Carving Out Cores

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A modified roofing nail is perhaps the most versatile tool for removing core when sealing fastener holes. It is much easier to control than bent nails or cut-down allen keys, which can jump around as they spin. Core removal is more uniform. Wood chips are finer and easier to remove. It is faster than a Dremel cutter and undercuts twice as far.

Fabrication is easy. Clamp a nail in a vice, slot the head into quarters with a hacksaw or Dremel wheel, and bend the tabs in alternating directions. Each nail is good for many, many holes. Make several if you like, from different size nails, but we like roofing nails.

Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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