Every mariner knows the things that drive us crazy: things that leak, things that slip, things that squeak, things that rattle, and things that leave marks. We tape, caulk, sand, spray, squirt, polish and pack, but never quite get everything right. There’s an old saying: the perfect tool kit contains duct tape and WD-40. If it moves, but it shouldn’t, tape it. If it should move, but doesn’t, spray it. Even this, however, fails more than we like to admit.
Here are a few examples of where to use Sugru.
Now, voyagers finally have an answer — a third item for the ultimate tool kit that truly is magic. Sugru is a soft, silicone rubber putty that is hand-moldable and bonds to aluminum, steel, ceramics, glass, wood, leather, fiberglass, and many fabrics and plastics. It comes in five blendable colors, and cures in 24 hours to a semi-hard rubber that is virtually impervious to heat, cold, water, salt, sunlight, gasoline, diesel fuel, solvents and cleaners, and most physical abuse.
Using Sugru is so simple that anyone who has ever used Play-Doh can do it. First, you wash your hands with soap and water, and make sure the thing you’re about to “fix” is free of dirt and oils. Then cut open the small foil packet containing the Sugru (it comes in “sachets” that hold 5 grams each.) For color mixing, open more than one. Next, roll the soft putty in your fingers a bit (kneading colors together to blend, if needed) and form it to the size and shape of the repair needed. For instance, to caulk a leaking window, roll out a thin rope that can be worked into the edge that leaks. For a non-skid base for a bowl or mug, form a thin ring of putty a bit smaller than the diameter of the base. Then apply the putty to the item, smooth it into place (to flatten a bit, you can press on it with a polyethylene grocery bag, as it tends to stick a bit less to these.) You can also give it a grip finish by drawing lines in the surface with a toothpick — you get the idea. You’ll have 30 minutes to play with it before it begins to set. Just put the item aside for about a day, wash your hands with soap and water, and the Sugru will cure to a moderately-hard rubber with amazing hold.
The Sugru website has hundreds of photos submitted by customers of the many modifications and repairs in which the product has been used. Many of the ideas will find a home on any yacht. For example, covering a rough seacock handle in Sugru makes it easier to grip and move. A thin bead of Sugru works well as a gasket for leaky hatches. A plug of Sugru can be made to keep water out of electronic ports, and Sugru can be used to seal connectors and cables, too. A small lump of the stuff can keep locker doors from banging around, lifeline hooks from marring the brightwork, or a reminder of which wheel spoke is the kingspoke, with the rudder amidships.
Sugru is available in all five colors, and in multiple packages from the company website, www.sugru.com.