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Old 21-08-2017, 08:15   #1
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Can someone talk me off the ledge?

This spring I bought a sailboat called a Skimmer 25. I've always loved the look of the boat and it is a very trailerable boat which suits my life presently.
I'm a lover of bright work, and these boats that came with a toerail had this "plastic that looks like wood" that I suppose was supposed to be attractive for zero maintenance. It was all cracked and brittle plus not traditional so I'm replacing the faux wood with real teak. I've done the runners for the overhead sliding hatch, and the eyebows along the cabin top with no issues. I started the toerails this weekend but am having hell. I was anxious about getting the bend needed to follow the beam as it should, but that has been rather easy. My problem is when I put the toerail down with the bottom flush on the deck and then put all the leverage I can muster onto the drill screwdriver, once the screw starts taking hold in the fiberglass deck the toe rail rises about 1/2" and I CANNOT get it to go back down. Plus, I think I can feel the screw as it goes through the deck, and I'm not sure there is anything down there to drill into. This sucks! The boat has a liner inside so I have no way of knowing for sure. Having the fake wood as a template allowed me to exactly mirror the screw length and size, and the amount of countersink. It's a longshot I would think but although I drilled my holes at the same intervals, they aren't necessarily at the same place on the new rails, which I would have thought would be a plus since I filled,faired and painted old holes, allowing the new holes into the deck to be in a new area.

Is it feasible that there were just properly spaced blocks under the deck every 5 inches to provide backing and I'm just missing them? I'm going to start what is probably going to be a futile search for builder (out of business over a decade) to ask him about this.
Now my questions.
What makes something flush pull away from the surface you are drilling into?

What the heck do I do now? It's not ideal but am I left with epoxying them or 5200 them down and let that cure and take some of the adhesion and then try and screw? I love buytl tape but that seals but doesn't really "grab" so that's out.

This was long but I wanted to set the stage and try and anticipate and answer questions you folks might be asking. I wish I had an old Pro around me I could get some input from but just don't. Thanks in advance folks. I don't know where to turn!!
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:22   #2
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

Sorry, not quite visualizing it. A picture can be worth a thousand words.

Have you considered using a steam bender for the teak?

Don't use 5200, it is pretty permanent. Use 4200 if you need to use bedding compound.

I have heard plenty of horror stories of people who used 5200 who found out later that for some reason they were going to have to remove whatever they bedded down with 5200.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:27   #3
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

The bending isn't the issue. It's the toerail coming up from the deck once I screw it into the deck.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:29   #4
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

Still not visualizing it, sorry. More fasteners to keep it down? Why would the teak popup but the plastic did not? Plastic tends to be more flexible than wood so I am puzzled.
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Old 21-08-2017, 08:37   #5
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

If you trying to bend a thick section of teak to conform to a curved surface you have several choices:

1) Screw or bolt it down which works for thin sections
2) Shape it to fit the curve
3) Prebend it using steam bending
4) Build the section from thinner sections.

If you are attempting 1) and you can't even clamp it in place the teak is telling you to choose another option.

If you are using a screwdriver and slotted fasteners then don't expect much clamping force. Through drilled bolts, nuts and backing plates will give more clamping force but do add more leak paths to seal.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:07   #6
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

If the Teak toe rail is not clear drilled for the screw all the way through then the screw will bite into the teak and tighten before it bottoms out in the fiberglass.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:08   #7
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

My problem is when I put the toerail down with the bottom flush on the deck and then put all the leverage I can muster onto the drill screwdriver, once the screw starts taking hold in the fiberglass deck the toe rail rises about 1/2" and I CANNOT get it to go back down.

first thing that comes to mind is drill the holes in the teak a little bit larger so the screw doesn't grab in the teak as it is being screwed in.
Are your pilot holes in the fiberglass deck large enough?
Have you tried inserting a screw in the deck by itself? Does it hit another layer? Does you pilot hole need to be deeper?
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:09   #8
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

I have lots of experience screwing things down, and having them lift off the surface. I have to clamp, put a heavy weight on, stand on it etc to stop the piece from lifting. As the screw enters the lower item it will push up the top item if the top item is not held down in some way. A helper in your case would help a lot!
Oh ya, Chuck the slotted screws and use the square Robertson type screws for best purchase.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:11   #9
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

The holes you drilled through your teak are not large enough. The screws are actually biting into the teak and pulling it up before they are getting a good hold of the fiberglass. Enlarge the holes in the teak a wee bit and they will pull down just fine. Use the same drill size, but wiggle the drill bit around in the hole a few times to ream it out a little. This will allow the screw to go through the teak without grabbing it and pulling it up. +1 on 4200 too! NOT 5200.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:11   #10
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

Couldn't be sure from your description if you've drilled a hole through the teak for the screw to pass through so the screw can clamp the toerail to the deck. If you haven't, you should. Teak is generally much harder than domestic woods, so if you have drilled a hole, and it is a relatively tight fit for the diameter of the screw, the strength of the wood can jack the toerail up, bottoming the screw head into the toerail before the bite into the fiberglass pulls the toerail down to the deck.

If this is the case, drill a bigger hole for the screw to pass through, so that it can clamp the rail to the deck.

Another interpretation could be that the fiberglass into which you're screwing is too thin to provide the clamping force necessary to hold the toerail down. If this is the case then you'll have to either go back to the original holes and hope there is a backing block there with enough meat left for the screws to grab and hold (a larger diameter screw might work), or figure out some way of getting backing blocks in place.

A third alternative, not recommended, would be to use a combination of backing blocks where you can fit them and some sort of stainless toggle bolts and adhesive.

As noted previously, 5200 is not the best choice for this application, though if you have to go with the third alternative, it might be necessary,


Teak is not generally considered suitable for steam bending, though it isn't really relevant since the OP says bending isn't his issue...
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:12   #11
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

I understand your issue. I am the world's worst wood worker, though!

His problem, guys, is this: he's screwing a piece of wood down into something (forget it's a boat!!!) and wood he is trying to screw down keeps lifting off the surface he's screwing it into.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:16   #12
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

I don't know the boat but, sounds like your toerail screws are hitting something or bottoming out on something solid like an aluminum or ss plate under the deck. What kind of screws came out of the original toerail? Could they have been self tapping?
Try drilling smaller pilot hole beyond your screw hole to get screw started. Just guessing here.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:16   #13
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

I was thinking maybe the screw is getting a grip on the teak ,maybe the hole is big enough,maybe not,it could also be the screw is still getting a grip on the teak even if the hole IS big enough because the bend in the teak is not perfect & the screw is getting a grip on the side of the through hole? All speculation but at least it's something to look at
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:20   #14
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

OK, been there, done that with the toe rail on my Cal 28-II.

The problem is simple. You're placing the screws through a liner, into a void, then through the deck, finally into a cranky piece of teak. Here's what I would do: Where your holes are, drill a bigger hole through the liner only ( like maybe a 1/2" to 1" hole). Be VERY careful, because there's probably only a 1/4" gap between the liner and the deck. Get some stiff epoxy putty stuff that comes in a tootsie roll shape. Mix it up and create a solid area between the liner and the deck for maybe 1/4" all around where the hole in the deck is. On the liner side, be sure it's nice and flat. Your screw will be going in there... later.. Let it harden, re-drill the hole for the screw ( from the deck hole down) and you'll have no problems.

If the teak continues to want to lift, and strips the screws out, then you are going to have to put a lot more screws in. In that case, my suggestion is to cut a 2 - 3" oblong area out of the liner at each screw location. Epoxy a piece of hardwood in as a backing plate. Drill holes for your mounting screws. Once you are done, then place the teak in position and hold it there with heavy weights and clamps while you screw it in from underneath. Now you have an underside that looks tacky. No problem. Be sure you countersink the screws. Then get a decorative piece of teak and mount it over the ugly holes. It will look beautiful.

BTW, use the Butyl tape. It's a minor pain but in the end, the lack of leaks and problems with water is WELL worth the effort.
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Old 21-08-2017, 09:21   #15
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Re: Can someone talk me off the ledge?

Bite the bullet and taske down the head liner. Replace screws with machine screws and lock nuts, Replacing the headliner is not that hard and you will not have any issues with the trim coming loose.
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