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  #11  
Old 02-26-2011
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Some have fabricated toerails of star-board to provide a low maintenance replacement for wooden toerails. They may harmonize with the traditional design of your boat better than aluminum toerails. The star-board can be worked using standard woodworking tools. I've seen lengths successfully joined with "plated scarf joints" using the deck as the joint plate. If you Google "Star-board" and "plated scarf joints", you'll find descriptions of the tasks to assess whether your skills will allow sucessful completion of this task.
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Originally Posted by Hudsonian View Post
Some have fabricated toerails of star-board to provide a low maintenance replacement for wooden toerails. They may harmonize with the traditional design of your boat better than aluminum toerails. The star-board can be worked using standard woodworking tools. I've seen lengths successfully joined with "plated scarf joints" using the deck as the joint plate. If you Google "Star-board" and "plated scarf joints", you'll find descriptions of the tasks to assess whether your skills will allow sucessful completion of this task.
But starboard is not very strong as a structural material.
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I'd use the aluminum toerail. Starting at one end it should bend into place fairly easily. It will be much more useful than wood (or starboard which isn't a solution for everything) and won't have the issue of moisture under it as wood eventually does. The "T" section of aluminum toerail should bend as well as "L" section - it is the horizontal section that will resist bend the most, the vertical section should not resist much.
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I would like to hear from someone who has actually bent on a metal rail. The original posters boat and mine have a similar profile. Here is an alberg 30

The toe rail has a lot of curve to it compared to modern boats. I know it can be done, I just wonder how much work it really is. Perhaps builders pre-bend them on a form prior to bolting to hull. One worry is that the amount of force required to bend an L or T section profile over the fiberglass could cause damage to the boat. I do not know this, but aluminum is really stiff stuff.
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I would like to hear from someone who has actually bent on a metal rail. The original posters boat and mine have a similar profile. Here is an alberg 30

The toe rail has a lot of curve to it compared to modern boats. I know it can be done, I just wonder how much work it really is. Perhaps builders pre-bend them on a form prior to bolting to hull. One worry is that the amount of force required to bend an L or T section profile over the fiberglass could cause damage to the boat. I do not know this, but aluminum is really stiff stuff.
Given the actual bend is fairly gradual over a fairly long distance, the forces required aren't all that high. Many materials that you would consider difficult to bend and stiff would make the bend along the hull-deck join on a boat with little trouble.
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There are no sharp curves, but a gentle bend over 35 or so feet. I doubt a builder would prebend the rail. They probably use a few people to hold it while others put bolts on.
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Thanks for all the great input everyone!

I do appear to have the Irwin type hull to deck type construction, there might be a slight indent of 1/4 to (I doubt) 1/2 inch where the toe rail is bedded, I am still not sure and won't be until I pull a piece of the rail up and lay eyes on it.

It seems to me that the aluminum rail would conform to the shape if I bolt either the forward or aft section on first, then just use the leverage the rail itself would provide by being so long (34'). I think I could just bolt one end down, then make the bend by pulling in one the opposing end, bolting as we go. What do you guys think?

Also, I made sure to look and verify that every single thru bolt is in a location that I can lay a wrench on, and they are (gotta love the Alberg).

I wonder if heat would help in making the bends if needed? Bad idea? I could have a torch handy and apply heat as we make the bend and bolt as we go..

?
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the other big questions is aesthetics I guess.. I certainly don't like the way the metal rail looks on a classic boat like mine, but functionality has to win out at the end of the day for what/where we wish to sail her someday soon.

I could paint it wood color I suppose....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisncate View Post
I wonder if heat would help in making the bends if needed? Bad idea? I could have a torch handy and apply heat as we make the bend and bolt as we go..
I do think heat would be a bad idea... it won't do the anodizing any good and may cause severe discolouration. As I indicated before, attaching one end and applying pressure with some friends as you drill/bolt your way along should do it.. but you'll need some space/clearance alongside as you deal with the exit angle and the sheer changes while you bend.
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I wonder if heat would help in making the bends if needed? Bad idea? I could have a torch handy and apply heat as we make the bend and bolt as we go..

?
Bad idea. Not only can it discolor the anodization, but if the aluminum is heat treated for strength, it will ruin the heat treatment and weaken it considerably.
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