Rub Rail Choices

For discussion of Passagemaker Dinghy issues

Rub Rail Choices

Postby RStofer on Mon Aug 21, 2006 2:37 pm

Looking at the 3/4" x 3/4" Mahogany rub rail, I can't imagine it fairing well banging into docks and such. Sure, there are rubber fenders but often times they just slide out of position.

I'm thinking about something like 3/4" x 1-1/2" red or white oak. Red might match the Okume a little better but white would be much more durable. I could talk myself into reducing the thickness to around 1/2" to match the oarlock base. I could easily plane the wood into two 1/4" thick pieces and this would make it quite easy to bend.

>From the photos, I can't tell if a straight piece of wood would follow the contour or not. It is pretty certain that I won't be able to bend the oak in the 1-1/2" direction. In that event, I could make a pattern of the upper edge of the #4 strake and use that to cut the rub rail with a router.

Any thoughts about the adequacy of the rub rail when the boat is docked? To be honest, I don't think I will ever use the boat in a lake setting with nice beach access.
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Postby Peter on Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:35 pm

I don't know too much about working with oak in the dimensions you are talking about. But there is some curve as well as some twist applied to the rub rail laminates, so whatever is used would have to be fairly flexible.

Would something like the gunnel guard that CLC sells be a feasible substitute?

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Postby John Pollard on Mon Aug 21, 2006 3:40 pm


You are much handier than me if you are considering ripping a different piece of wood for a rubrail !! I felt accomplishment from just getting the kit ones on properly. But another type of wood might look nice too.

CLC sells a nice rail padding for the PMD outwales, which I am considering installing at some point. I think you can see it installed on one of their demo PMDs, at their webpage. This might be a simpler solution than trying to measure and cut another piece of wood just right to fit your kit. And in the end, I would think you'd want padding on whatever kind of wood you ended up choosing.

At any rate, I wood get some better advice (read CLC) about the practicality of other types of wood for this application. When we installed our outwales, I was surprised by how much torsion there was on the outwales as they followed the compound curve of the #4 panel. It really took a fair bit of muscle and a ton of clamps to make it stay put in place. A less flexible wood might make things even more tricky.
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Postby Joneset on Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:29 pm

I don't like the CLC cover, because it covers all that pretty wood. I'm thinking of putting a notch in the rail then screwing in a nice piece of 3 braided nylon. I'm not near that point yet but I think maybe a .75" to 1" rope might look nice, i.e. show off the wood, and protect the topsides of the mother ship.
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Postby RStofer on Mon Aug 21, 2006 5:43 pm

I had looked at the CLC rail padding. It is pricey and it isn't wood; two negatives that came to mind pretty quick. Still, maybe I can get over it!

I kind of like the rope idea. I need to find examples of that and see how it was done. At least it is a nautical appearing solution!

I have done a 3/4" oak rub rail on another boat and I believe I did it in one piece. It was not pleasant! But, the plywood was a little thicker and supported internally on frames so the hull didn't distort.

Being able to plane the wood to any thickness means I can laminate it from 1/8" stock if I don't care about cost. But I do... Sort of... If I really cared about cost, I wouldn't be messing about with boats!

I'll put this on back burner for a while. It's quite a ways out in front right now.

This is my first experience with System Three Silver Tip epoxy; it is a terrific product. It will be my first choice for future projects; just getting rid of the amine blush is worth whatever the extra cost.
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