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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My Cal 2-27 has pretty minimal wood above deck compared to most older plastic classics, but it's there and it's teak: companionway surrounds, sliding hatch runners, hardware base plates, and long handrails port & starboard.
The handrails need to be replaced, and they're not one of the stock sizes: 5 loops on ~15" centers, about 7' overall. So I gotta build from scratch. But, as you all know, teak is not cheap! Just went to the exotic woods place and the quote for an appropriate sized blank (8'x2"x6") was about $300, not including a quick planing to clean it up.
African mahogany, however, would be more like $80. And they have it in 5/4, a perfect width for handrails after planing and sanding (teak was only 4/4 or 8/4).

I just wonder how a mix of mahogany and teak woods will look on a boat that isn't a great classic beauty to begin with. Could it add some visual interest? Or be an ugly clashing mess? I plan to varnish the handrails and make covers so I guess they'll be hidden most of the time anyway.

Can anyone point me to good - or bad - examples of mixed hardwoods on boats? Other wood species suggestions also welcome. Trying to save a few bucks but still use wood and reuse the same holes in the deck.
 

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I don't think it will look bad at all. Check out iroko as it is what some production boats are using as a more sustainable exterior wood.
 

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Iroko is actually used quite a bit by production builders as a teak sub. I have quite a bit of it and use it for repairs/replacement on the interior. When you get done sanding it you can't tell the difference. The added bonus is it holds a finish better than teak! Don't know what the price is, but when I bought it 30 yrs ago it was a 1/3 the price of teak, which was not that expensive back then, as now!
 

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I built replacement handrails for my boat a couple years ago. I didn't consider teak for the cost. My boat has a mixture of African mahogany(like the entire cabin) and original teak like the hatches, all original, 50+ years old.

I used easily available renewable mahogany(I think it's considered a Honduran Mahogany) and paid about 8.00 per board foot.(I use a bit of it in my business, design/building). Nice material to work with, glues well, finishes nicely.

I couldn't use off the shelf loops, the sizing was too long between stations to work.

Going to all that trouble, I tweaked the design a little. I glued up(epoxy) two 3/4" pieces of stock, wide enough for two sets. That allowed me cut a tapered rail. The base is 1 3/8" wide and the rails taper to a 1" round top. Not just asthetics, I wanted a broader base thinking that would be a strong attachment. That and closer stations, I think they look better.

All the wood looks a bit different on my boat, because it is in some cases, but age also-even in the same species, looks much different. Your new handrails won't match your older brightwork, that's just how wood is.

Good luck!

 

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If you want to lighten the mahogany to get a closer match, you can leave it in the sun for a few days this will help reduce some of the redness\purpleness after which use some teak brightener. it will lighten the wood. It wont be perfect but not as dark. I have old teak toe rails that are naturally dark and my hand rails are mahogany. I managed a close match. Keep it well varnished as mahogany does not have the oils in it like teak that preserve the wood.
 

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I built replacement handrails for my boat a couple years ago. I didn't consider teak for the cost. My boat has a mixture of African mahogany(like the entire cabin) and original teak like the hatches, all original, 50+ years old.

I used easily available renewable mahogany(I think it's considered a Honduran Mahogany) and paid about 8.00 per board foot.(I use a bit of it in my business, design/building). Nice material to work with, glues well, finishes nicely.

I couldn't use off the shelf loops, the sizing was too long between stations to work.

Going to all that trouble, I tweaked the design a little. I glued up(epoxy) two 3/4" pieces of stock, wide enough for two sets. That allowed me cut a tapered rail. The base is 1 3/8" wide and the rails taper to a 1" round top. Not just asthetics, I wanted a broader base thinking that would be a strong attachment. That and closer stations, I think they look better.

All the wood looks a bit different on my boat, because it is in some cases, but age also-even in the same species, looks much different. Your new handrails won't match your older brightwork, that's just how wood is.

Good luck!

There you go, posting pictures of that boat again. I love that boat. And you have a lot of wood to play with on that. I do like the thicker bases, it just looks stronger. Some boats, especially older ones where the rails are worn thin look like they will snap just getting to the bow on a calm day. Those are confidence inspiring!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yep, nothing looks wrong on Tom's boat. I'll probably end up using African mahogany and try HR28's trick of leaving them out in the sun for a while to see if that changes the tone at all.
Iroko would be great, but I haven't seen any locally. Will try a few sources before giving up. Always heard it was a great Teak substitute.
Afrormosia also appears to be an option, although approaching teak in price.

Imported Lumber | MacBeath Hardwood
 

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Bleaching them a bit in the sun would be a good idea.

Here's the rails as I shaped them. You can just see the glue line and the bevel ripped in the stock. A 1/2" router bit cut the perfect 1" top. Material costs doing it this way are about $10 per running foot of handrail. Labor doesn't count, if you're having fun.

 

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Daniel - Norsea 27
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If done right, the different tones of different wood can add some interest to a boat. I have a lot of teak on deck, but the rudder cheeks are mahogany (I think). I had sanded down the handrails (teak) and refinished them and came out a nice golden color, but sanding down and using the same varnish on the rudder cheeks, they came out much darker, like you see on the dark parts of pieces laminated together on a tiller.

Still looks good to me. Still have more coats to do on the cheeks as part of my winter projects and it's turning out pretty good so far. ;-)
 

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I think mixing woods is an art...when boat are done in one wood they dont look good to me

same goes for the TEAK queens out there...not everything should be "TEAK" the "best" wood.

cherry, mahogany, oak, ash, spruce, teak, etc...all can look lovely inside and out.

Im a huge fan of good trimming and contrast with different woods and paints for that matter.

good luck
 

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Teak is used, not just because it looks beautiful, but also for its extraordinary resistance to water. I have an area on the floor that was getting damp long term. The plywood has rotted away, so have the holly strips. The teak looks like new.
 

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yup there are other unknowns out there too

not only teak

plywood shouldnt even be considered a wood in this context...
 

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Barquito
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Tom, I love those rails. If it wasn't pointed out to me, I don't think I would have noticed that the bases are wider than the hand-hold. However, subconsiously, it just looks proportional and strong.

To go further of topic; it made me think that I should through-bolt (with bung) my handrails rather than have a screw holding them in place.
 

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Yes, they should definitely be through-bolted. My Bristol has handrails inside the salon, so they bolted the inner and outer handrails together, sandwiching the deck. Nice strong construction, but hard work when it comes time to rebed the outside ones.
 

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Mark is right about through bolting, but I broke that rule.

The last rails did some damage to the wood cabin as they invariably start to leak. Hand rails are high maintenance so I choose to screw them in from below.

With a fiberglass cabin, damage is not an issue so through bolting makes the most sense and is the most secure.

I've done a lot of this over the years so I think I can achieve an acceptable fastening. Large screws(the length is crucial as the bases cannot hold alone), correct pilot bits, finish washers.

Plus the added base area was in my mind-side pulling forces- as well as the closer stations for more fastenings..

The whole reason being, I want to be able to remove them for re-bedding and re finishing. Probably at 8 to 10 year intervals.

They will leak eventually.

That will be easy to do in comparison to through bolting.
 

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Mark is right about through bolting, but I broke that rule.

The last rails did some damage to the wood cabin as they invariably start to leak. Hand rails are high maintenance so I choose to screw them in from below.

With a fiberglass cabin, damage is not an issue so through bolting makes the most sense and is the most secure.

I've done a lot of this over the years so I think I can achieve an acceptable fastening. Large screws(the length is crucial as the bases cannot hold alone), correct pilot bits, finish washers.

Plus the added base area was in my mind-side pulling forces- as well as the closer stations for more fastenings..

The whole reason being, I want to be able to remove them for re-bedding and re finishing. Probably at 8 to 10 year intervals.

They will leak eventually.

That will be easy to do in comparison to through bolting.
I've done that too - BIG self tapping screws, like #12 or #14. The only handrails I've ever had come adrift were bolted.
 

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In order for my bolted handrails to come out, you'd have to rip out a 6 foot section of the cabin roof, given that they are bolted through a handrail inside the cabin.
 
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