Do You Have A Set Of Brass Nuts?


Brass Nut

What can I possibly write to follow up a headline like that? Is your woody old enough for a set? There ya go, I can keep this going. Or mercifully not. But if you read this with the images you get it, and your mind isn’t in the gutter. At least for now. By the way if you google brass nuts it’s actually a normal search. You find, well.. Real brass nuts. Which shocked me. Of course I had one eye closed to protect at least one eye from seeing something that might burn it.

Lots of nuts

Anyway, hopefully I have gotten the Brass Nut jokes out of the way. These are a very simple and VERY cool way to make your engine look the part. I am not to sure when the cut off date is as to when it looks too old.

“Pass Gas Special” in Stinky

This is from way back, time capsule 1941 Barrel back ELGIN! Untouched They look like steel nuts. Which of course brings up an entire new conversation.

You will have to get some fabric covered wires and install the clips. Use old looking friction tape to wrap the tip. Or get the metal clip type.

Top screws off

Screw on the brass nut


All simple and is the sort of detail that says to the world that you are super human. You have 6 nuts! And they are brass!  Here is a video of the original B in Andy C’s time capsule.


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Original perfection @antiqueboatmuseum #clayton #woodyboater #classicboat #chriscraft #boats @iloveny

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You can find a set at VanNess Engineering, who also sells all sorts of special parts to make your engines perfect.

All sorts of goodies from VAN NESS

One of my favorite photos – Bill Basler Photo for Van Ness Engineering shot about 10 years ago. Timeless!

And I am sure someone will chime in today and give us some rules regarding years this was done, and style. Steel? Brass, What year did they stop this?

17 replies
  1. Jeff N
    Jeff N says:

    I love the look of these. I just noticed them for the first time last saturday. They were on Brian Robinson’s Chris Craft “Thunderstruck”.

    • MikeM
      MikeM says:

      I’ve known Brian for many years and consider him a good friend, but he’s never shown me his brass nuts. #superjealous

  2. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    While I love the look, having been zapped by plug wires too many times makes me want nice insulated boots on my spark plugs. Working around a running engine in limited space is hazardous enough to keep from getting caught in the spinning flywheel, so the zapping hazard is something that can be minimized.

    I’m an old school kinda guy, but sometimes a little modernization makes sense.

  3. Mike Green
    Mike Green says:

    There is 2 different thread count for the nuts so you need to get the correct ones, I believe one is metric. I have learned and relearneded this a few times by ordering the wrong ones.

  4. tparsons56
    tparsons56 says:

    It’s a tough call on this one. I really like the look of the brass knobs but also like the durability and safety of the rubber boots so it’s that constant battle between original vs. modern/practical.
    If we just showed the boat I would definitely go with brass knobs along with keeping the original 6v system but because we use the boat on a regular basis the modern wires with rubber boots along with 12v works better.
    The vintage and classic boat conundrum!

  5. don Vogt
    don Vogt says:

    I see the ignition wire clipped in the middle of the brass nut, not underneath. Is there a consensus as to which is correct?

  6. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Bare ignition wires carrying 20,000 – 40,000 volts of pulsing DC, waves tossing the boat around, you’re sweaty (which increases skin conductivity) and you are tasked with trying to figure out a miss firing or poor running condition. Someone start taking a video as hilarity will ensue.

    This is supposed to be “pleasure” boating. As far as I’m concerned, the conundrum solved with modern plug wires.

  7. Brian Robinson
    Brian Robinson says:

    Chris-Craft used the knurled brass nuts on the first Hercules conversions beginning in 1933/34. I don’t know the exact cut-off point but they were still in use in 1958. The originals on the Champion J6 and J8 were a little smaller than what we get today from RSC. If using a modern J8C plug you want metric threads. NOS plugs are available too and usually come with the smaller nuts. A tip to make new plugs look more authentic is to paint the cad base with satin black paint or BBQ black paint to replicate the original black oxide finish.

    The original wires were rubber coated cloth. You can use the shiny black cloth from RSC and others or the flat black Packard 440 wires (but wipe the writing off with lacquer thinner) Pick your poison. I don’t think the plain black cloth type look right.

    The best match to the ends I have found are the Rajah raj011 ring ends from RSC. Even though they are “solder type”, Chris-Craft didn’t solder them, they had a special Rajah crimper for this.

  8. don danenberg
    don danenberg says:

    I recently obtained NOS plug wires and knurled nuts from Joe Morrison’s Algonac Parts Dept collection. They exactly matched what was on my 1938 K.

    The original plug wire ends were “RAJAH split-ring” (kinda acted like a lock washer) and the knurled nuts were ALUMINUM, not BRASS, which might be why you thought ‘steel’ in your example, original photos?

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