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Old 08-02-2015, 14:57   #1
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Wood ratlines

I want to have Ratlines on my lower stays. I have seen different woods used for this, although I cannot identify the type. I'm sure not going to use teak at $35 a board foot. I know there are some hardwood out there that are weather resistant as well as sliver resistant. Anyone know a reasonably priced hardwood?
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Old 08-02-2015, 15:22   #2
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Re: Wood ratlines

Lignum Vitae is pretty traditional, but also isn't cheap. Last I looked it was running about $7 a board foot.
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Old 08-02-2015, 15:39   #3
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Re: Wood ratlines

Two good and relatively cheap hardwoods are Sapele (African Mahogany) and black Locust. I have both on my boat's exterior and they hold up wonderfully. However, if you're in Mexico, they might be hard to come by. Look for some "Palofierro", and good luck.
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Old 08-02-2015, 16:14   #4
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Re: Wood ratlines

On my first boat, I made a set of wooden ratlines for both masts (ketch) using 1-1/2" by 1-1/4" oak. It was band-sawed into two pieces after the holes were drilled to accommodate the wire. That left it just tight enough to stay in place. Two carriage bolts at each end secured it to the wires. I put them on in 1977 and they were still on the boat when I sold it in 1999. Occasional painting kept things looking nice.
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Old 08-02-2015, 16:51   #5
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Re: Wood ratlines

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Originally Posted by svinshallah View Post
On my first boat, I made a set of wooden ratlines for both masts (ketch) using 1-1/2" by 1-1/4" oak. It was band-sawed into two pieces after the holes were drilled to accommodate the wire. That left it just tight enough to stay in place. Two carriage bolts at each end secured it to the wires. I put them on in 1977 and they were still on the boat when I sold it in 1999. Occasional painting kept things looking nice.
I'm assuming it was white oak being outside. When drilling the holes before cutting...how did you figure out the angle to accommodate the shroud angle?
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Old 08-02-2015, 18:25   #6
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Re: Wood ratlines

I hate to sound ignorant and it was a long time ago, but oak was oak. I know a little better now. It would stain and turn black when it got wet, which was why it was painted.

I marked each of the pieces by holding them up to the shrouds a one at a time and marking where the wire ran. Then I'd take them to the shop, drill the 4 holes, then split them into to pieces. Not the most time-efficient way but I didn't know better at the time. I could do three on each set of lowers which only took me three weekends to do them all.


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Old 08-02-2015, 18:52   #7
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Thumbs up Re: Wood ratlines

Hi Consider "Purple Heart" strong, rot resistant and usually available.
See "The Complete Rigger's Apprentice" ISBN 0-07-064840-9
Brion Toss has a very good write up on this subject.. Cheers len
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Old 08-02-2015, 19:32   #8
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Re: Wood ratlines

I've been aloft next to a guy that stepped thru a broken batten. The scream almost made me fall! Never hold the battens with your hands! Only the shrouds.

Good, close-grained oak is fine. But drilling and U-bolting scares me. It's not good for the battens or the shrouds. A good lashing with 72 or larger seine twine would be better. You should be able to get enough tension by using a "heaver". Even better would be to parcel and serve the shrouds first. Much better grip for the hands!
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Old 08-02-2015, 20:47   #9
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Re: Wood ratlines

Quote:
Originally Posted by svinshallah View Post
I hate to sound ignorant and it was a long time ago, but oak was oak. I know a little better now. It would stain and turn black when it got wet, which was why it was painted.

I marked each of the pieces by holding them up to the shrouds a one at a time and marking where the wire ran. Then I'd take them to the shop, drill the 4 holes, then split them into to pieces. Not the most time-efficient way but I didn't know better at the time. I could do three on each set of lowers which only took me three weekends to do them all.


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Thanx for the input. Gives me good ideas
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Old 08-02-2015, 21:45   #10
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Re: Wood ratlines

Hi there, You are in the land of beautiful hardwoods, some better than anything you will ever find in conventional lumber stores. I have been steadily importing into Canada a grand selection of beautiful woods from the Pt. Vallarta area for my new build. There are many woods there that are more than up to the task, parote, barcino, juapinole are a few of the names I remember. These are all heavy oil rich woods that weather well. Go to a local window or door manufacturer and get some samples The barcino is great for cleats and fiddles, very dense and is quite black with white streaking. The juapinole is like blood wood, drive a plug into it and it sounds like ceramic it is so hard. The most I have paid is about 2500/1000bdfeet or 2.5 a board foot.
I could post some pics if you are really interested.
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Old 08-02-2015, 22:33   #11
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Re: Wood ratlines

Thanx Greg. This might be a good solution. I'll get with a lumber yard or cabinet shop down there and perhaps farm the job out to him as far as cutting, bull-nosing and sanding the battens. Then I may do the rest which is the hardware end of it.
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