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Old 27-10-2011, 18:56   #1
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What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

I am in the process of disantling my 1967 van de stat buccaneer, I need to replace various frames and all the deck and coachroof panels
My question is this- most of the screws I have removed appear to be brass- should I replace with the same or use stainless or some other material on the reassembly?
Thanks in advance for any advise!
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Old 27-10-2011, 19:17   #2
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Re: What screw matieral for a wooden boat resto?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodentop View Post
I am in the process of disantling my 1967 van de stat buccaneer, I need to replace various frames and all the deck and coachroof panels
My question is this- most of the screws I have removed appear to be brass- should I replace with the same or use stainless or some other material on the reassembly?
Thanks in advance for any advise!
DO NOT USE STAINLESS for underwater planking!!!

The screws you are removing is probably silicon bronze, otherwise they wouldn't be coming out. So, YES continue to use the bronze. You don't want to mix SS with bronze either.

e.g. See link>>> Search: bronze screws
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Old 27-10-2011, 19:24   #3
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Re: What screw matieral for a wooden boat resto?

Silicon Bronze or Monel
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Old 27-10-2011, 19:27   #4
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Re: What screw matieral for a wooden boat resto?

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Originally Posted by Woodentop View Post
t...the screws I have removed appear to be brass- should I replace with the same or use stainless or some other material on the reassembly?
Thanks in advance for any advise!
They probably aren't brass, but rather bronze. You can use either silicon bronze or monel, don't even think of using brass.
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Old 27-10-2011, 19:42   #5
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The screws I've removed so far are a 'dull bronze ' colour, but they are probably original and it's difficult to tell what material they are. I'll steer clear of brass And stainless!
I've attached a few photos of her and some progress so far
I've got my work cut out for a first project, but she came at a good price and my time is free!
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Old 27-10-2011, 22:27   #6
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Re: What screw matieral for a wooden boat resto?

What others have said. The screws you removed are silicon bronze. Replace with the same material. There are several suppliers but I use www.JamestownDistributors.com

kind regards,
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Old 28-10-2011, 05:09   #7
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

I used McFeeleys for the bronze screws. I also used the square drive, HOWEVER, I used larger screws, one size larger than the factory used, there are 2 bit driver sizes of square drive, I used the bigger one and had no trouble with the heads being reamed out. I believe they were number 12 size.

someone here mentioned some bad screws from Jamestown dist.
Silicone Bronze Screw Breakage [Archive] - The WoodenBoat Forum
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Old 28-10-2011, 06:32   #8
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

All good advice here, I second Johns recommendation for Jamestown Distributors, as well as using square drive flatheads, will make refastening much easier.
Wooden Boat magazine ran an excellent story a number of years ago about re-fastening. If you are interested, they are very good about researching what issue it was and will send you a copy. Here's their number 207 359-4651.
A word about upsizing the fasteners from what was originally used. Depending of the diameter, species, moisture content of the wood you will screw into just guessing what number screw can cause problems, cracking. Jamestown’s catalog has a good sizing page for their silicon bronze screws that will allow you to determine what size screw you are removing, diameter and length. From there you can make a judgment as to what size fastener to utilize. Then it’s just a matter of finding a quality, matching tapered drill bit with countersink and while using the old screw bore as a guide, re-boring for width, do not increase the depth.
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Old 28-10-2011, 07:43   #9
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

I found with the Mcfeeleys screws, if your screwing into hardwood, you must predrill holes. And they need to be the right size.
If your screwing into treated pine then drill a lot smaller hole.

Some pines are soft enough you dont need to predrill at all.

This is the kind of thing you learn by experience. I never broke a single screw although a few heads got reamed out.

The square drives are good, self centering, easy to drive especially if you have the larger square drive bit style. The smaller size on a bronze screw, the size you will see in a standard screw at the HDepot, is going to more easily ream out the head. So then it will be more critical to get the right sized hole.

ALSO, dont use the screw to draw the wood together, better to clamp, press, push the pieces together first. This is especially true with ship planks.
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Old 28-10-2011, 07:55   #10
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

See also the
USCG Guidance on Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance of Wooden Hulls (NVIC 7-95)


http://www.uscg.mil/hq/cg5/nvic/pdf/1995/n7-95.pdf

Particularly the Section on Mechanical Fastenings beginning on page 3-3.
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Old 28-10-2011, 08:47   #11
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

One more thing on installation. In the old days they use to spit on the screws before driving them in. Now a mild non-acidic soapy water works well.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:00   #12
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

If your screwing above the waterline, then you can use Stainless deck screws like you will find at HD. But below or in wet wood, use bronze. The stainless screws are decent and stronger than the bronze.

On my old 1970 woodie, a lot of brass like screws were above the waterline, but all the plank screws were Everdur bronze. And those brass like screws tended to corrode, get weak and were not reusable as the screw shank would twist off in the wood. When you looked at the screw threads you could see necking, where the metal had corroded.
I always wondered if they were brass or bronze. Likely just brass.
So all over the boat it was a mix perhaps of some brass screws, but most were bronze.

All the wood screws below the waterline were 'Everdure Bronze' And I was able to reuse many. On those which decayed and were not usable, they would tend to waste away, but still retained a lot of strength. I still used about 4000 new bronze screws for the reframing and planks. I was able to reuse all the planks. But much of the framing was replaced. Many of the old screw holes were rotten and would not hold screws. After plugging a few, I decided it was not worth trying to work with those frames.

You know Titanium is a very common element. Maybe someday titanium fasteners will be cheap. They wont corrode at all. Too bad titanium is so pricey, it would be a very good metal to use in so many things.

I have a lot of screws left over and I would like to melt them into something useful. Which someday I might try to bronze cast something.

A plank screw on a wood boat sure it holds the planks tight to the frame, but the screws are also loaded sideways, so really you need smooth shanks, not screws with threads all the way to the head or with necked screws. The screws should be cut thread not rolled threads. And the area below the screw head residing in the plank should fill the hole. You can do all the right things and and all your doing is delaying the inevitable screw wasting. Water will get at the fastener regardless if there are wood plugs on the planks. What I did was use PL Premium poly Construction adhesive for plugs and also for seams. Worked out very well.
And coated the hull with Sanitred Permaflex inside and outside.
And, when I replaced the frames I used treated wood.

On my boat there is a 1 inch mahogany bottom plank, a 1.25 inch by 2 inch frame rib, then a large beefy 2 inch wide oak floor joist extends across the entire boat and these are spaced every 7 inches. These oak floors are of various height (about 8 to 12 inches at the center and taper to the ends) and form the inner sole floor of the boat for the bilge area. None of the floors or planks were bad, it was mostly the small frames and these were easily renewed with all the planks off the bottom.
Doing what I did has made a watertight solid hull, more like a cold molded solid wood construction.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:05   #13
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

I would not change materials for the above deck screws. Stainless can always go active and there is no real cost benefit in changing the material. I would stay with silicon bronze for the entire hull.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:10   #14
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

The machining of titanium is what is expensive. I use to go through a lot of carbide inserts manufacturing air craft parts.

I made a 4" OD x 5' long rudder shaft for a friends boat years ago. It only weighed 100# when I was finished with the machining.

It did turn black sitting in the salt water but I never seen any pitting.
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Old 28-10-2011, 09:28   #15
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Re: What Screw Material for a Wooden Boat Restoration ?

Square drive screws? They are properly known as Robertson screws, named after the inventor, P.L. Robertson. The screw drivers are colour coded as per screw size.
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