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Old 08-11-2007
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Teak Handrail Repair

My sailboat is 35 years old. Recently a railing came off, likely a replacement railing. It was anchored into the cabin top but not through. Probably there is not much material left to screw into. Is through bolting the only way to reattach the handrail?
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Old 08-11-2007
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gestpa, what kind of boat do you have? Is it a glass boat or wood boat or steel etc?

Is there a problem with through bolting if that is your only remaining option? Seems like securely attaching the rails might be important if it comes to that.

A few more details might assist others in suggesting alternatives for you.
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The best idea I have seen to date, is the top side rails are through bolted to matching rails on the cabin overhead.
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Old 08-11-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCGRET1990 View Post
The best idea I have seen to date, is the top side rails are through bolted to matching rails on the cabin overhead.
That's a great idea
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Old 08-11-2007
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If you had a solid wood cabin top, and screws large and plentiful enough to make it secure by screwing into that, you could clean out the old screw hols, epoxy fill them, and reset it with the screws again.

But personally I'd rather through-bolt them, either into a backing plate or into one of the matching interior handholds--if that was a good location for them.

Throughbolting should not be any cause for concern (leaks, etc.) if it is done properly, with epoxy sealing the edges of the holes, and a good sealant applied before setting the bolts. Consider that a 200# crew, holding onto that handrail, can put over a thousand pounds of shock load on it if the boat hits a rock, etc. and the crew is "thrown".

Still trust the screws that pulled out once before?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by USCGRET1990 View Post
The best idea I have seen to date, is the top side rails are through bolted to matching rails on the cabin overhead.
Actually, I used the wrong terminology. They were through screwed, in that there were no actual bolts on the end. The typical s/s sheet metal type screws slid through the upper rails and then screwed into the wood of the inside rails.
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Old 08-13-2007
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For safety reasons, I would rather see properly through-bolted rails, rather than screws used. Screws can suddenly break free, and generally at the worst possible time. Also, I've seen too many boats, where the handrails were used as lashing points, and screws really don't have sufficient strength IMHO to handle that and the shock loading that a crew falling and using the railing for support can undergo.
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Old 08-13-2007
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Another option for rails that are removed regularly for refinishing is to use s/s threaded inserts. This will stop wearing away the wood when the screws are repeatedly tightened. A little dollop of epoxy will keep the inserts from ever pulling out. Use 1/4" machine screws or bolts for the fasteners.

Henry
Chiquita
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I don't recommend the threaded inserts... since then you're depending on the strength of the adhesive used to hold the railing in place. The loads that can be placed on a handrail, as HS has pointed out, can be fairly high, and it is much better to not depend on adhesive holding the inserts in place, since a through bolted handrail will be much safer and secure IMHO.
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The inserts are not actually held in place by the adhesive. I just added this (like Loctite) to keep them from backing out. The inserts are about 1/2" long with the inside threaded for a machine screw or bolt; the outside has large diameter wood screw type threads to lock into the wood.
This is admittedly not as strong as through-bolting but is much stronger than a wood or sheet metal screw alone. The proper way to attach the rails, I believe, is with through bolts from above and wood bungs to cover the holes. But if you have to fasten them from below (or want to in order to avoid digging out the bungs in order to remove them) I think the inserts are a great alternative to sheet metal or wood screws.

Henry
Chiquita
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