screws or bolts for a teak handrail? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-17-2012
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screws or bolts for a teak handrail?

I want to install a teak handrail on the forward part of the cabin of my hunter 25, so I have something to grab onto when I'm up there changing head sails. I recently installed a solar vent just behind the forward hatch, and the part of the deck I cut out was basically foam cored. This is a different part of the deck than where I will install the rails, but not that far from it so I think there is a very good chance it is all foam.

The hand rails around the companionway hatch do not appear to be through-bolted, and I read on some forum post that some hunters used screws for this purpose, but I can't see under the liner so I really don't know. There are no through-bolts going through the liner.

Well if I try and use screws, I fear they will have nothing to bite into but 1/4 inch of fiberglass and 2 inches of foam, not exactly an arrangement I would trust my life to. But if I through bolt it, besides having unsightly bolts over my v-berth, I fear I would be compressing the liner and the foam, and again, it may not be that strong for that reason. I suppose I could make a backing plate from 1/4 inch plywood or from aluminum, but that would really be ugly I am sure.

I have read about people epoxying oversized pieces of hardwood dowel into the deck where the screw holes should be, then screwing into that. I think that would hold, even in foam, but I don't know about the strength of screwing into the end grain.

I did a forum search and found little on point. Am I over thinking this? How is this usually done?
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Old 02-17-2012
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Use screws the other way. Drill the cabin top, pass the screw from below, screw to the teak.
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Old 02-17-2012
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If you're gonna drill thru the cabin top, use throughbolts. Only a little more work and infinitely more strength.
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Old 02-17-2012
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I recently replaced my exterior grab rails and they were screwed, however there is a mirror immage of the rails on the interior, the interior ones were drilled half way through and simply screwed thru the cabin top with 2 stainless screws per base, and into the exterior ones. So I would consider a small backing plate made of teak would give ample backing and would look nice as well.. gl
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Old 02-17-2012
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I have similar handrails to yours, Corvette. When I removed them to refinish, recaulk, I simply drilled clear thru the holes joining mating inner and outer handrails, enlarged the first inch or so of the screwholes to accept bolt heads on one end and nuts on the other, and throughbolted the rails together. No more work but a lot stronger.
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Old 02-17-2012
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Peter,

Through bolting is the safest way to do your job.

Here's a link to one of MaineSail's excellent tutorials on how to do this properly on a cored deck.

Sealing Deck Penetrations to Prevent Core Rot Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at pbase.com

Best,
PF
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Old 02-17-2012
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I didn't want to have plugs on the topside of my handrails so I mounted them from underneath with screws. I used #14 Pan head self tappers that reached almost all the way through the rail standoffs. I carefully drilled the holes in the handrails so they were the diameter of the minor axis of the screws shaft. I used fender washers with them to act as "backing plates".

#14 S/M screws are approaching lag bolts in terms of the aggressiveness of the threads so drilling the holes to the correct size gives you a VERY good bite into dense wood like teak.

It worked great for me - never a wiggle or a drop of leakage in nine years.
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Old 02-18-2012
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If you use screws you run the risk 9f the handrail pulling off when you need it the most - at that time you grab hold of it ans you are heading over the side.

For the OP be sure that you are not installing the handrails in an area where you walk heading to the bow and back. Having a handrail to trip over int he dark would be a bigger problem than hanging onto the lifelines as you go forward.
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Old 02-20-2012
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I wound up screwing up into the handrails with stainless lug nuts, bedded in butyl. Seems pretty sturdy. Before:




After:


you guys like the new smoked acrylic ports?
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Old 02-21-2012
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I would through bolt.

It is a MAJOR safety item.
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