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Author Topic:   Installing Rails on 17' Montaulk - Need hints
SFbay posted 07-23-2001 10:43 PM ET (US)   Profile for SFbay   Send Email to SFbay  
I am restoring a '78 17' Montauk. All Rails and mounting hardware are in good shape and have been removed. Any hints on correct materials/ techniques for filling the old holes and reattaching the rails correctly are welcome. Also suggestions for cleaning up the rails would be appreciated.


Andy Holmes posted 07-25-2001 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for Andy Holmes  Send Email to Andy Holmes     

I also need help with rail installation. I have a 1998 17' Standard and just bought a bow rail for it. Questions; 1. should the holes be pre-drilled? If so, what size and depth?, 2. should the rail screws be bedded in some form of sealant?, if so, what kind? 3. Should the base fittings be bedded also?, if so, in what material? Any hints would be gratefully received. Thanks,
Andy Holmes

Bigshot posted 07-26-2001 09:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Depends on the setup but my Montauk has backing plates for the sides that are drilled all the way through. The rest are lagged into the hull. I would use a 3m 4200 or at least a marine silicon on the screws. As for the bases, mine are dry from factory.
Tom W Clark posted 07-26-2001 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I have never installed a bow rail from scratch, only reinstalled one that was removed. But here are my thoughts (I am assuming that your '98 is the same for this purpose as the boats from the 80's):

Locating the holes may be a bit more work than it seems, then again it may not. The rail is not necessarily going to have arrived at your doorstep, or even have left the factory, with the exact shape it will have when installed.

I would drill the holes with the rail in place so you can use the mounting brackets (bases) of it as a drilling template. Be sure and use a Vix-Bit
self-centering drill bit when you drill the holes. These bits cost about 5 or 6 bucks and are readily available. Well worth the investment.

Each rail base has two holes. I would drill and screw one of each until the whole rail is mounted, that way if there is a problem you only have one hole to deal with. After you are satisfied with the location, then drill out the rest.

As a starting point you should do the front stanchion base first. Obviously you want it centered and locating it will help locate the others.

Remember, the front stanchion screws into aluminum not wood, so ideally you would use machine screws there, not sheet metal screws. Probably best to tap it to the correct threading which means drilling the appropriate size pilot hole (which will most likely be smaller than the rest) then enlarging the hole where it passes through the fiberglass only.

As you drill each hole you should install the screw to hold the rail in place. You will put the screws in "dry" (without sealant). Only after all the holes are drilled, the rail and screws are in place and you are satisfied with the fit, will you remove them and reinstall them with sealant.

I don't recall the exact size fastener used for the rails but I think it is a #10, but no matter, figure out the correct size drill bit to use for piloting into the wood and then use a larger bit to enlarge the hole where it goes through the fiberglass. This will help avoid spider cracks radiating out. You can use a countersink in addition to, or in lieu of, the aforementioned hole enlargement. It will help reduce chipping and "mounding" around the screw hole and allow the hardware to sit down tight against the hull.

Definitely use a sealant to seal the screw holes but I don't think you need to use a bedding compound under the bases. If you do use a bedding compound, do not rough up the gel coat. Bedding compound's purpose is not adhesion but merely space occupation and water exclusion. I would skip it.

I suggest you use a polyurethane caulk for sealing the screw holes. 3M 4200 & 5200, Sika 1A, 231, 240, 241 are all good and readily available
polyurethanes. You can also use a polysulfide like 3M 101. Polyurethanes and polysulfides cure by water contact which is nice on a boat. All the above mentioned caulks have slightly different properties but don't get bogged down in all that, just use what you can lay your hands on. Much has been made of the extraordinary adhesive power of 3M 5200 (the most common polyurethane caulk on the market) but it does not really apply to sealing screw holes. You will be able to get the screws out in the future without any trouble.

As to applying the sealant, I would squeeze some into your hole, perhaps smear some on the threads of the fastener and then drive them home. Some caulk will squeeze out. Be sure to immediately clean it up. I use acetone with a paper towel. Be careful; once you get some poly caulk on your fingers it will "travel"! I use disposable gloves and keep a bucket, paper sack or some other receptacle handy to drop the soiled paper towels into rather than trying to keep using a rag over and over. (This usually results in caulk smeared all over the place.)

SFbay posted 07-26-2001 09:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for SFbay  Send Email to SFbay     
Thanks for the valuable imput. I will be using the old rails and have 95% of the hardware intact. Have secured new backing plates from the local dealer.

Any ideas on filling the holes that have been worn by the old hardware. Teak plugs or using a West Marine style glass filler ?

Tom W Clark posted 07-26-2001 11:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     

I'm not sure what you are asking. Are the screw holes simply stripped out?

Tom W Clark posted 07-27-2001 12:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark
SFbay posted 07-27-2001 04:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for SFbay  Send Email to SFbay     
Tom - Thanks for the link.. The railings were all removed to use the Whaler for a work boat for 6 months on a survey / brigge construction job. The entire railng needs to be reinstalled. The existing holes are in a variety of conditions due to the age of the hull. Looks like it will be a mix of Teak Plugs as pointed out in the post you linked to and an epoxy mix for the smaller less worn holes.
I appreciate you assistance and will report back the results.

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