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Old 28-05-2008, 07:51   #1
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Deck Backing Material and Width

Hi,

We are about to install a wind generator- we were thinking about using StarBoard for the backing material, but we weren't sure the best width. We will probably use the extra to replace the backing on the bow cleats also.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 28-05-2008, 08:08   #2
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Don't know much about starboard but I would wonder if it has the compreshive strength to handle being a backing plate. One way to test this would be to take a nut and bolt and tighten it on a piece of starBoard. If the material starts to deform it is probably not a suitable material. I would think that Aluminum plate would be better. My cleats are backed with 3/16 or 1/4 aluminum plate.
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Old 28-05-2008, 10:56   #3
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I prefer using SS plate for backings. First it's compatible with SS fasteners and the thickness required isn't as much as alum. or hardwoods. The only non-metallic material I think I, me, myself would use, would be, a carbon-fiber composite backed with washers.

No offense Charlie, but I've seen some major electrolysis using aluminum backing plates.

The alum. backing plates holding this track on, I was able to pull off without even unbolting it.
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Old 28-05-2008, 11:04   #4
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No offense Taken Del I can see you point about SS. I checked my backing plates for 2 of the six cleats and the aluminium is holding up great. If I have any problems though I'll go to SS. The logic is there.
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Old 28-05-2008, 13:14   #5
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Backing plates need to be more than Starboard. If Starboard could do the job you would not require a backing plate at all. A wind genrator is going to need a real backing plate as would a cleat located any place. Make sure to use sealant on the threads and nut with large washers.
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Old 28-05-2008, 13:15   #6
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We use Almag-35 backing plates. No electrolysis, no rust, and it is stronger than regular aluminum so it dosn't need to be as thick. Almag is better than SS for marine applications IMHO, but everyone will have their own idea of "better".

I have used star board for a few applications (floor boards, etc.) in the past and find that it's really not all its cracked up to be. I'm sure that even with an oversized washer a tightened nut would eventually pull through.
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Old 28-05-2008, 13:19   #7
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Quote:
We use Almag-35 backing plates. No electrolysis, no rust, and it is stronger than regular aluminum so it doesn't need to be as thick.
We have some. I had to pull a rope clutch that died of old age and the Almag backing plates was as good as new after 17 years. It's nice stuff but I have no clue where you could get some.
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Old 28-05-2008, 13:31   #8
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It's nice stuff but I have no clue where you could get some.
We cast our own Almag-35 backing plates. We make them in four sizes; 6"x6", 6"x9", 9"x12" and 12"x 16" for the heavy duty stuff. We also anodize them to give even more protection against corrosion in the salt.

They are definitely more expensive than a piece of wood or SS, but, as you say, they last like nothing else.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:45   #9
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I use 3/8" aluminum plates for backing on cleats. 1/4" in my opinion is not thick enough. I paint the plates before installing, and use antisieze on the bolts.
If I was rich, stainless would be my choice

I get my alum plate at a scrap metal yard.
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Old 04-06-2008, 09:50   #10
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Money Issue

Ok, so we dropped the Starboard idea, but still haven't really decided. Given the overall quality of our boat (a Watkins 27'), there are no backing plates on anything. We are going to reinforce all stanchions, cleats, wind generator mast/ stays, etc. For the quantity of backing material required, I don't think we can afford stainless steel. How about marine grade plywood and largest washers possible? What thickness plywood would be recommended? We plan on refitting for the next year or so and then cruising for as long as possible before we get a bigger boat. So that also weighs into the equation.
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Old 04-06-2008, 10:59   #11
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You might take a look at G10. It's a structural epoxy composite and is available from several online sources. My personal favorite is McMasters-Carr. You can cut it with a jig-saw and epoxy it in place. Then use large stainless washers. Really oversize the backing plate to spread the load over the glass panel. I use 1/4 or 3/8 depending on loading. McMasters has the load and crush data for each size on thier site. It's comparable to aluminum in that respect, but is easier on tools.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:03   #12
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Although I wouldn’t recommend G-10 (& it’s like) for backers, if you must use a thermoset laminate, then I’d prefer the flame retardant version, FR-4 epoxy.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:00   #13
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Hardwood Backer

Visiting a friend on his wooden boat last night, I noticed that all of his deck hardware is backed with 1/2" oak. This is in addition to the deck, which I believe is also 1/2" oak. So, now I think I'm gonna go with either 1/2" oak or teak. Really, if the bolts rip out after that, it's gonna take the deck with it too.
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Old 06-06-2008, 09:19   #14
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There are two potential problems associated with wood backers:
- Dimensional stability
Wood is both soft, and imperfectly stable, so fastenings can loosen over time.
- Rot
Wood is subject to severe degradation when wet.

Metals, such as aluminum, stainless steel, & titanium are preferred backing materials.
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