Help please with broken screw/handrail - SailNet Community
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 4 Old 04-09-2006 Thread Starter
Senior Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 288
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 12
Help please with broken screw/handrail

The exterior teak handrail is fastened with a screw from the top, through the deck and into the interior cabin handrail below it. A teak bung covers the screw.
My problem is that one of the screws has rusted through, and the forward end of the exterior handrail is now loose, and catches the jib sheet when tacking (not to mention that a loose handrail is not very safe and could also break off altogether).
I think I need to drill through the bung, remove the top half of the screw and try to drill out the broken/rusted screw in the deck. But I am worried that my drill bit will slip on the screw and damage the adjacent gelcoat--ie. I don't think I can drill it out neatly. I don't have access to the underside in the cabin because of the interior handrail and the padded headliner. One other thought I had was to remove some of the gelcoat around the broken off screw, enough so I can grab it with a vice grip to unscrew it, and then refill the gelcoat (most of the area would be covered by the re-attached handrail).
Does anyone have any experience with this problem, or any advice on how I can fix this? Also, would you advise undoing all the screws in the handrail and replacing them because the forward one rusted through--ie. are they all suspect, or if they seem tight, and there is no movement in the handrail, should I only fix the broken off one?
Thanks for any help.

Last edited by FrankLanger; 04-09-2006 at 02:52 PM.
FrankLanger is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 4 Old 04-09-2006
Telstar 28
sailingdog's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
Posts: 43,290
Thanks: 0
Thanked 18 Times in 14 Posts
Rep Power: 16
You might be better off trying to use a screw extractor, rather than trying to drill through the broken part.

As for replacing all the screws, it depends on what material they are made of. If they are other than silicon bronze or stainless, replacing them is an excellent idea. I wouldn't use anything by silicon bronze or stainless screws. Through bolting would probably be even better.
sailingdog is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #3 of 4 Old 04-09-2006
yachtvalhalla's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: SE Asia
Posts: 46
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
I had a similar problem years ago while removing the handrails for rebedding. I used a plug cutter that would just fit over the screw to neatly cut out the handrail around the screw. With the other screws removed the handrail lifted off the bad screw and it's wood post. Vise grips were used to remove the screw after cutting away the wood post. I then used another larger plug cutter to make a plug for the handrail, epoxied it into place then drilled it out for the new screws and plugs.

The problem with rusting fasteners that get wet in such areas is caused by oxygen deprivation. Hence, bedding the area around the screw is essential. Before you reattach the screws, use a countersink bit to camfer the edges of the screw hole. When you apply bedding compound it will form an 'o-ring' around the screw and help to keep the screw dry.

Stainless steel is OK as long as you do a good job of bedding.


"Does the song of the sea end at the shore or in the hearts of those who listen to it?" Kahlil Gibran
yachtvalhalla is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook
post #4 of 4 Old 04-09-2006
Just another Moderator
Faster's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 19,011
Thanks: 152
Thanked 526 Times in 500 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Hi Frank

Any chance you have the space to drill another hole beside the failed screw, (to be bunged later) and put a good screw through to the handrail underneath? Or better yet, use a bolt and bung in the overhead handrail as well. Two filled and sanded plugged holes might be less a problem than the potential for damage to the deck from attempts to remove the suspect fastener.

In the long run removing the handrails and replacing all the screws might give you the best peace of mind.....

Faster is offline  
Quote Quick Reply Share with Facebook

Quick Reply

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
replacing a broken mast newbe Gear & Maintenance 6 11-04-2004 06:19 AM
Broken engine mounts lgsailor19 Gear & Maintenance 3 06-03-2004 12:46 PM
Locate broken bronze bracket Surferjon7 Gear & Maintenance 1 02-03-2002 10:40 AM
Broken Furling Line rrrr Gear & Maintenance 3 08-01-2001 02:20 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome