I need to replace my rub rails on a 40ft timber cruiser

by Wayne
(Bairnsdale, Australia)

Hi, I have a old timber cruiser built in about 1876.

She is in quite good condition but the rub rails are destroyed in some areas.

I have seen some comments about replacing them with spotted gum but haven't found a lot of info

- Do I used green wood, kiln dried or what, and what is involved in steaming?

- Does the whole rail need to be replaced or can I join sections?

the rails are about a rounded 4x2" on the aft and probably about 3x1.5" shaped on the bow.

Comments for I need to replace my rub rails on a 40ft timber cruiser

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Apr 01, 2015
by: Darlene Summers

She's a beauty!

Good Luck with your project! ;D

Feb 19, 2012
Drying Timber
by: Mike

I'm sure that air dried timber is superior to kiln dried, providing that it is seasoned in a proper and controlled way, which is a time consuming, specialist process that requires constant attention and lots of long-term storage space.

However, properly air dried timber is both expensive and increasingly difficult to obtain.

And as I understand it the kiln drying process is designed to reduce the water content without unduly affecting the less volatile resins and oils.

Certainly prevention (ventilation) is better than having to cure wood rot.

Feb 18, 2012
kiln dried wood on a boat
by: Brendan

Hi, I just want to comment on the idea of using kiln dried wood on any wooden boat.

I was taught in my training that this bodes for an early rot situation.

As it was explained to me, the process of kiln drying wood kills the natural immunity of the wood to dry rot as the natural resistance compounds are forced out with the sap in the drying process as opposed to remaining dry but dormant in the cell of the wood to give it it's natural resistance to dry rot spores.

Maybe that's why some very rot resistant woods have an oily and resinous characteristic.

The other part of that lesson was to keep the boat well aired, ventilated and dry, no damp corners or lockers to promote continuously moist wood.

And if any rot is discovered get it replaced as soon as possible to avoid those rot spores spreading around.

Jan 28, 2011
she is great.
by: john gina malta

I have two wooden old boats 1930 and 1951 but nothing like that I wish I had one like it.

Good luck,

Oct 17, 2010
135 Year Old Lady
by: Anonymous

?Not bad? has got to be the understatement of the year for your 135 year old lady.

She?s a beauty!

If only she could talk I?ll bet she could tell a story or two.

So, where was she built?

Was she originally a pleasure craft or a work boat?

Please tell us more about her.

Oct 17, 2010
40 ft timber cruiser
by: Wayne

Hi, I did mean 1876, it was originally a steam powered boat, but now has a ford lees.

Not bad for a boat over 120 years old Hey!

Sep 22, 2010
year built
by: Anonymous

Do you mean it was built in 1978?

Aug 26, 2010
Spotted Gum
by: Mike

Hi Wayne,

What a beauty she is.

And built in 1876, I wonder how many plastic boats will last as long and look as good at that age.

Yes, Spotted Gum is a good choice.

I'm a great believer in using locally produced timber, for numerous reasons, ecological as well as supply.

Gum will steam ok, but do you need to?

Looking at the photo it doesn?t look as though there is sufficient curve in the rub-rail to justify setting up a steamer. If there are any tight curves these can always be laminated up using thin stock.

No, you don?t have to replace the whole rail, you can scarf in sections, the original rubbing strake will most likely have been made up from sections.

Scarfs should be ?nibbed? on the outer edge, but don?t need to be on the inner edge and the scarf should point aft (most damage occurs when going forward, so best to keep any edges pointing aft).

Best to use seasoned timber (either kiln dried or air dried), I don?t know off hand what the shrinkage rate for gum is but better to be on the safe side.

The point of a rub-rail is to take any damage and be easy to replace, a sacrificial strip if you like.

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