My husband and I have been steadily working our way through the old stuff on the boat. Rebuilding things and re-installing things. It is totally amazing how long good quality marine parts last.
As many of you may know, we are rebuilding a boat originally built in 1929-1931, launched in '31. That's a long time ago. Even so, many of hardware and the plumbing parts are the original or pre-1950. Things like the 2" Perko raw water filter, circa 1950, is not overly corroded and I just got the new seals for it from Perko. All parts are still available. I just finished with a minor rebuild of the Ideal windlass (circa 1940-1960), all in good shape, I only had to deal with case corrosion (exterior, bottom), repaint, replace the brake ring "pad," the case seals, and grease fittings. The out of production Barient winches (circa 1960-1970) can all be easily rebuilt, the bronze sheaved wood blocks the same.
As one considers the cost of replacing things every few years...one can begin to appreciate hardware that has lasted from 50 to 75 years and keeps on working. In the raw water system, we're re-using the 20 or so feet of 2" bronze piping that was originally used to plumb deck-fills for freshwater tanks. We're also re-using a few valves, fittings, and seacocks (circa 1930-1950) that are in amazingly good shape. The bronze thru-hulls were heavy duty and all in great shape, but we're changing sizes on many and thus putting in new thru-hulls and associated seacocks. The old ones that are sizes that we can use, we're keeping as "spare parts."
We just went to the storage shed to pick up more needed items for installation. The bronze cowl and mushroom vents, hatch hinges, fillplates and inspection ports, as well as the cabin hardware, latches, etc, all in great shape and original to the boat. The same can be said for all the bronze castings associated with the rigging of the boat. There are wear items and fatigue items, of course but it is simply amazing how well this stuff lasts and lasts.