OT: Buy and return? (Marine hardware issues)

Just a little rant.
Is it just me or do others believe we have lost the general era of good customer support?
Example. I'm trying to replace some rowlock crutches and (top mount) sockets on an old but unused ('as new') fibreglass pram dinghy I'm trying to sell on behalf of my Mum (it was Dads).
Now, the nylon rowlocks weren't kept with the dinghy and whilst we have a small container full of them, most are also quite old and even if not exposed to sunlight, they tend to become brittle with time and I feel replacing them on this dinghy would be a 'good thing' (for the sale and new owners especially).
There are no identifying marks on the existing sockets (that I have found so far) and from measuring them, seem to come from an imperial era as the numbers seem to come out best in inches. Eg, the OD of the tube is 1", the ID (for the rowlock stem) 3/4", the distance between mounting hole centres is 2-1/4" etc.
So, I've Googled quite a bit and none of the offerings from the usual suspects (Holt, Allen, RWO, Plastimo etc) seem to have anything that is directly compatible and that means any replacement may require screw holes filling and re making etc. Worse, I think quite a bit of support for the socket is provided by a reasonable fit between the socket and the gunwale and so if it's not a 1" socket (they are typically smaller [1]) I may need to 3D print / turn suitable bushes etc?
Now, the frustration is trying to get accurate and complete dimensions for any of these things. Some sites give you some dims but it's rare to find all. Now wouldn't you think that if selling something like this that is an 'engineering' type thing, the complete engineering drawing with all the key measurements would be right there beside the picture and price?
So, do I have to order one of each of the possible candidates to either measure them myself and then send back what I don't use, as most of the emails I've sent (politely) asking for such dimensions have either missed the point or not got a reply or push the suppliers to do the sensible thing and offer these items for sale with some supporting dimensions?
Is this how the world is now, no "I'll go and measure one now, email you the result and update the website, sorry for the inconvenience sir."?
Cheers, T i m
[1] What complicates matters is that you then also need to find a compatible rowlock crutch with a big enough jaw to allow you to get the oar shaft in but an ID small enough to be a good fit on the sleeve.
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I don't know if it would be any help, but when I needed odd things like this, our local chandlery were excellent. They seemed to manage two premises with only two staff, so how they manage now they have gone online as well, I don't know. The owner must be getting very old now, as well.
Their great selling point was that they had all sorts of little fixings and fittings on large cardboard sheets hanging up so you could go and measure to your hearts content, then go up to the counter or shout for the staff and say I want, say, 3 of W16-3-24. There would then be a lot of scampering of feet, climbing of ladders etc, perhaps the odd gentle curse, and you would have what you wanted.
I haven't needed to go there for years, so it may not be the same. They were always, shall we say, very slightly odd of manner and did not suffer fools too gladly, but they _were_ brilliant. I don't know what reaction you would get if you asked them to measure anything. They do appear to list imperial and metric rowlocks and mountings.
http://www.reliancemarine.com/
--
Bill

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I have emailed the nearest things we have to a local chandlery and just got a 'sorry' reply.
I did think of going to those we know on the East coast but it's a matter of finding the time ATM.

I remember all sorts of hardware shops like that as well. Mostly gone now of course. ;-(

;-)

Funnily enough they were one of the sites I Googled upon and have investigated their online offerings (that were broader and better documented than some) but they (now) just seem to stock the mainstream lines (Allen, RWO, Plastimo etc). ;-(
Any NOS would probably be in the same condition as what we have already.
In a way, 'upgrading' this dinghy to a more common / known make / model could be a good thing (for the new owner), even if it's more work for me.
So, their Plastimo offering looks promising, *if* the information that goes along with it is correct:
http://www.reliancemarine.com/Product/15827/Top-Mount-Rowlock-Socket-16533/View.aspx
"Overall height:48mm Centres of fastening holes:60mm Overall length:80mm Diameter of shaft:25mm Inside diameter:17.5mm Fits all Plastimo rowlocks"
However, the fixing hole spacing is 60mm whereas the existing holes are 57.15mm (2-1/4"). This means I'll have to fill and redrill (might not be a biggie, depending on what is inside the fibreglass rowlock mounting area). If the 25mm refers to the diameter of the hole / 'tube' that goes though the gunwale, then that too could be useable.
The overall length of the fitting means that it should cover any existing marks / holes (it doesn't show the width for some reason. Another example of the 'incomplete' information I found common).
Again, no complete information on the rowlock:
http://www.reliancemarine.com/Product/4308/Oarlock-Polyamide-Black-55mm-16539/View.aspx
" Material: polyamide Colour: black Diameter: 55mm Shank: 17mm"
Like, what size is the opening of the jaw? If it goes over the oar shaft (44mmOD), will 55mm 'diameter' take the 53OD sleeve ok (it looks like it should but does it allow free up and down movement)?
And I really wanted while rowlocks ... ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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In normal times, I would have offered to take a full description in to this local chandlers, but my "under the weather" has turned out to be pneumonia, tests continue and I couldn't face the hassle of climbing over reels of rope etc. My experience of rowlocks is limited to galvanised ones, rather than these modern plastic things. We have big ones on the 3 ton yacht, and oars that bend if you try to row, and normal ones on the fibreglass dinghy we moulded. That has wooden gunwales/rubbing strakes, so the rowlock mountings are in wood. Is there no way of fitting wooden supports and "proper" rowlocks? Or maybe a fitting at the stern so the dinghy can be sculled, rather than rowed. That's what all the local fishermen do! :-)
Reliance are, or at least were, much less "professional" than the web site suggests and might respond to a clear phone call. Or not, depending on mood.
--
Bill

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<snip>

Understood (and thanks for the thought, hope you get well soon etc).

I think that's the case here, except that it might be wood in a fibreglass moulding.

I'll have to flip her over and have a closer look Bill. There is a 16' tandem touring kayak in the way at the moment. ;-(

That's what I did on the 6' pram I built and it works reasonably well.

Understood. I often email these days because at least they can have all the facts in front of them, rather than what they might have tried to remember or noted down etc.
I asked an eBay seller that I would like to ask them 3 numbered questions.
I got a non-answer to one of them (a partial link to their eBay shop) and a (polite) follow up reply re the other equally important questions didn't get a reply.
Even our local plumbers merchants (who have been there for at least 40 years as I used them when I was doing up this house) give the 'Sorry, we aren't plumbers, we just sell the parts' when you ask for anything other than just parts.
Garages employ fitters, shops employ shelf fillers and checkout robots and we are shocked when someone goes out of their way to actually help. ;-(
Cheers, T i m
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I'm afraid the minimum work for the greatest profit seems to be the order of the day these days. Even something simple like clamps for scaffold poles are like this, so if you are a scaffold, fine, but if you want a pole to use as an aerial mast then any old junk could turn up in hardware. Brian
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 18:34:28 +0100, "Brian Gaff"

And you can understand it with things that sell on price because people know what they want or what they are.

Yup, been there as well.
Cheers, T i m
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On Fri, 10 May 2019 14:28:27 +0100 (GMT+01:00), "Jim K.."

Email reply from our 'local' Chandlery ...
"Many thanks for the inquiry,
Unfortunately that's not something we can help you with.
Regards"
Cheers, T i m
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On 10/05/2019 23:12, T i m wrote:

How local? If your email was akin to your post, they may have found it confusing. Perhaps they might be more helpful if you popped in.
Yamas, Richard
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On Sat, 11 May 2019 07:28:54 +0100, Richard

15 miles?

Nope, it was pretty straightforward.

30 miles and a couple of hours wasted for the same answer?
I've been there several times and they aren't yer typical old fashioned chandlers with all sorts of bits everywhere. They are similar to our local trailer place where it's definitely a business and making money is their only reason for being there.
They are both the sort of place where they only start to smile if you pull 20 grand out of your pocket.
Cheers, T i m
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On 11/05/2019 10:25, T i m wrote:

Hmmm, I'm spoiled for choice. Arthurs Chandlery is the furthest one from me at 26 miles, pity I don't have a boat ;) https://www.google.co.uk/maps/search/yacht+chandlers+hampshire/@50.8383119,-1.4579877,11z

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On Sun, 12 May 2019 08:19:36 +0100, Richard

I guess that's a disadvantage of living in North London ... not that near the sea (atm anyway). ;-(

;-)
Mum (88) is off to the IoW and has offered (as she's on holiday and has the time) to have a mooch in any chandlery she happens past and ask for me. For her to be able to help it would still require the chandlery having the datasheets for any offering or a vernier caliper and the skills to use them to be able to measure the dimensions that are important to me.
eg, Key considerations:
Rowlock socket: Main tube OD, 1" Retaining hole centres, 2-1/4"
(Compatible)Rowlock crutch: Jaw opening around 45mm ID, 60mm
Both ideally in white or at least the same colour for both components. Back socket with white crutch would be the next best thing (black rowlocks aren't so easy to see in the grass on in the boat in the dark).
Should be pretty easy eh?
Cheers. T i m
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I'll say again, and call me old fashioned, but a proper job would be to replace these biodegradable rowlocks with decent galvanised metal ones, and tie them to the boat using the hole provided in the bottom of the shank. You don't want to be faffing around on the grass or on a green slime covered slipway with a rising tide in the dark. This was the standard in my youth, and my grandfather's youth, and it still works perfectly. Our rowlocks are at least 70 years old and have survived seawater, light and air.
I was only being facetious about converting to sculling over the stern, but skilled scullers have to be seen to be believed. No rowlocks to scrape when coming alongside, at least as fast as rowing, and a continuous motion unlike the stop-start action of rowing. There are snags, of course, and I never progressed beyond starter level.
--
Bill

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The only boat we have ever had that used metal rowlocks is the 14' rowing skiff and that's because:
1) It's a purely rowing boat and so the only means of propulsion (other than paddling it etc).
2) It's a proper rowing boat and has sculls, therefore you might be able to overpower plastic rowlocks and so not really a 'choice' as such.
3) They are 'in keeping' with that sort of 'traditional' boat.

You can't do that in this case Bill because although the sockets themselves are open ended, the moulding they go into on the moat, aren't. However, some metal rowlocks also have a 'neck' that could take a lanyard of some sort so the principal is the same.

Agreed.

But how quiet are they? I ask because many metal rowlocks I've used seem the clank and clunk, not something you generally get with plastic? Also, do they 'lock in' like plastic rowlocks do?

Understood. And as I mentioned, whilst I'm certainly not 'skilled', I am a reasonable canoe / kayak paddler so know how to handle a blade in water in general. Not like the people you often see 'windmilling' down the river in the hire boats. ;-(

I'm not sure that would apply in all cases though would it? I can't see anyone moving our skiff as fast with one scull compared with two long sculls?

There is that, so would therefore have more effect on a boat that didn't carry plenty of way (wey / weigh?) (like our skiff). ;-)

;-)
I have noticed they do metal rowlock sockets with nylon inserts (that still take a metal crutch) that might tick all the boxes, other than the money off the bottom line when sorting a boat to sell? ;-(
We must remember this is 'just' an 8' pram dinghy and therefore most likely to be used as a tender to a bigger boat on a mooring (50 yards traveled) or as a fun / fishing boat etc. Most likely it would be used with an outboard of some sort, rather than seen as a real long distance rowboat etc?
Cheers, T i m
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Yes, and I'm really just chatting rather than being practical.
I have had 3, 8ft pram dinghies over the years. Clinker, plywood, then fibreglass. I got the first at age 12ish. Dad and I went, with some camping gear, to pick it up at Sandwich and we rowed it back round to Herne Bay over a day or two. I then had to be plastered up until the carpal tunnel subsided.
Later, it was stolen, but we saw it on the deck of a sailing barge moored unattended in Faversham Creek. We contacted the police and were assigned an officer to come on our larger boat at night to investigate. There followed a tidal midnight torchlight trip down the creeks. On arrival, we were given lengthy, very strict instructions and ordered not to touch the barge at all. The officer went on deck, confirmed that my name and address was painted in the hidden place, and lowered the dinghy down for us to tow back to the mooring. I think he enjoyed his night out.
All three dinghies eventually used outboards and acted as tenders to bigger boats, but the oars and galvanised rowlocks were vital with a Seagull. The last two had sails and dagger boards as well, and were great fun in that mode.
I have other stories, but wouldn't want to become a total bore.
--
Bill

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Carry on. ;-)

There is nothing so 'solid' as a nice clinker built boat.

Ouch.

I bet he did. Makes a change from the 'routine' stuff. ;-)

We had several BS's and none of them ever missed a beat. I think the key to that was the right quality oil and the right mix. A bit too rich and idle for too long and you could foul a plug.

I know. I have spent many a happy hour sat in the bottom of a small dinghy under sail and just pottering about (mainly on the Norfolk Broads).

Never. ;-)
Cheers, T i m
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On 12/05/2019 11:49, Jim K.. wrote:

Probably not, but don't let that stop you.
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On Sun, 12 May 2019 12:46:19 +0100, Richard

Hehe. I'm not sure anything will stop our Jimmy being fascinated by / with me (bless).
Cheers, T i m
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On 12/05/2019 11:01, Bill wrote:

sculling meas using oars. The meaning is not restricted to single oar use
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That's correct, but it depends who you are talking to and what sort of boat you are talking about. Context is all.
Sculling to me and my friends means using a single oar in a propeller type motion over the back of a boat.
It almost certainly means something else to someone living in Cambridge.
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