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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 04-29-2007
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Hand Railed!

So, I just yanked my once-varnished handrails off the boat, leaving some pre-historic BoatLife-esque stuff on the topsides, behind. Plan to do a refinish at home.

Q: (a few)

1. What do I do to clean it up (boat side)? Putty knife, ,followed by #220? I don't want to mess up outside the footprint of each leg, if that makes sense.

2. I'm guessing you guys will want me to drill big and epoxy. Okay, I'm down for that. How big should one drill? I put tape on the underside, fill with syringe...but how do you get it nice and flush, rather than flowing all over the topside?

3. Do I fill the holes on the handrails, too, so the screws tap in better?

4. Once the holes are filled, at least on the boat, how do I re-drill so that the boatside holes line with the railside holes?

5. Finally, somebody suggested SecaFlex (black?) rather than BoatLife for re-bedding. Do I really need this stuff, in black? And really finally, if it is black, how do you put the exact right amount of gunk on the boat so that you have a waterproof seal, without ugly stuff oozing out?

Thanks, guys, as always.

Tom
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Old 04-29-2007
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I'm guessing they mean Sikaflex®-292.
Sika Corporation | USA

Sika and BoatLife both make good stuff, if what you get is intended for the purpose, and applied per the directions, it should work well. Most everything can be solvent-cleaned while it is uncured, and using masking tape around the work area (which may mean a dry fit first) or solvent cleaning with a terry cloth rag (picks up more crud and holds it better) should do the rest.

If you need to overdrill a hole to epoxy seal it, the size isn't really critical as long as there will be epoxy left on all sides when you redrill for the part. How close can you work? Leaving one mm. of epoxy around the bolt is "enough", leaving 2-3mm means you can be a little offcenter without a problem.

If you need to drill in a non-horizontal surface, you can take a little modelling clay and build up a clay dam around the top of the hole, to the epoxy fills the hole without running down the deck. Then, you will need to flush trim the extra epoxy using a sharp wood chisel, a Dremel too, a razor knife, whatever suits you. (Any excuse for buying a Dremel kit will do, they're great for boat work.)

No modeling clay? A little flour-water paste, mixed up thick and allowed to dry in place, will do the same thing.
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Old 04-30-2007
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Awesome, hello.

Just a few follow ups.

How to remove the cured Boatlife? Is that the same way as uncured (with solvent?)

Do I fill the holes on the handrails, too, so the screws tap in better?

Once the holes are filled, at least on the boatside, how do I re-drill so that the boatside holes line with the railside holes?

Thanks!
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Old 04-30-2007
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Are your rails screwed in from underneath with wood screws or are they thru-bolted? Thru-bolting is much stronger but also more work to cap or bung the holes in the rails. If they are screwed in from underneath I would recommend putting stainless threaded inserts into the screw holes in the wood. (Available at your hardware store.) You will have to drill the holes out slightly to accomodate the inserts. Then you can use machine screws or bolts from underneath. This allows you to remove and reinstall the rails for refinishing without worrying about the screw holes getting stripped out.

Henry
Chiquita
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Old 04-30-2007
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Geary, typically you remove cured sealant by "mechanical abrasion" meaning, rip it off anyway you can. Once they are cured there are few solvents that will take them up without damaging something else.

As Henry asks, what kind of screws/bolts do your handrails need? If you need to align drill holes, your bet bet is to have someone hold the rail in place from above, while you drill a pilot hole from below. Install a small screw to hold that in place, repeat at the other end, and then do the other holes. Check the alignment from above and if it is right, remove the small screws and drill the larger holes using the smaller ones as pilots.
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Old 04-30-2007
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Hi Geary,

I see that you're talking about drilling and filling after you remove the handrails.

A couple of years ago, I removed all handrails from my boat to finish at home. I used the existing holes when I rebedded. Is there a reason that I did not see that would incline you toward filling the holes and re-drilling? This definitely complicates the process.

I used boatlife life caulk and appropriate boatlife solvent to clean. As hellosailor says, remove the existing caulk by hand and then apply the solvent. I used a gray 3m pad. They don't last long but are effective. The solvent is caustic so wear gloves an be prepared to replace them.

With regard to the fasteners, if at all possible, use through-bolts and plug the hand-rail holes with bungs. No need to glue these as you may want to remove in the future. Just tap them in, apply caulk and then use a sharp chisel to remove excess. Sand and varnish.

Be sure to use polysulfide on this project and not silicone.

Good Luck
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Old 04-30-2007
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Thanks guys!

So, the rails are screwed in from underneath, currently.

I think I'm inclined to Fill with epoxy and use boatlife.

The Seka-whatever it is. I don't know 291 from 292. One's a polysulfide, the other a polyetheline (sp). Something to be said for fewer choices.
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Old 04-30-2007
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Hey, is acetone a good, general solvent? Or do I need the West Systems cleanup solvent for them, and the Boatlife solvent for boatlife...!

Somebody buy stock in West Marine...!
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