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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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/mahogany-meranti-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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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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+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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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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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/mahogany-meranti-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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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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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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Ditch the weight and maintenance, go versamax. Although it requires additional cross supports, so the weight saving may be in my mind after all is said and done, but there is essentially zero maintenance.
 

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I used cedar planks for side rails and put a good two coats of stain on them. Restain every two years. It is cedar, so it is naturally rot resistant like redwood, pretty light as wood goes, and looks real nice. 1/2" is fine for the rails, but you wouldn't be able to use it for the bay.
 

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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.

All marine grade ply will be free of voids in the core. Voids are traps for water and will rot the product from the inside out. Repairs to the core plies are very few for this same reason. Weather and Boil Proof (WBP) glue must be used as well. This glue has been subjected to boiling water for more than an hour without delamination of the plies. This is where the standards stop so you can see there is a lot of room for variety that can effect what kind of product you get. Additional standards like BS 1088 and BS 6566 raise the bar quite a bit on what is allowed but these only add to the variety of products open to the general market. Species of face veneer and appearance, species of veneer core, core construction, and glue used will all effect how the finished sheet of plywood will behave in different conditions.
 

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I have cutting boards and that stuff is HEAVY. (hdpe) /they used to be cutting boards and I work in the service industry so I grabbed them out of the dumpster/I bleached the living stuff out of them and then tried to use straps to hold them along the sides.
1. The damn things shifted back and forth no matter the 3' straps i lashed around them.
2. I tried to get creative with how I lashed them in... Dozens of tries later I realized they would stay in "place" but when poised with a person using them as a leverage to climb in or jumping/stepping off them, they moved along my crossbars side to side some. so I lashed them to the side rails and realized I now had 7 million cam straps to hold on a very heavy to begin with piece of plastic.
3. I love them! I really do! However I take them off all the time and cant remember just the way I lashed them "the best" , therefore I am often frustrated by their nuisance as much as I really love walking about my boat.
4. I have used U bolts from my favorite Idaho frame superpower. This creates a nut and portion of U bolt exposed. So I sand them smooth and cut them shorter to fit just right. And still I have a spot that rubs everytime I stack boats. I use pieces of packing foam to cover them as best as possible when stacking but I'm constantly reminded that they are there just trying to stick up right where you don't want them to.
5. Side rails rock! Or do they?? I can't remember anymore...


P.S. Zip ties fail. They do this randomly and often. Ask your mechanic, farmer, handyman, computer tech, electrician, plumber, doctor, dentist and shower curtain ring salesman. They just fail and I would only trust them to be useful AF but not as structural support to ANYTHING.

My 2 cents

cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you for a most excellent response

This made my day! So glad I held off on my HPDE order. I still think its a good option as a combo betty board/(passenger deck for those politically correct)
and table for the kitchen. Side rails, not so much.

I am off to search for some solid ash or cedar and lots of Stain/Spar.

Thank you everyone who weighed in! Get ready for HIGH WATER.8)

Jay

“The Dude abides. I don’t know about you, but I take comfort in that, knowin’ he’s out there. The Dude. Takin’ ‘er easy for all us sinners.” - The Stranger



I have cutting boards and that stuff is HEAVY. (hdpe) /they used to be cutting boards and I work in the service industry so I grabbed them out of the dumpster/I bleached the living stuff out of them and then tried to use straps to hold them along the sides.
1. The damn things shifted back and forth no matter the 3' straps i lashed around them.
2. I tried to get creative with how I lashed them in... Dozens of tries later I realized they would stay in "place" but when poised with a person using them as a leverage to climb in or jumping/stepping off them, they moved along my crossbars side to side some. so I lashed them to the side rails and realized I now had 7 million cam straps to hold on a very heavy to begin with piece of plastic.
3. I love them! I really do! However I take them off all the time and cant remember just the way I lashed them "the best" , therefore I am often frustrated by their nuisance as much as I really love walking about my boat.
4. I have used U bolts from my favorite Idaho frame superpower. This creates a nut and portion of U bolt exposed. So I sand them smooth and cut them shorter to fit just right. And still I have a spot that rubs everytime I stack boats. I use pieces of packing foam to cover them as best as possible when stacking but I'm constantly reminded that they are there just trying to stick up right where you don't want them to.
5. Side rails rock! Or do they?? I can't remember anymore...


P.S. Zip ties fail. They do this randomly and often. Ask your mechanic, farmer, handyman, computer tech, electrician, plumber, doctor, dentist and shower curtain ring salesman. They just fail and I would only trust them to be useful AF but not as structural support to ANYTHING.

My 2 cents

cheers
 

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It doesn't feel any heavier than normal plywood. There are other ways to connect the decks to your frame. Here's some pics of my installation, no slippage.

And for me the biggest benefit is NO maintenance.... I'm one of those guys who throws everything in the shed, then expects everything to work just fine after being in storage all winter
 

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I haven't gone the side board route yet. I lash gear to the rails enough that i'm sure they would be in my way most of the time, maybe it's cat thing.
I'm just here to say.... VIVA LA ZIP TIE! I've had my kennel floor attached with zip ties for the last 6 years, never broken one. If one does break; no big deal there are 10 more backing it up and I've got a pile more in the repair kit.
It's not like my floor is going to depart the boat.
If/when they start breaking i'll assume that they've reached their UV limit and replace all of them.
They are cheap, and at least as UV resistant as those expensive cam straps.
 

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All marine grade ply will be free of voids in the core. Voids are traps for water and will rot the product from the inside out. Repairs to the core plies are very few for this same reason. Weather and Boil Proof (WBP) glue must be used as well. This glue has been subjected to boiling water for more than an hour without delamination of the plies. This is where the standards stop so you can see there is a lot of room for variety that can effect what kind of product you get. Additional standards like BS 1088 and BS 6566 raise the bar quite a bit on what is allowed but these only add to the variety of products open to the general market. Species of face veneer and appearance, species of veneer core, core construction, and glue used will all effect how the finished sheet of plywood will behave in different conditions.
Nice plagiarism BTW, your post is a verbatim copy from this site: https://www.mcilvain.com/do-you-really-need-marine-grade-plywood/

I find it funny that the rest of the article essentially makes my point for me, that marine grade plywood and exterior plywood overlap in purpose and use while there is a difference in voids no clear standard truly defines the difference in layman's terms.

The point of all this discussion is that to build decking on a raft, either would be suitable from a durability standpoint. But the cost difference between the two grades of plywood, remains a primary consideration. Aesthetic differences are the individual craftsmen's choice.

For those of you that would like to learn more here are some references - in order of how I found them, not necessarily by reliability.

https://www.woodworkingnetwork.com/best-practices-guide/solid-wood-machining/what-difference-between-marine-plywood-and-regular-plywood
https://www.plywood.cc/2008/08/09/marine-plywood-a-comparison-with-general-exterior-plywood/
https://www.maggiescarf.com/primary-elements-that-distinguish-marine-grade-and-exterior-plywood/

There are many more... Enjoy,

Brian
 
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