Can you splice anchor chain via proper welding?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mobocracy, May 21, 2018.

  1. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    233
    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    And by proper welding, I mean done by somebody who understands welding and not some hobbyist who has a garage setup. I have a new length of chain coming for replacing the rode-and-chain setup I have and it pains me to have 35' (25' original, 10' test length for evaluating windlass feed) as basically junk/"backup" clutter.

    I get mixed results on this -- some people have said "no way, nobody will do it" and other places I have read that done properly it's fine.

    I don't know welding to know whether this is "safe" or whether the weld substantially derates the chain's strength. It sure seems like lots of stuff is welded properly and it holds up, plus aren't chain links themselves welded?
     
  2. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    367
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    If you figure ~$5 / ft. you're talking $175. If (to keep the math simple) you figure $25 to have it welded. you're saving a whopping $150. Do you really want to risk a single bad link for the sake of $150?
     
  3. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    233
    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    The crux of the matter is what kind of risk is it exactly?

    I know jack about welding or what the "right" way to do this would be, but if I had to do it I would assume you would cut out part of the straight part of the link and then weld it back in. Most of the stress would seem to be borne by the round part of the links, so even if a weld joint failed, you'd need the link member to bend out to break the chain.

    If some guy who knows welding tells me its stupid, I totally wouldn't do it and frankly, the monumental headache for me of finding a guy who can do this right (skill and knowledge of welded joints plus some knowledge of chains) isn't worth it to begin with.

    But now knowing what the risk is and whether it can be done at all is bugging me. I keep thinking that there must be an awful lot of spliced chain out there, but perhaps its all done by people with PhDs in chain splicing using special welding techniques and materials and only on chains with proof strength some multiple of what the working load actually is and a ton of experience proof-testing their techniques and materials.
     
  4. wayne0

    wayne0 Member

    285
    May 4, 2014
    Newburyport, Ma.
    2000 340 Sundancer
    Twin 7.4 ltr.V-drives
    Ever hear of a "monkey link"?
     
  5. Yorkshirelad

    Yorkshirelad New Member

    27
    Oct 21, 2017
    340 Searay 86
    454 Mercruisers with v drives
    Ray-marine radar and gps
    454 mercruisers
    When welding high tensile steel chain there are number of concerns.
    1. Without proper pre heat and post heat the welded area will be brittle.
    2. Correct weld preparation ie root angles and correct welding rods, current amperage for the HAZ (heat affected Zone).
    3. TIG welding would be the best process, more control and very precise.
    4. My advice don’t weld the chain.
     
  6. my3sons

    my3sons Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Feb 24, 2009
    Upstate NY (lake Erie)
    2004 400DB, Onan 9 kw Gen, Highfield RIB,
    Cummins 6CTA
    It can be done, but...For the length of chain you're talking, use the 10 footer on your stern anchor and some day you'll find a use for the other piece.
    It used to be that some chain suppliers would weld an oversize link onto the end of a rode to accommodate shackles with larger pins in order to more evenly match shackle WLL strengths to that of the high test chain, but today's alloy shackles can closely match up with the chain strength so I don't think it is very common anymore.
     
  7. importmonkey

    importmonkey Opinionated Member SILVER Sponsor GOLD Sponsor

    702
    Jul 9, 2015
    Middle River, MD
    2007 44 Sundancer
    QSC 500s
    Last edited: May 21, 2018
  8. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    367
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
  9. Blueone

    Blueone Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    832
    Jan 24, 2007
    St Clair Shores, Michigan
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Yes you can weld a link ..when done properly the weld is stronger than the steel... Call around to some local fab shops and explain what your looking for..
     
  10. Thornton69

    Thornton69 Member

    264
    Sep 15, 2014
    Northern BC
    1980 24.5' SR custom hardtop
    1984 18' Valco sled
    1984 20' Alicraft- sold
    5.7 260 Merc/ Bravo 2
    Evanrude 115/80 jet
    Chain is not a big deal to weld. If it is galvanized though, that coating will have to be be ground off before welding. If used in salt water after the fact you may be dealing with rust stains in your locker down the road.
     
  11. mobocracy

    mobocracy Member

    233
    Jun 29, 2014
    United States
    310 Sundancer
    350 Mag & Bravo III
    Now you see why it wasn't clear to me. People saying it's not a big deal, people saying it ruins the chain.

    It's a timing/errand headache big enough that it's not worth saving 35' of chain to me.
     
    importmonkey and Blueone like this.
  12. bobeast

    bobeast Dance the Tide SILVER Sponsor

    367
    Oct 22, 2017
    Isleton, CA
    2002 310DA
    350 MPI w/V-drives
    Welcome to the internet. You are guaranteed to get opposing answers to the question; "is the sky blue?", each one backed up with declarative confidence.
     
    Blueone likes this.
  13. scoflaw

    scoflaw Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Aug 10, 2011
    cape cod mass
    1999 Powerquest legend 260 sx
    502 mpi Bravo 1
    This^^^^^. It sure isn't high tensile strength steel. Those links will stretch before they break. I've done it, touch up the weld with cold galvy paint.
     
  14. PlayDate

    PlayDate Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Dec 25, 2006
    Washington DC
    1994 370 Express Cruiser
    454 Mercruisers
  15. Boater420

    Boater420 Well-Known Member

    Mar 11, 2015
    Clearwater, FL
    '97 330 Sundancer
    V-Drives
    Westerbeke 4.5BCG
    Twin Merc 454's
    Just added 50' of 5/16" chain to my setup, used this, works as expected and goes through my windlass flawlessly.
    Capture.JPG
     
  16. Blueone

    Blueone Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    832
    Jan 24, 2007
    St Clair Shores, Michigan
    2004 420 Sundancer
    Cummins 6CTA 450's
    Well..... It's grey today... and dripping as usual :) and no it's not funny

    So true though
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  17. JimG

    JimG Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 4, 2008
    Southern WV
    2007 310 DA
    Kohler 5ECD
    Twin 350 Mags
    Raw Water Cooled
    V-Drives
    When I went all chain I added 150' of chain to my existing 25' and used this link... as Kevin says, goes through my windlass just fine.
     
  18. wayne0

    wayne0 Member

    285
    May 4, 2014
    Newburyport, Ma.
    2000 340 Sundancer
    Twin 7.4 ltr.V-drives
    THAT would be a "Monkey Link"
     
  19. northern

    northern Well-Known Member

    Jan 17, 2007
    West coast Vancouver to Alaska
    380 Aft Cabin 1989 GPS and Charts by Nobeltec
    Twin 454 strait shaft
    Welding is an art and it takes 4 years to become one to build pipelines and oil storage tanks. I would trust a real welder to weld a chain. You need to remove all the galvanized from the link and you will need to cut the link in two and weld both sides. In the end a real welder would charge you 100+.
    You will get some weld splatter on the adjoining link that will corrode.
    I used a mechanical link to attach new chai and it has been good for 10 years in salt water.
     
  20. sandydlc

    sandydlc Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    482
    Feb 24, 2016
    Seattle, WA
    450 Sundancer 2010
    Cummins 480 HP w/Zeus pod drives
    I don't know if the question should be whether or not the extra chain can be welded. The question should be, if the weld fails, and you're anchored out - what is the potential damage to your boat if the weld fails and suddenly in the middle of the night you break free? (because these things never seem to happen when you're awake and alert!)

    If it was my boat, the value of the chain that you're taking off the boat is not worth risking your entire boat should you have a bad weld in attempting to save 35' of chain. If you find that you need more rode beyond the new chain that you've added, you can splice rope to the bitter end of your chain to extend your ability to anchor in deeper water with more scope. This is what we did. We have a 450 DA that came with 200' of chain. Last year I added 100' of 8-plait rode and although I haven't had to tap into that extra length yet, I'm very glad to have it. Also, since I did both ends of the splices myself, I feel secure in knowing it was done correctly and that it will hold.

    Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.

    Sandy
     

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