Side Deck Rails - Weigh in on how to Mod this Frame- Material HDPE or Marine Plywood? - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 04-23-2019   #1
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
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Side Deck Rails - Weigh in on how to Mod this Frame- Material HDPE or Marine Plywood?

Greetings,

Would like to add side deck rails to my frame and replace the red passenger deck. I can buy 1/2 HDPE from Louisville Plastics for 200, but concerned about weight and lack of traction.

After reviewing many threads on the Buzz, seems like CDX plywood is a crowd favorite. I like the idea of heavy duty zip ties to secure to frame.

How have you all added side deck rails? Would love Diamond Plate but too pricey for me at this juncture.

I have Wood oars and a wood dry box cover, so I am leaning toward wood.

**Would really like a uniform look with the same wood type as oars and drybox cover..**

Please weigh in!! Your input and photos are appreciated.
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Old 04-23-2019   #2
 
GOTY2011's Avatar
 
Ellensburg, Washington
Paddling Since: 1982
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 82
Side rails on my boat are Ash, custom cut to nest into the frame and secured in five locations with 2' web straps.

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/27a43...f4d1e7c5b8.pdf
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Old 04-23-2019   #3
 
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Belgrade, Montana
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never been a fan of the hdpe decks, but most has a smooth side and a textured side. The textured side has enough grip if that is your only concern. I wouldn't use CDX as it has lots of voids and typically checks really badly. I would use MDO (medium density overlay). It's exterior plywood with a paper and resin coating. Doesn't have a wood grain look but doesn't look bad when varnished and never checks. It'll paint well, as that's what it's made for - signs (sometimes known as sign board). A 3/4" sheet is around $60. don't go 1/2" weight difference isn't significant and it'll flex and crack - opening up ways for moisture to enter. No need for marine ply, it'll do nothing but lighten your wallet. Most modern exterior plywoods use the same glue and the real difference is in the wood (marine is usually an oversees hardwood) and it has next to zero voids. It's meant for structural concerns and below the water line.
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Old 04-23-2019   #4
 
Salida, Colorado
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elkhaven View Post
No need for marine ply, it'll do nothing but lighten your wallet. Most modern exterior plywoods use the same glue and the real difference is in the wood (marine is usually an oversees hardwood) and it has next to zero voids. It's meant for structural concerns and below the water line.

I disagree, Meranti plywood is made from many small plies, glued with an adhesive that is considerably more moisture resistant than the common glue used on exterior plywood, and has a better finish. Not to mention that

https://www.marine-plywood.us/mahoga...ti-aquatek.htm
has "drops" from cutting, 1' x 10' for 30 bucks a piece.



Zip ties to hold the wood to the frame, well I wouldn't do this, would likely be just fine as long as the boat is upright, but as the plastic in all zip ties degrades and becomes brittle from UV with no indication that it's happening could cause you to part company with the wood decks unexpectedly. Black zip ties are preferable to white as they have SOME UV resistance, but I'd have at least 2 cam straps per deck as insurance if you embark upon this path.



If good grip / footing is a concern, you can always use Skidguard plywood instead, is an exterior plywood, so you'll need to seal the edges with a good quality pigmented exterior polyurethane resin.



https://www.hendersonmarine.com/docs/pdf-plywood-decking/20-01-skidguard-plywood.pdf


I've seen this used quite a bit for decking, and it seems to be a good compromise.
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Old 04-23-2019   #5
 
Join Date: Jul 2018
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Who is the Denver metal supplier that's on here? They may have a hookup for 3003 Aluminum brite tread and someone that could weld it on for beers.
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Old 04-23-2019   #6
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
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+1 on cam straps versus zip ties. I've seen hundreds of thousands of 20 year UV rated zip ties fail in only a couple of years on 1,000 acre solar farm that were used for wire management and weren't even under a load.

Never trust a zip tie that is under tension.
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Old 04-23-2019   #7
 
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 1975
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If you do use HDPE, I would suggest "King Starboard" It's UV stabilized and developed for marine applications. It also comes with molded in non-skid if you want. I used 1/2" on some side boards but it was too thin and flexed over a 16" span. I'd definitely go thicker next time. Good thing is NO maintenance required after installation.

Just another option.
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Old 04-23-2019   #8
 
elkhaven's Avatar
 
Belgrade, Montana
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNichols View Post
I disagree, Meranti plywood is made from many small plies, glued with an adhesive that is considerably more moisture resistant than the common glue used on exterior plywood, and has a better finish. Not to mention that

https://www.marine-plywood.us/mahoga...ti-aquatek.htm
has "drops" from cutting, 1' x 10' for 30 bucks a piece.



Zip ties to hold the wood to the frame, well I wouldn't do this, would likely be just fine as long as the boat is upright, but as the plastic in all zip ties degrades and becomes brittle from UV with no indication that it's happening could cause you to part company with the wood decks unexpectedly. Black zip ties are preferable to white as they have SOME UV resistance, but I'd have at least 2 cam straps per deck as insurance if you embark upon this path.



If good grip / footing is a concern, you can always use Skidguard plywood instead, is an exterior plywood, so you'll need to seal the edges with a good quality pigmented exterior polyurethane resin.



https://www.hendersonmarine.com/docs/pdf-plywood-decking/20-01-skidguard-plywood.pdf


I've seen this used quite a bit for decking, and it seems to be a good compromise.
I'd like to see the resource that says they are different glues (more specficially, considerably more moisture resistant. I've talked with a number of professional boat builders and all have stated the same thing. The glues are the same, maybe not identical but have similar properties. The difference lies in the wood. Here in 'Merica virtually all suppliers use doug fir... it checks and is horrible for boat building, which is one reason no on shore companies make "marine grade" plywood. It's not econimical to use domestic hardwoods when the Israeli's and others can source it from africa or south america at a fraction of the cost. I agree, there is also more plys in addition to less voids, hence my comment about structure but I wasn't looking to write a treatise.

In the end if you want to use marine ply, by all means go ahead but rember this in't a drift boat/dory hull much less a plywood power boat - it's a fucking deck on a raft. The glues, plys, structural superiority is of the smallest significance to the discussion. Sign-board (MDO) is made to sit in the elements 365-24/7 for years. It works exceptionally well as side board material. If you want beautiful grain and bright work - look elsewhere.

Skid guard is great, but not easy to find and for the cost, MDO with 3 or 4 layers of poly or paint and a mixture of aluminum oxide powder in the last for anti skid works just as well for a lot less cost.

I too use straps.
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Old 04-23-2019   #9
Di
 
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Agree on the MDO. Got a couple free pieces from a friend in the sign business when I bought my 15' Hyside and used them for passenger bay deck and rowing deck with seat bolted on for over a decade with no maintenance. Front deck was finally starting to crack at hinges (slots with cam straps) so replaced with 5/8" Starboard about 5 years ago. Like noted above, I tried the 1/2" HDPE the first time around with my Puma frame and trouble with it sagging, not problems with the 5/8".
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Old 04-23-2019   #10
 
Denver, Colorado
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I have used HDPE and wood on different boats. I highly prefer the HDPE but damn it is heavy stuff! 1/2” is fine. Also I have used wood. I used 1/2” of some plywood I had. It doesn’t really matter if it’s marine grade or something else special. It’s wood, coat it multiple times with deck paint or a clear poly and it will be fine. I wouldn’t worry about what wood you use, it’s more about what you seal it with.

Also, using cam straps on the decking was kind of a pain on my last boat. My newest one I just used countersink bolts (my frame was built with this in mind). But I’m about to do decking on another boat and I am planning on HDPE and NRS extra length U bolts.
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