Forming starboard for spray rails?

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by MariettaMike, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!

    I've got some spray rails coming from Maverick to put on my Dolphin that will be rounded on the ends, routed on the bottom edges, and pre-drilled for mounting screws on like 8" centers. I'm pretty sure what I'm going to get will be straight pieces that will need to be formed to the curved shape of my deck. I don't want to cold form them because in looking at a new Maverick it appeared that way leaves stresses in the starboard that makes the rails bow out at the bottom.

    From what I've read, Starboard needs to be heated to 600 degrees for hot forming.

    I've also been told the best way to get old registration letters off of a boat is with a heat gun.

    Taking these two bits of information leads me to believe it would be ok to heat the starboard and form it while its on the boat.

    But since I've never done it I'm asking for any advice from someone with experience putting heat on gelcoat and/or starboard. (the rub rail may get a little warm too.)
  2. LWalker

    LWalker Well-Known Member

    I have put on and taken off plenty of vinyl on boats. For vinyl it is probably under 200 degrees, just hot enough to loosen the adhesive, but not so hot that it tears. I would not be comfortable heating gelcoat to 600. For comparison, I believe that lead's melting point is just over 600.

  3. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

  4. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!

    I can't find where I found that 600 degree temperature again but I did find the "vicat softening" spec for starboard to be 123 centigrade. (253 Fahrenhet) Vicat softening is the temperature where you can stick a 1 mm diameter flat point into the material.

    I also found where someone posted putting some small starboard pieces in a gumbo pot, boiling them, and the material softened enough to shape it.

    So I guess I'll have to wait and see what I get, clamp it in place along the straight edge, and then see just how hard it is to bend cold up at the bow.

    Because the shape of a Dolphin bow is round versus the signature Maverick point it appears I may not be bending as much as they have to on a Maverick.

    I also learned that Maverick quit using 8' long rails and puts 10' rails on all their boats now. On my boat that will put the back end somewhere between the back side of the console and the helm seat.

    Comparing these boats you can see how Maverick splashed the Super Skiff when they started.

    the new ones
  5. trplsevenz

    trplsevenz I Love!

    Removing numbers= ok.. Bending 1" starboard with a heat gun = never gonna happen. I've bent 3/4 vinyl trim boards with a torch for foaming boards. It's a pita but can be done with a propane torch. You will burn it tho. Not what u want to do w starboard as it will bubble and burn pretty quick.
  6. Rediculous

    Rediculous Boozle on...

    I just did this exact thing but used the PVC trim. Super easy. I took a 16" rip of plywood, and scribed the curve of my skiff. Then just screw down 6" 2x4 blocks along the curve, spaced so it makes a smooth transition. Pre-drill and screw to the 2x4 blocks, so it's in the shape you want. Heat gun it for 5-10 minutes (try not to burn it) and let it cool down. Remove it from the jig and marvel at your perfectly shaped spray rail. Like I said, I did this with PVC trim. But, if I were using starboard I would use this same method and expect the same results. There is always the possibility I could be wrong though....
  7. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!

    Thanks for the tip.

    I picked up my rails at lunch and found them to be fairly easy to bend. When I took them out of my SUV this afternoon when I got home from work I found them to be really easy to bend, and learned that they will set in the position they cool down in.

    I may combine making a jig with leaving them in the SUV all day and not need to risk burning them with a heat gun.

    They even bend from their own weight without heat over time. Kinda like wet wood.

  8. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!

    update: When Maverick figured out that shipping 10' pieces cost $70 more than shipping 9' pieces somebody there decided to cut my rails down to 9' without rounding the ends. Wasn't a big deal for me to trace the curve from the other ends, but I just can't help but think what they will do to save costs on all the other things they do.

    Anyway I picked up a few 6" mini bar clamps from Ace Hardware that are on sale for $4.99 this month and have clamped the rails on the boat at least 6 times, and am still trying to build up the courage to drill a couple dozen holes in my boat.

    Without rail


    with rail


  9. No Bait / Lures Only

    No Bait / Lures Only I Love!

    How did you attach the spray rails? Screwed from below and 5200? Please advise as I have the same issue with the Spear Glades X skiff :-/
  10. swampfox

    swampfox 01 Hells Bay Guide.07 ECC LOSTMEN-sold

    Make sure you use a screw with a flat bottom. And it has a flat surface to bottom out on. The early HBs would split in the curves over time from stress. They used counter sunk screw heads. Which acted as a wedge to split the board.
  11. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!


    #10 x 3" Flat head stainless steel METAL screws (finer thread than wood) in pre drilled holes filled with 5200. I got my screws from Ace Hardware and made sure they were the right length to be through the hull fiberglass, but not go through the joint and out the cap. These screws do have an angle, but the counter sink holes do too. I think you would strip the the fiberglass hull material out before you would split the starboard. This is what Maverick uses on all their boats.

    The rails I got from Maverick were pre drilled on like 9" spacing, but I added some holes near the ends and in between on the curved areas to prevent getting some straight spots.

    I also learned from this installation that the bottom side of the gunnel may not be perfectly straight or parallel with the top of the deck. The rub rail covers this and you don't see it until you extend that line with a 3" tall piece of starboard. I put some spacers made out of the starboard I cut from the end to straighten out the line.

    Because I had so many beam clamps I was able to cold form the rail over a couple days time and never used any heat. With the piece clamped in place I drilled my holes on the stern half, removed the clamps for that part, blew out the trash, put in the 5200, and then installed the screws. I repeated that process for the front half and put some clamps back on just to make sure nothing moved while the 5200 set.

    I forgot to mention I used my drill bit index to find just the right size bit for these #10 screws that would let the threads grab material, but not have the solid part of the screw shank spilt/crack the fiberglass. The scrap piece of my console dash from installing my voltmeter came in handy for that. PM me your phone number for more details if needed.
    not2shabby likes this.