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Author Topic:   Bolting into Phenoleic Material - Durable?
jim_usa posted 07-27-2003 10:13 AM ET (US)   Profile for jim_usa   Send Email to jim_usa  
After tapping the phenoleic material and bolting down things like trolling motors, have any of you ever had problems with the threads stripping?


Jerry Townsend posted 07-27-2003 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
Jim - I would not tap into phenolic to hold a relatively heavy and vibrating load. I have seen lightly loaded and stationary things (brackets, bolted into phenolic. The shear strength of phenolic is not high - but I can't find some information I have on the properties. Don't take a chance - use steel or stainless steel if you have the choice. ------- Jerry/Idaho
jim_usa posted 07-27-2003 11:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for jim_usa  Send Email to jim_usa     
Jerry, I've been under the impression that bolting trolling motors with bolts tapped into the phenoleic material on the gunnel of the Dauntless ( for example ) was considered an appropriate thing to do.

If you get more info I'd be very interested in hearing about it.


Jarhead posted 07-27-2003 12:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
My dealer mounted my Tidewater trolling motor while rigging my 160 Dauntless by drilling and tapping.

I too had some question about the reliability of this method. They told me they had never had any trouble doing it this way and guarantied it to hold as long as I own the boat!

jim_usa posted 07-27-2003 12:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for jim_usa  Send Email to jim_usa     
Jarhead, thanks for the feedback.

One more concern of mine seems to be fading into the darkness.

dgp posted 07-27-2003 01:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
For everything you want to know about Whaleboard, go to
JBCornwell posted 07-27-2003 01:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
Whaleboard, which is what is in the later Boston Whaler hulls, is not a "phenolic material".

It is a composite material that will hold SAE coarse (5/16"-18, for example) threads as well as aluminum.

I would have no reservations bolting into Whaleboard with appropriate size SS machine screws.

Red sky at night. . .

Jerry Townsend posted 07-27-2003 02:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jerry Townsend  Send Email to Jerry Townsend     
JB - as you mention, Whaleboard is a totally different material than phenolic - and can be drilled and tapped.

Certainly, one can drill and tap phenolic - but I would not take the chance - particularily with a vibrating load. ----- Jerry/Idaho

Jimm posted 07-27-2003 09:21 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jimm    
Jerry, if whalerboard is totally different from phenolic then the Montauk 170s don't quite make the grade. When looking at my wood diagram that came with the 170 it shows either "ply", which I imagine is plywood, or "phenolic". No where does it mention whalerboard. I always thought that phenolic was similiar to masonite. Am I right or wrong?
jim_usa posted 07-27-2003 10:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for jim_usa  Send Email to jim_usa     
What's the stuff under the spot where trolling motors are typically bolted on the Dauntless series? I thought it was this phenolic stuff. Whatever it is it needs to be strong enough to hold a trolling motor during all sorts of conditions.

Jarhead seems to have had good luck with his.

One whaler dealer told me it was developed with the help of NASA... ?

I've never heard of tapping wood, much less masonite.

Thanks for all the feedback.

JBCornwell posted 07-27-2003 10:20 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
It would not surprize me if Brunswick decided Whaleboard (note spelling) was too good and too expensive for the "new generation".

It would be worthwhile to quiz Boston Whaler on whether they still use Whaleboard or have substituted "phenolic material".

Whaleboard, by the way, is a registered trademark of Rainier Richlite Co., and is named for its original application, in Boston Whaler boats as backing for screw-mounts.

Red sky at night. . .

Jarhead posted 07-27-2003 10:57 PM ET (US)     Profile for Jarhead  Send Email to Jarhead     
In my '03 Boston Whaler catalog [page 9] it states that their 6" to 10" cleats are drilled and tapped into "phenolic Whaleboard".

I know nothing about it but from what I've read here I've gathered that Whaleboard and phenolic material are two different things??

JBCornwell posted 07-28-2003 01:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for JBCornwell  Send Email to JBCornwell     
I think that the term, "phenolic" can cover a wide range of resinous materials from quite brittle to very strong.

Whaleboard(tm) is a fiber reinforced laminate that is used by Scout, Hell's Bay and other top line boat builders as well as Boston Whaler for the very purposes Jim asks about.

So, I think that "phenolic material" and Whaleboard(tm) may be different in the same way that metal and stainless steel are different.

Red sky at night. . .

Tom2697 posted 07-28-2003 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom2697  Send Email to Tom2697     
Whaleboard is the tradename for the marine-grade phenolic product produced by Richlite. Phenolic is strictly the particular resin that is used to make the material. The Whaleboard will contain an impregnated cloth of some type. Phenolic materials typically are made using a paper, a cotton weave, a nylon weave, or a fiberglass weave. Other more exotic materials can be used as well but these are the most common, depending upon the intended use. Check out Whaler's own website at: in the third paragraph to see how they describe whaleboard.

As for the threads stripping, it is it is possible to strip threads in all grades of steel and all alloys of aluminum.

You should be alright mounting the trolling motor to it though.

Whaletosh posted 07-29-2003 03:30 PM ET (US)     Profile for Whaletosh    
I contacted Whaler about the phenolic board in the stern corners of my 2002 Sport 130. I will be mounting downriggers there. Chuck Bennett assured me that the boards are Whaleboard still made Rainer Richlite. He also assured me that the boards are strong enough with drilled and tapped holes for the riggers.

Based on Chuck's comments the phenolic listed on any wood diagram is Whaleboard. The material should be drilled and tapped.

jimh posted 07-30-2003 08:55 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
There are many grades of "phenolic" material. Below I include a URI to more information.

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