RUB RAIL DISCUSSION, AUGUST 2009
Any suggestions for replacement? My original rail looks to be oak 2 5/8 X 2 5/8,
many faceted . I have replaced many sections (mostly mid-ship, caused by
pilings) It's thru bolted every foot with 1/4" ss bolts. To replace a section
it's difficult to get to the nuts. Hefty and nice but difficult to maintain.
# 40 HARMONY
The rub rail on Phoenix was pretty beat up so, while we were refurbishing the boat, we replaced the old teak rub rail with one I built with Ipe, a Brazilian hardwood. Ipe looks like teak and wears like teak but is about 1/4 the cost. Our rubrail is two layers, each 3/4" thick, beveled on the edges so that it tapers out from about 2 1/2" wide at the base to about 1" wide at the outer edge. It's capped with a stainless steel rub strip. The Ipe is pretty stiff. It would be very difficult to bend it to the hull curve if it were thicker than 3/4". I through-bolted it about every foot.
I bought my Ipe at Yukon Lumber down in Norfolk 800 325-9663.
In the Annapolis area I'd try "Exotic Hardwoods" 410 267-0887. I know they carry lots of teak and I expect they'd have Ipe too.
Al (Phoenix, W42 # 78)
Thanks much for posting the information on Ipe hardwood.
I did locate several sources. It is indeed hard. I now need to know how you
bent it! how you worked with it!
The sources I located insist that it is too hard to bend, and you need carbide
saws and carbide drills to work it.
They advised mahogany. True it won't last as long, 10 years compared to 20, but
it can be shaped. They showed me a sample of Ipe
it looks as dense as marble.
I'd love to know how to worked it. It sounds ideal.
Thanks, Cliff #40
Ipe is indeed very, hard, dense and stiff but it wasn't particularly hard to work. I bought 1x6 Ipe boards which were about 3/4" thick. We ripped the boards to the desired beveled width on a table saw using a new carbide tipped blade. They were not difficult to rip. I just had to feed the boards through the saw a little slower than I would have to feed teak or mahogany. When you rip Ipe, it makes a lot of very fine sawdust. I've heard the dust can be considered toxic (so is teak) so I'd recommend wearing a dust mask. It's key to use a good carbide tipped blade on your saw.
When we installed the Ipe on the boat, we put it on in two layers, each 3/4" thick. A 3/4" thick Ipe strip can be bent to the curvature of the Whitby hull but the only way you can get it to lay tight against the hull is to through-bolt it every 15"-18" or so. I first tried using wood screws into the fiberglass but I couldn't get it to bend tightly enough to the hull without through-bolting through the hull. It's a two-person job.... one to push the strip towards the hull the other to drill and through-bolt. (We had no problems drilling with conventional drill bits). We worked with strips that were 10' - 12' long. We through-bolted one end securely with the first couple bolts then worked our way along the board 15"-18" at a time. The person pushing the board towards the hull has the advantage of using the long board for leverage to get the needed curvature. However, if the strips had been any thicker than 3/4" it would have been really difficult to get them to bend enough. We also through-bolted the second layer of Ipe through the first layer as well as the hull.
I'll post a photo in the next couple days.
Al Hales & Ellen Hamilton