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Lancer28 04-17-2008 12:24 PM

Reapiring S/S forecastle... to weld, braze or not?
Returning from the Gulf with my boat on a trailer, the weight of the mast laying on the forecastle broke 2 of the 3 "tubes" that are welded to flanges when I hit a BIG bump that popped it up in the air and crashed it back down. (Even with the support beams in place and lashed)

To complicate things, the wires for the forward nav lights are routed through the tubes, and they are severad too, which shouldn't be a big deal, but when it rains, it pours!

Here's my questions -

If I should properly weld, then I will have to unbolt the tubing and flanges because I don't want to burn the boat or fiberglass, or start a fire in general. This creates a problem, as the bolts / nuts / backing plates are well hidden in the overhead in the forward berth underneath nicley upholstered vinyl / pleather. I'm not sure if I can replace it, or get it to look like stock if I pull it out. The backing plates are teak on this boat, I don't want a smoldering fire.

Brazing with a Stainless Steel repair rod (like soldering) still gets the steel to 750 degrees and saturates the flange and tube quite well. This would melt the wires inside. That may also burn, melt and destroy the boat too. Again, same problem with needing to unbolt.

If I choose to not weld, then what product should work best? I was looking at Marine Weld, which is a stick-type epoxy, but I would certainly need to rough up the surfaces to get good adhesion, and don't know the best course of action on that one.

So, back to welding (if gluing is a bad idea), do you think I can use the MIG and just do beads of quick "spot welds" and let it cool off inbetween? I could cover the deck with a welding blanket. I would also need to seal the joint after spot welding because there would not be a clean bead. In that case, what is a good sealant, or should I use the Marine Weld stick epoxy?

Any thoughts either way?


sailingfool 04-17-2008 01:53 PM

54 Attachment(s)
I think you need to remove the entire rail, and either replace with new or have it repaired by a SS fabricator.

sailingdog 04-17-2008 04:23 PM

I'd second SF's suggestion...and mention that if the boat melts and burns... you won't have to worry about it.

T34C 04-17-2008 06:35 PM

I agree that it needs to come off to be repaired or replaced. The only thing that MIGHT be able affect a repair without removal would be if you could locate someone with a phaser welder.

Lancer28 07-23-2008 01:33 PM

I just wanted to follow up on this thread. I took off the F/C and the welds actually had so much penetration they cupped INTO the joint and didn't leave but a hair of material in it.

I unbolted the two broken areas from the deck, got out my MIG and loaded it up with SS wire and went to town. Since then, we've pounded it around, used it for a "adult activity" seat in the middle of the night, and had folks stand on it under sail, and not even the slightest hint of wear or fatigue.

You're right guys, welding is the only way to go.


sailingdog 07-23-2008 01:53 PM


that's a bit too much information IMHO... :)

max-on 07-23-2008 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 344942)

that's a bit too much information IMHO... :)

That may be because he read your post in your signature!! :D

EO32 07-23-2008 05:08 PM

Hey, I think it is important to know that welds can hold up to adult activity.

Nothing like busting a weld as you......

Gary1 07-24-2008 08:35 AM

S/S has to be TIG welded to hold properly. A good welder could possibly tack weld the rail back on, but that's it. It's a PITA, but pull the feet off and take the whole thing to a good fabrication shop.

Once, I'd have said build a new one, but with the wholesale cost of a 20' stick of 1" tubing being over $200 bucks now, it's gotten a little too pricey to just build a new part when the other one can be salvaged.

A tip: When you pull the 'feet' off the boat, make a template using 3" wide door skin glued with a hot glue gun. Mark the exact spot the original feet were in, including where the screw holes are at. That way the welder can put it back together and it won't have to be re-fitted to the boat.

A better way is to take the boat to the fab shop, have them tack weld the rail back to the feet so the holes are perfectly lined up, then take the feet off and let them have the rail to weld it up properly.

Most shops are incredibly busy, so don't be surprised if they need the rail for a few days. And don't forget about the 'work triangle'. You have cheap, fast, and good. You can have two of them, but not all three. If you want it fast, it's gonna be $$. If you're on a tight budget, and still want it fast, the work ain't gonna be wonderful. That's the reality of the business.

sailingdog 07-24-2008 10:13 AM


First off... you can weld stainless with MIG equipment. TIG isn't necessary AFAIK. Second, he welded the piece already, and has battle tested it on his boat in real world conditions... so doesn't really need advice to remove it. If you had read the OP's latest posts, you'd realize this.

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