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Author Topic:   Rub Rail Rivets
nar1944 posted 07-24-2002 12:47 AM ET (US)   Profile for nar1944   Send Email to nar1944  
I'm about to install a rub rail, but don't have the rivets. I've read that they are 3/16 but what length come with the kits. Also does anyone have installation instructions.

thanks Norm

Dick posted 07-24-2002 12:52 AM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

What rub rail are you installing? I have instructions for the three piece that I can e-mail you.


Clark Roberts posted 07-24-2002 07:19 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
One inch long 3/16" rivits willdo the trick for a commercial (one piece) or the classic 3 piece rail (rivits used to secure the rigid plasic track on 3 piece). I use aluminum rivits instead of the stainless rivits supplied with Whaler kits because the stainless rivits tear up the gun quickly and my grip is not strong enough anymore... also the al rivits last at least 20 years(maybe lots longer) here in the Fla. salt environ...
I have been using al rivets longer than that and never had a failure... Whaler CPD uses screws for rub rail application (at least they did on my 13 Alert) and I replaced with pop-rivits and got a much tighter/smoother fit than the factory screws. Can't figure why they used the screws! Happy Whalin'... Clark... SCN
Clark Roberts posted 07-24-2002 07:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Can't seem to spell ribet correctly! Whoa!
crosley95 posted 07-24-2002 01:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for crosley95  Send Email to crosley95     
i second what clark has to say about the aluminum rivets. i had the same problem with the stainless rivets supplied with the kit. bought and returned 2 guns until i switched to the aluminum rivets. got the rivets at home depot. 3/16s one inch long.

follow the directions in the referece section of this site.


Highwater posted 07-24-2002 03:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Highwater    

I need to install a 3-piece rubrail on my 15' sport. Could you email directions to Thanks! David.

RichAA posted 07-24-2002 03:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for RichAA  Send Email to RichAA     
I just had one of those kits shipped to me from Twin City Marine in WI. I opened the box and the rub rail material was stiff enough that I thought, "What a great project for next year!". :)

P.S. Hi Clark! I still owe you a pic of my 15 sporting the SCN colors. I haven't forgotten, just haven't had the boat in the water yet (embarrassed to say). And the Minnesota boating season is passing quickly...

Clark Roberts posted 07-24-2002 10:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Rich, your 15 looks great with or without the SCN decal! Proud to have you flying the SCN colors and happy Whalin'... Clark
syncope posted 07-25-2002 06:21 AM ET (US)     Profile for syncope  Send Email to syncope     
If you don't mind I'd like a copy of the 3-part rail installation instructions for my Montauk.

Bob :- )

nar1944 posted 07-25-2002 07:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for nar1944  Send Email to nar1944     

Yes, I have the 3 peice rail & would love a copy of the installation Instructions.

And thanks to all for the info/advice on rivet size. On my way to the Depot.


Clark Roberts posted 07-25-2002 09:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for Clark Roberts  Send Email to Clark Roberts     
Dick has the instructions (post above mine). I don't... Clark
Sammy posted 07-26-2002 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for Sammy  Send Email to Sammy     

When you have the time, I'd appreciate it if you could also send me a copy of the 3 piece rub rail installation instructions. It's going on a 15' Sport. Thanks in advance.

jimh posted 07-26-2002 11:48 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
When everyone gets their instructions from Clark or Dick or whomever, how about reading them and comparing them to instructions in the rub rail article. Then let me know if we left anything out.

Don't you get instructions with the kit?

SuburbanBoy posted 07-26-2002 01:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
I did my rubrails recently. I thought I was fighting a Python.

There are no instructions.

I wish I had used the Aluminum rivets. My hand was cramped up after the job.


Dick posted 07-26-2002 08:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     

I just e-mailed you a scan of the instructions. They aren't much but better than nothing.
The story I got from Whaler was that the kits were put together to make it easier for the dealer, who knows how to install them, to order by one part number and get everything in one box. No thought was given to the do it yourselfer.

crosley95 posted 07-27-2002 04:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for crosley95  Send Email to crosley95     
i received no instructions with my kit. the instructions on the site are good. the details of installing the 3rd piece are a little sketchy. you have to work it in and then bang it in with a rubber mallet.

the receiver track is a bear to deal with. i nailed one end down.... stretched it accross my yard in the sun and nailed down the other end. let it bake for about 4 hours. +95 degrees. get yourself atleast four quick clamps.


Joe B posted 08-06-2002 09:54 AM ET (US)     Profile for Joe B  Send Email to Joe B     
Dick like Sammy I'm in the process of restoring a 15 ft whaler. I need to replace the rub rail, please send me the instructions you said you might have. I need to remove the old rub rail. Does that require drilling out the old aluminum rivits. Thanks in advance.
tully_mars posted 08-09-2002 10:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for tully_mars  Send Email to tully_mars     
Yes, drilling is required as I have found out. Not all will drill out and those few you will just have to fill in and drill new holes.

I ordered new rub rail from Twin Cities Marine, great people up there and very fast communication with email pricing requests. I was impressed.

I think I will be trying to install the new one with SS screws so if I have to do repairs I can undo them.

Good luck.

Tully Mars

23' Conquest "Offishally Hooked"
16' Montauk (1972) "Sweet Sixteen"

acseatsri posted 08-11-2002 07:13 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
Make sure you have a heat gun handy, otherwise I doubt if you'll bend it around the corners on the bow.
Jim Bennett posted 08-11-2002 08:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jim Bennett  Send Email to Jim Bennett     
Soon I will be replacing rubrail on my 73 OR 21. I have ordered and received the rubrail kit from Twin Cities. No instructions were included but plenty of info on this site. One question I have is which part of the carrier is the topside? The carrier(hard plastic part) is wider on one side than other and would like to know which should be installed up, thin or wide Side. Didn' pay attention which was up when removed old rubrail. My restoration project is absolutely beautiful and far exceeded my expectations. Rubrail, console rail and bow rail to do yet and then finished. Hope to have photos available on my website eventually. Thanks.
David Jenkins posted 04-19-2003 12:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I have never used a rivet gun before. I am about to go to Home Depot to purhcase one. When using the one-inch long 3/16" aluminum rivets described above, do I first drill a 3/16th hole and then position the rivet gun up to the hole and pull a trigger? Is that how it works? Thanks.
jimh posted 04-19-2003 02:04 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Practice using the rivet gun on some scrap material so you see how it works. Better to perfect your technique on some old pine board than two-thirds of the way around the boat gunwales.
acseatsri posted 04-19-2003 05:35 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
When using the rivet gun, you need to push it against the surface fairly firmly. Rivets do not necessarily pull themselves up tightly like a screw does. And as I said here a long time ago, the rivet holds on the entire circumference of the hole and will not work loose or cut the fiberglass. A screw holds on perhaps 30% of the hole and has sharp edges which will eventually chew through the fiberglass under ordinary use and abuse.
David Jenkins posted 04-19-2003 08:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
Help! I practiced as Jim suggested and thought that I had learned how to do it. And I pressed firmly against the rivet tool as I squeezed and opened and squeezed and opened (about 6 times) the handle of the tool. And I had the firm plastic clamped to the side of the boat, and the insert above it taped down all around. And I had a friend helping me. But it is not working. Rivets are not holding. Then open up on back side but not enough and the rigid plastic piece is coming off. Have tried it twice. Got 2 rivets in the first time, three the second, then it comes off.

Am I not using the tool correctly? Should I try screws? If I use screws, what will hold them in? The thin layer of fiberglass? I have no idea how to "tap" a screw. Will a plastic masonry anchor work with a #10 or #12 stainless panhead screw in it (1" or 1.5" long)?

David Jenkins posted 04-19-2003 08:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I meant to say they (the rivets) opened up on the back side, but not enough. After a minute or two, they come out of the boat. How long should they be when you finish squeezing the tool and the long middle peice breaks off?
acseatsri posted 04-19-2003 10:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
It sounds like your hole is too big. Are you sure you're using a 3/16 drill, or that it's properly sharpened and not cutting oversize? The rivet should fit into the hole snugly, with nearly no side play. Make sure you check the hole size in the fiberglass- if the drill is sharpened improperly, it may cut different sized holes in the plastic and the fiberglass.

You should squeeze until the shank pulls off the rivet. The other possible problem is that the rivets are too long. I believe the ones that came with my rubrail were 3/4 long, although 1" long shouldn't affect the outcome. If you're going around a bend, you really should have a heat gun to aid in bending it.

small craft advisory posted 04-20-2003 12:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for small craft advisory  Send Email to small craft advisory     
Dick, could you send me a copy of your instructions. Just purchased the 3 piece kit from Sea Ray in Fife and it contained no instructions. Checked out the reference section but it would be nice to have an additional reference. Thanks for the bow rail. Restoration still in process!
David Jenkins posted 04-20-2003 08:31 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I am using a 3/16 bit (although the instructions call for 13/64). The rivets fit snugly but what is happening is that when I squeeze the handle it makes the rivet shorter but fatter and it seems to be getting fatter over its entire length so that it makes the hole in the fiberglass bigger. When the rivet comes out, the hole in the fiberglass is much larger than the hole I originally dirlled. The fiberglass is quite thin in this area. This 15' Sport was made in 1977. The rub rail I am replacing also had problems in this area of the boat (starboard side, near the stern). Maybe the glass is too thin in this spot because of a defect when the boat was made?
David Jenkins posted 04-20-2003 08:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
The job is done and looks good (except for the first two feet, which goes in and out a bit). I started out using 3/16, 5mm aluminum rivets from Home Depot then switched to the rivets included in the rubrail package (from Sue @ Twin Cities Marine. I had originally planned to not use them because I had assumed they were stainless (from comments on the forum). But they were aluminum and were slighly longer than the Home Depot Rivets. I am not sure if the extra length made any difference. I think that the HD rivets would have probably worked fine. I think that my initial problem was that my boat was made with too little fiberglass in the stern where the rivets go in.

The heat gun made a big difference. Don't try this job without a friend and a heat gun.

Chesapeake posted 04-21-2003 05:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
David: If you are not happy with the first two or three feet, can't you drill out the rivets and re-do that specific section?
David Jenkins posted 04-22-2003 07:45 AM ET (US)     Profile for David Jenkins  Send Email to David Jenkins     
I suppose that I could but I spent so long on that section that I am reluctant to do anything more with it. When I unrolled the rigid plastic I put it down on the lawn with heavy things on top of it in an effort to straighten it a bit. I should have cut off the first three feet because it never did straighten properly. I did not use a heat gun on that section and that may also have made all the differnce.

I thnk that it would be a good idea if we had a "projects" rendezvous this summer. We could put our boats in someone's big backyard and help each other out with rub rails and repairing fiberglass and applying gelcoat and varnish. Everyone who brought a boat and wanted help/advice would put a certain amount of money ($100 per day?) into the pot which would be distributed among the experts who had a weekend free and wanted to lend a hand.

dan firth posted 04-24-2003 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for dan firth  Send Email to dan firth     
Here's another $0.02... I replaced the rubrail on my '83 18 OR a couple of years ago. Everything went ok for a first time attempt except I started the replacement process at the bow. Measured carefully and tried to match the exact measurement on the coiled rubrail before cutting. Accurate measuring on the coiled material was tough. I used a power miter saw to make the proper angle cuts for the bow and corner transom joints. Made a beautiful seam joint at the centerpoint of the bow (at 30+ feet long and tightly coiled I couldn't figure out how to do a single piece job) and proceeded to rivet the sections down the sides. Got to the transom corner and realized that the port side piece was 1/8 inch short. Had I started at the transom and worked my way forward, that 1/8 inch gap could have been caulked and hidden under the bow sprit. I finally caulked the gap with almond colored caulk (it's almost a perfect color match) but I do notice it. Also, I did the job alone-it would have been waaay easier to have had a buddy help out. Next time....
Gep posted 04-24-2003 09:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Gep  Send Email to Gep     
Dan Firth,
Did you actually miter the whole piece in the back corners or just the top of the receiver so it would go around the corner? Also, did you miter the insert or just bend it around the stern?
I am about to tackle this job and was thinking (like you) of starting in the bow and working my way back to the stern.
Any help would be appreciated.
dan firth posted 04-28-2003 08:42 AM ET (US)     Profile for dan firth  Send Email to dan firth     
I mitered the whole piece, not just the top. I didn't think that the material had enough flexibilty to bend. The insert is very flexible and easily bends around the corner.
Have fun! Dan
DaveNJ posted 04-28-2003 12:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveNJ  Send Email to DaveNJ     
I plan on doing this job once it gets above 75 degrees. Thanks for the inputs everybody. I was not going to use rivets, but now I see the benefit over screws.

I plan on softening up the rub rail in a big black plastic bag outside in the sun for a few hours before I begin.

rb posted 05-02-2003 11:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for rb  Send Email to rb     
A good week, got my hull back from the paint shop and nearly have the new 3 piece rub rail on. Do you have to make the last bend around the transom and use the stainless screws or has anyone just cut the soft insert even with the transom and left it. I filled the holes in the transom before painting and hate to drill it out again.
DaveNJ posted 05-02-2003 12:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveNJ  Send Email to DaveNJ     
Wrap around and secure it on each side with the SS screws to the back of the transom. That is what I plan to do, just like it is supposed to. You don't want it creeping back, then you will have a gap there and it will look crumby. It may seem tight enough now, but over time and temperature it is sure to move unless secured in the back.

Drill into that new paint job !

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