Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 15-08-2014, 14:19   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: South San Francisco
Boat: Atkins Thistle 32 ft
Posts: 54
Welding vs Fittings for Rails

I'm looking to re-do my push-pit and integrate it with a full cockpit cover to hold solar panels, plus switch from lifelines to rails. Any thoughts on using SS fittings vs. having it all welded would be greatly appreciated. Are fittings equally strong? Has anyone had issues with a large welded structure like that? Are there less costly alternatives? Does canvas tend to wear out / tear when pulled over fittings?

The cost of the fittings is a bit of a consideration as well. I'm looking at about $700 to $1000 just for the fittings. The only alternative I can think of is to get a TIG welder and brush up my skills (used to weld oxy-acetylene and buzz-box). I'm guessing selling the rig after I'm done would put the total cost about the same. Hiring it all done is probably out of my reach.

Thanks!
__________________

__________________
IolantheSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-08-2014, 14:49   #2
Moderator
 
JPA Cate's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: aboard, cruising in Australia
Boat: Sayer 46' Solent rig sloop
Posts: 10,722
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Iolanthe SF,

Acrylic canvas can be laced around rails and fittings. It does not stay waterproof more than 5 yrs., IME, although being covered by solar panels might extend its life.

The job you suggest has to come out right, or there'll be even more holes drilled. What you suggest is a structure that will add tremendously to the boat's hobby horsing, all that weight aft and up high. Or were you planning to use the flexible solar panels?

I have seen home welded structures that came out really well, complete with cleats welded on aft, for tying up dinghies to, others come out with very agricultural looking welds. If you go ahead with it, give some consideration to building in water catchment. Rain squalls offer a chance to refill water tanks.

Maybe a local community college has a TIG welding class where you could polish up your skills?

Good luck with your project.

Ann
__________________

__________________
Ann, with Jim, aboard US s/v Insatiable II, in Oz, very long term cruisers
JPA Cate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-08-2014, 21:29   #3
Registered User

Join Date: May 2008
Location: daytona beach florida
Boat: csy 37
Posts: 2,844
Images: 1
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

I used 1" stainless tubing and stainless fittings to construct a "tower" to hold my solar panel over the stern. It stands 6 feet above the coamings and the base legs are about 3 feet apart. For strength I drilled through the fittings and used stainless bolts to secure them to the tubes. I have NO welding skills so it was that or pay what I considered exorbitant charges by the local land shark. Three years now and i am still happy with the results.
__________________
Take two at low eight
onestepcsy37 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-08-2014, 21:46   #4
Sponsoring Vendor
 
HopCar's Avatar

Community Sponsor
Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Miami Florida
Boat: Ellis Flybridge 28
Posts: 3,166
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

To my eye welded looks a lot better but it needs a really good welder to make it look right. If you are going to bend tubes, let a pro do it.

If you decide to go with fittings, send me a list of what you'll need. I'd love the chance to quote you. I sell Suncor and Seadog rail fittings.
__________________
Hopkins-Carter Marine Supplies & Fishing Tackle
What You Need, at the Price You Want...with Service!
HopCar is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 15-08-2014, 21:49   #5
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

I am tempted to talk you out of switching from lifelines + netting to rails as it's probably heavier and I don't know what you gain but if you do this.

For rails - welding is the go.

For pushpit - welding is the go

For the arch and bimini fittings are the go unless as Ann says you go with laced on bimini canvas.
__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-08-2014, 22:14   #6
Guy
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: So. Oregon, USA
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 4,308
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Through bolting the fittings could be a good plan. You could make some gentle bends if needed. Buying a decent tig welder and getting good enough to weld tubing is no small order. Forget Harbor Freight type tig welders, you will need to buy something like a Miller or Lincoln entry level welder. Probably pushing $1500 + a gas tank. A shop to work in is a big plus, drill press, sanders/grinders, polishing equipment, air etc. Trying to make pretty welds on the boat is almost a joke unless you are very experienced.
__________________
Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-08-2014, 22:15   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: South San Francisco
Boat: Atkins Thistle 32 ft
Posts: 54
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Thanks to all for the tips. I like the through-bolting idea as if I get the whole thing up and change my mind about one thing or another... The extra strength of the sockets at the joints should make up for not welding. Some diagonal bracing in the form of 1/4 SS cables should add a little rigidity.

Happy sails!
__________________
IolantheSF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-08-2014, 17:14   #8
Registered User
 
Snowpetrel's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hobart
Boat: Alloy Peterson 40
Posts: 3,071
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

I managed to stick weld all my stainless rails on snow petrel, the thin tubing was a challange, but managable with an inverter welder, small rods and fast responses. The level of finish I got might be OK for your atkins, or maybe not depending on the rest of the boat and your 'poshness' level.

Sent from my GT-P5210 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
__________________
My Ramblings
Snowpetrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-08-2014, 17:49   #9
Senior Cruiser
 
roverhi's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kona, Hawaii, Carlsbad, CA
Boat: 1969 Pearson 35 #108 & 1976 Sabre 28
Posts: 6,006
Send a message via Yahoo to roverhi
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Had a welder extend the pushpit so I could mount solar panels. He did a great job adding about 2' to the length, additional down tube support and cross bracing. Can't tell it wasn't original and more rigid. Unfortunately it wasn't cheap, about a boat unit for all the work.
__________________
Peter O.
'Ae'a Pearson 35
roverhi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 17-08-2014, 19:42   #10
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Long Beach, CA
Boat: Tayana Vancouver 42
Posts: 1,857
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

One consideration to keep in mind about a welded unit. I docked next to a Nordic Tug last week. He had a leaky deck fitting attaching one leg of a beautifully welded railing around his entire upper deck. To get at the resulting bad spot under the fitting he was going to have to remove the entire structure as one piece ( about a dozen uprights each with 4 bolts ) and after the repair he has to be sure to seal all of them to prevent new water intrusion at any of the now dry holes. Something to think about.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
__________________
Tayana42 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 17-08-2014, 23:35   #11
Registered User
 
Terra Nova's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Marina del Rey, California
Boat: Freya 39 cutter- Terra Nova
Posts: 3,652
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Assembling a rail from separate fittings, through-bolted or not, is weak and can create a loosely hung together structure, perhaps OK for an inshore trailer boat, but unsuited to offshore work.

Tig welding requires skill that few stick and gas welders possess. And it takes perhaps years of experience, and thousand of $ worth of equipment, to get good at this. Leave it to a pro.

And leave the lifelines alone.
__________________
1st rule of yachting: When a collision is unavoidable, aim for something cheap.
"whatever spare parts you bring, you'll never need"--goboatingnow
"Id rather drown than have computers take over my life."--d design
Terra Nova is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2014, 00:37   #12
Moderator Emeritus
 
Ex-Calif's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Singapore
Boat: Maxi 77 - Relax Lah!
Posts: 11,514
Images: 4
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Terra Nova View Post

Tig welding requires skill that few stick and gas welders possess. And it takes perhaps years of experience, and thousand of $ worth of equipment, to get good at this. Leave it to a pro.
Thanks for saying that. I thought I was the only one.

Stick welding is for trailers and boat stands.

I was trained to tig weld. While I have stick welded on trailers I have never done anything "pretty" with a stick
__________________
Relax Lah! is For Sale <--- Click
Click--> Custom CF Google Search or CF Rules
You're gonna need a bigger boat... - Martin Brody
Ex-Calif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2014, 02:37   #13
Bailing as fast as I can.
 
GILow's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Boat: Swanson 42
Posts: 3,585
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

I actually found TIG welding easier than MIG, certainly a lot neater. Therefore, I guess I am of the weld-it-if-you-can mindset, though the point about being able to dismantle what you build for maintenance purposes opened my eyes a bit. I had not previously considered that.

I do like the idea of buying the TIG to do the job, then selling it later. I often make similar purchases with tools I know I will need for a finite amount of time, but will be of great value to me while I have them. I just take good care of them while I have them, protect them from scratches, scuffing etc, and I can usually sell them very easily.

Ann's point about weight is valid though, and I find myself getting into a kind of "welding trance" sometimes. In those cases, I am not sure I would trust myself to adhere to the KISS principle. So watch you don't end up with the Taj Mahal of stainless steel on the stern when you have finished.

Matt
__________________
Very funny Scotty, now beam down my clothes.
http://www.swansonsailor.id.au
GILow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2014, 06:26   #14
Registered User
 
Snowpetrel's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Hobart
Boat: Alloy Peterson 40
Posts: 3,071
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
Thanks for saying that. I thought I was the only one.

Stick welding is for trailers and boat stands.

I was trained to tig weld. While I have stick welded on trailers I have never done anything "pretty" with a stick
We don't need pretty, just strong Perfectly adequate and tidy welds can be done with a stick if you know what you're doing. It's slower than Mig and not as delicate as TIG. But it sure has it's place on a sailing boat, Maybe not on a sailing"yacht" but we don't all want to sail glitzy fancy "yachts".

To be honest it's not real easy stick welding thin wall tube, but it can be done and it doesn't need to look like seagulls crap. I never bothered polishing any of mine, Snow Petrel was all about function, and shiny stainless handrails didn't add much function, given that I wanted to sail, not polish stuff. But despite the agricultural finish it all worked fine and got me where I wanted to go with no drama's. I just cleaned the welds up with a flap disk and called it done. It all depends on the situation and the boat as to what suits.

I feel sad that the DIY attitude of sailing is diminishing.
__________________
My Ramblings
Snowpetrel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18-08-2014, 09:50   #15
Guy
Registered User

Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: So. Oregon, USA
Boat: Seafarer36c
Posts: 4,308
Re: Welding vs Fittings for Rails

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
I feel sad that the DIY attitude of sailing is diminishing.

Why is using the wrong tool for the job preserving the DIY attitude? Not all DIY'ers think that way. What is sad are bird **** welds on a sailing boat when you don't like bird **** welds.
__________________

__________________
Guy is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Steel Boats and Welding SaltyMonkey Monohull Sailboats 634 04-05-2013 02:54
Welding Polyethylene Bryan Kemler Plumbing Systems and Fixtures 18 19-08-2010 19:57
Welding Stainless Through-Hulls to a Steel Hull Boracay Construction, Maintenance & Refit 30 20-06-2010 01:06
Bending and Welding Stainless Tubing bob and sharon Construction, Maintenance & Refit 14 08-06-2010 04:38
Welding Gases in the Caribbean? olhippie Boat Ownership & Making a Living 3 19-09-2009 06:02



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 16:03.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.