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  #1  
Old 12-04-2007
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Installing Interior Handrails

I need some advice on how to install handrails to the cabin roof; my boat was missing them when I purchased it (good old boat; PO removed and never re-installed). So while the headliners are down for deck hardware I am looking for a method to install handrails. I would like for the handrails to be attached to the headliner plywood so that if I need to drop the headliner down and do work I won't have to drill out bungs.

Here is what I was thinking:

Install the handrails onto the headliner using wood screws from the back side; 2 wood screws per loop base. Use a backing plate made of 1/2" plyowood at each handrail loop (beneath the headliner) so that it can be screwed to the cabin roof from the outside; alongside the handrail at the base of each loop.

Will this work; or is there a better way?
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Old 12-04-2007
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IMHO, you're much better off through-bolting the hand rails. Wood screws aren't really that secure for really heavy loads IMHO.

What material are you using for the overhead covering? It might be worth investigating putting it up using velcro or some other easily removable method to attach it.

Photos would help... as would you saying what kind of boat it is.
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Old 12-04-2007
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Through bolt. Always a good idea. Is there a way to secure the screws inside the handrail so they can be removed by removing the nut on the other side? I thought about filing half the head off and epoxying it in place but haven't tried it. Bungs are easy and look ok with oiled teak. Really a pain if you screw up a good varnish job.
One little upgrade I made that looks nice and works well to use barrel nuts on the deck. The PO had used acorn nuts and these really hurt to step on! Barrel nuts also provided a much better area to apply sealant too.. little buggers are expensive though.
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It's a Newport (C&C) 41'. Don't have pictures but I can take some. The headliner is stapled to 1/4" plywood that is screwed to furring strips on the ceiling.

It appears that the original handrails were just wood screwed into the ceiling through the headliner. I assume that there were furring strips beneath to make the attachment more solid because the lower skin is only 1 layer of woven roving beneath balsa or teak plywood depending on location.

I was thinking that if I use 2 heavy-gauge wood screws on each loop and 4 going up into the deck it would minimize the possibility of the handrail pulling free. 2 fasteners at each loop would come down through the backing plate into the base of the loop to mount it to the headliner; then after attaching the headliner/handrail combo 4 screws will go up through the headliner and backing plate into the ceiling at each loop.
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interior grabrails

Another posssibility, I plan to epoxy backing plates to the overhead with threaded studs to our boat this will allow the rail fittings to be attached after reattaching the liner the backing plates will be 3/4 inch plywood countersunk at the bolt heads to accept large washers this will create a large surface area of contact for high strength without additional holes through the cabin top and the possibility of leaks. If wooden rails are to be used threaded t-nuts can be used in the same fashion allowing standard machine screws to attach the rails after reattaching the headliner.
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Be care that those backing plates don't lower the grabrails to much or you'll be walking your head into them.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freesail99 View Post
Be care that those backing plates don't lower the grabrails to much or you'll be walking your head into them.
Isn't hitting something with your head usually the fastest way to find something that you weren't looking for?
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True, I watched my son do this in my boat over the weekend.
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Through bolting definitely strongest.. I also like the idea of the barrel nuts Sailboy mentions.

A thought: would it be possible to install them exactly in line with the deck mounted handrails? If so then you could drill through, bolt both together, plug the recessed screwhead/nuts top and bottom with bungs afterward. Should be very strong then.
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Old 12-05-2007
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Drilling through is another place that water will leak in. I have a resistance to making any new holes in a boat, top or bottom.

That's why I would agree with the concept of creating strong anchors on the inside. How you do that will depend on your boat.

Andre
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