners. The cost of the whole job really depends on the availability of the materials or, as in my case, a clumsy but well-meaning house guest.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Build your own helmsman's backrests
  3. 3. Make your own wear pads out of a stainless pedal bin
  4. 4. Make your top-loading fridge more easily accessible by using plastic bins
  5. 5. Cockpit locker organisers
  6. 6. Make your own secure vented companionway covers for summer
  7. 7. Old leggings make great fender socks
  8. 8. How to make a handy bag for a fortress anchor
  9. 9. DIY halyard hangers under your sprayhood
  10. 10. Add permanent buoyancy to your tender or dinghy using builder's foam in a dry-bag
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