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Old 03-07-2020, 11:13   #1
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Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

What are people's opinions on using silicone bronze vs stainless steel for fastening a teak deck?

I am about to start in the long slow process of pulling exposed screws, redrilling, re-sinking and rebunging.

Currently they are stainless but since I'm pulling the screws, I am lowering the screws I need to shorten them. That said I figured stainless is completely adequate but figured maybe silicone bronze was better since it's often used in planking of wooden boats

Cost wise silicone bronze is actually cheaper than 18-8 stainless on bolts Depot
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Old 03-07-2020, 11:41   #2
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

Bronze screws break off very easily. Been there done that. When screws go into fiberglass they lock up tight fast often, breaking the screw off. Stick with stainless and use square drive if you can get them.
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:08   #3
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

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Bronze screws break off very easily. Been there done that. When screws go into fiberglass they lock up tight fast often, breaking the screw off. Stick with stainless and use square drive if you can get them.
Interesting! I would have not expected that but does make sense. I guess I'll be going with stainless!
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:11   #4
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

Go SS and use a lubricant of some type, wax works well. I don’t know why but SS seems to seize into fiberglass, and wax or similar seems to help, even silicone grease.
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:13   #5
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

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Interesting! I would have not expected that but does make sense. I guess I'll be going with stainless!
Yeah, I was surprised also. On the first boat I built I broke off a few bronze screws just doing interior cabinetry. Evidently bronze is high strength values but brittle.
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:33   #6
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

I'm assuming 18-8 stainless is adequate or should I go with 316?
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Old 03-07-2020, 12:43   #7
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

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I'm assuming 18-8 stainless is adequate or should I go with 316?
Any 18-8 is fine. Of course 316 is great but I don't know how available and hoe much mor money they are.
I like "sheet metal screws", the ones threaded all the way up, as opposed to actual tapered wood screws. Far better. Most don't use the wood screws anyway though.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:08   #8
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

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Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Bronze screws break off very easily. Been there done that. When screws go into fiberglass they lock up tight fast often, breaking the screw off. Stick with stainless and use square drive if you can get them.
Is crevice corrosion not an issue with stainless screws in this application? I would have guessed that it could stay damp around the screw with no ability to flush out the oxygen depleted moisture and quickly rust away.

I have also snapped plenty of SS screws going into glass and dense wood over the years. Is bronze that much worse? All the interior on my boat is fastened with bronze and the main problems I've had were the screws corroding away where they got wet and the phillips head stripping out. A few have snapped but not that many.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:14   #9
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

The keys are 1)Correct pilot drill size, 2) lube 3) square or torx type head & correct bit 4) screw gun with adjustable clutch.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:19   #10
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

18-8 is 304 stainless. Is that really ok to use on the outside of a sailboat?

I was under the impression that 304 is not salt resistant like 316.

I already bought all 316 bolts for all of my deck hardware. Boltdepot.com.
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:24   #11
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

My experience with silicone bronze is that it is pretty tough. I am suprized that you have found it cheaper than SS. 316 SS is better than 18-8 as to corrosion but slightly less strength.

Are you sure the teak is not fastened to the deck with say epoxy. Might not need the mechanical fasteners after it has cured.


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Old 04-07-2020, 09:32   #12
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

This guy here is in the process of restauring a more than 100 year old sailing vessel and is a sailer and a shipwright and has some interesting ideas about the matter here: https://youtu.be/foDRc2X_Utg?t=417
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Old 04-07-2020, 09:59   #13
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

Don't use screws of any type. The movements of the hull, heating and cooling of the deck teak, open up the screw holes and allow water to seep into the core.

If you must use screws (i.e. the teak boards do not lie flat on the fiberglass), drill out the hole in the deck and inject epoxy into the hole until it stops subsiding. Then pre-drill the screw hole before putting in the screw.

If the teak boards are flat to the deck fiberglass, drill out the fiberglass holes and fill with epoxy. Fill the teak board holes with epoxy/teak dust mixture. Clean the fiberglass and the bottom of the teak. Apply urethane caulk (UV4000, Sikaflex 295/291, 4200 not 5200) to the deck and squish down the teak board. Hold down with sandbags or water bottles till cured. Apply a thin layer of epoxy on the seams between the teak boards, allow to cure, and then use SIS in the seams.
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:00   #14
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

Silicone bronze is the best for corrosion, even over 316. If the screws you are removing are not corroded, I would use the same type. That said, since the labor portion of the job is so great, I would probably choose the 316. Passivate them in 10% solution of citric acid for a couple of hours, rinse off and allow to dry. The citric acid will strip the first couple of layers of iron molecules out of the screw, greatly reducing their tendacy to rust, even in an oxygen free environment. Get good knee pads. )
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Old 04-07-2020, 10:01   #15
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Re: Silicone bronze vs stainless steel for teak deck fastening

Stainless steel with salt water and no oxygen means crevice corrosion. Screws under bungs will eventually get wet. Go with silicon bronze and install properly. With the proper tools as suggested above.
My question is: If the screws are now showing or the bungs are popping out? Do you have enough thickness in the boards to do what you are planning?
What are you screwing into? If its a balsa cored deck, you may want to dig out the core at each screw and fill with an epoxy mix, then pilot hole. Water intrusion into a balsa cored deck even via a few screws creates a really bad situation.
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