need to fab new companionway hatch - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 47 Old 04-02-2007
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No on the MDF. A bit of water intrusion and you have a sponge that falls apart. I used StarBoard for my hatch boards. It can be cut with wood tools; saws / routers, etc. It's insanely expensive. I happened to come across a 4' X 4' piece of white 1/2 inch sheet at work that was in the scrap bin, so I got it for nothing. No maintainance except cleaning it. Its dimensionally stable and the sun doesn't bother it. I wouldn't hesitate to use it again.

Another product that may work is a sign board called Sintra. It is a similar material to StarBoard but it's core is not as dense and its a lot cheaper. Hatch boards are not a stressed or structural part, so I don't see why it wouldn't work - unless you are out in the ocean and you're counting on your hatchboards to keep giant waves out of the cabin.
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post #22 of 47 Old 04-02-2007
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resdog-

Hatch boards do much more than keep the ocean out of the cabin.

In a storm, you could get pooped, and if the hatchboards break, you're probably going to be in a lot of trouble.

At the dock or anchorage, they keep the riff-raff from sampling the free electronics that you have on-board...

I could probably kick out a 1/2" starboard drop board without trying too hard. It just isn't strong enough unless it is reinforced with a strut across it.

A lexan, acrylic or ABS drop board 3/8" thick is much less likely to give way. I carry one drop board on my boat that is made from starboard, and it is only for use when I am on the boat, and it has a reinforcing strut going across it, as well as locks into the sliding hatch on the boat. I wouldn't trust it otherwise. It was only after I made the one I have on-board that I realized how weak the stuff is...

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post #23 of 47 Old 04-02-2007
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Well, we'll have to agree to disagree on StarBoard. Are you sure what you have is StarBoard? The stuff I used is stiff as hell. Sintra is not. I like it and you don't. I especially like the low maintainance. I'm a small inland lake sailor and haven't had a chance to get pooped, so my hatch boards don't have to stand up to that circumstance.

Bad guys will get into any boat given enough time. If you kick on hatch boards for any length of time, something is going to give. The last time someone broke into my boat over the winter they pryed on a very expensive Lewmar hatch until it bent enough to get their little monkey fingers in and pull the pin out of the frame. I wish they had kicked out the hatch boards - it would have been a cheaper repair.
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post #24 of 47 Old 04-02-2007
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I honestly cannot believe that some on this board have suggested that MDF is a good choice for use ANYWHERE on a boat, much less on a boat's exterior. Could this be a joke? Maybe I just didn't "get it".

Take a piece of MDF and spinkle some water on it. Come back the next day and observe the swelling and crumbling.
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post #25 of 47 Old 04-02-2007
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Forget about using sign boards for hatch boards. You don't have to go offshore to get into bad wx and then have the biggest guy on the boat slip and fall onto the boards. If they don't hold--he's injured going down the hatch and you're going to take on water while they're gone. Some things it doesn't pay to cheap out on.
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post #26 of 47 Old 04-03-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Forget about using sign boards for hatch boards. You don't have to go offshore to get into bad wx and then have the biggest guy on the boat slip and fall onto the boards. If they don't hold--he's injured going down the hatch and you're going to take on water while they're gone. Some things it doesn't pay to cheap out on.
Your not going to break MDO! you wouldent even be able to kick it in. I agree that lexan or Plexi might be better in terms of stability but properly painted MDO would be a fraction of the cost.
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post #27 of 47 Old 04-03-2007
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Sabre-
There's all kinds of "engineered wood" products and all sorts of things called or miscalled "MDO". But signboard in general, sold for signs, has to compete like everything else. And AFAIK structural properties and long-term structural properties just aren't something they place a value on. (It's a sign, you hang it up and walk away.)
I'd rather trust plastic, which has published structural properties and is guaranteed not to be affected by extended exposure to water. I love varnished wood--I'm just not too damn poor to afford a proper maintenance staff to keep it looking that way.
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post #28 of 47 Old 04-03-2007
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Having been a woodworker for 22 years I've worked with many different types of wood both ply and solid stock. While I agree that Plexi or Lexan might be the way to go for some, others might want the cost savings and simplicity of using a high quality ply. I've use MDO in dozens of exterior projects and never once have I had a complaint or seen any sign of it failing. My companion way slides are 1/2" mdo and there on the 6th season with zero maintenance other than the original coats of paint,so I guess I have to respectfully disagree.
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post #29 of 47 Old 04-03-2007
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Sabre-

The OP referred to MDF, not MDO.. and the two are not the same thing. However, in a marine environment, for something that is going to take a lot of abuse, be dropped, stepped on, kicked, tripped over, etc—something that does not require an intact protective coating is probably going to be a lot better than something that does require a paint job. The paint won't last long on drop boards, as they are usually abused in many more ways than the companionway slides are—since the slides are firmly mounted and not likely to be subject to the same kinds of abuse.

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post #30 of 47 Old 04-03-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Sabre-

The OP referred to MDF, not MDO.. and the two are not the same thing. However, in a marine environment, for something that is going to take a lot of abuse, be dropped, stepped on, kicked, tripped over, etc—something that does not require an intact protective coating is probably going to be a lot better than something that does require a paint job. The paint won't last long on drop boards, as they are usually abused in many more ways than the companionway slides are—since the slides are firmly mounted and not likely to be subject to the same kinds of abuse.
Please look at the post above my last one.He claims mdo isn't a quality product yet it is perfectly suited for this application.
I already stated that MDF is junk and should not be used!

Last edited by Sabre66; 04-03-2007 at 03:31 PM.
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