Mounting grab rail on a J14

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by Jlocke1, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. Jlocke1

    Jlocke1 I Love!

    I'm picking up my new (to me) Carolina Skiff J14 on Monday!! and am ready to get started on some of the mods I've been dreaming up.

    I want to put on a grab bar that also has two forward legs to surround my cooler. I may try and fab this up myself or have one built but my question is, how do I mount this to the floor of the boat?

    I'm not crazy about drilling holes in the floor to mount this thing. One idea i've been thinking about is using a 3M VHB structural tape to bond the feet of the grab bar to the deck.

    Any suggestions?
  2. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Screwing into the deck of a Carolina Skiff is a bad idea for 2 reasons...

    1) It creates openings for water to leak into the under deck foam, causing saturation/weight problems.

    2) The deck is a very thin layer of fiberglass over polyurethane foam and as such has no strength.

    A possible solution is to 'glass an attachment base to the existing deck.
    That'll mean sanding off the existing gelcoat to be able to laminate new 'glass to it.
    That will spread load over a large area and avoid any possible leaks.
    How about overglassing a couple of rot resistant wood runners to the deck,
    then through bolting the grab rail to the runners? That ought to hold.
    Seems to work well on the j14's used by the pond treatment firms around here.
    It's how they mount the pump and spray tanks in place.

  3. Robert_Baltean

    Robert_Baltean I admit I have a fishing problem.

    I had one fabbed recently. southboundchicken gave me the number to a friend of his. He did an awesome job. The welds look beautiful too. I will post a picture within a couple of days. I need to do a couple of finishing touches first. Stay tuned.
  4. Jlocke1

    Jlocke1 I Love!

    I like your idea about glassing runners to the deck Brett. What kind of wood do you suggest?
  5. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Best would be cypress, that's mighty tough lumber.
    But a pine 2x4 sealed in epoxy will work also.
    It'll last longer than you'll own the boat... ;)
  6. WhiteDog70810

    WhiteDog70810 Mostly Harmless

    Where did you find a "new to you" Carolina Skiff that doesn't already have holes in the sole?

  7. Robert_Baltean

    Robert_Baltean I admit I have a fishing problem.

    Here's a picture of that grab rail I promised.

  8. Jlocke1

    Jlocke1 I Love!

    R_Salt - That is exactly the style of rail I'm having fab'd up, looks good.

    I'm working up Brett's suggestion about glassing 2x4 runners to the floor and thru bolting the rail. If I attach the 2x4's with the 2" dimension glassed to the floor will that be sound enough to support the grab rail? Seems to me that thru bolting sideways would be easiest if I have the rail made with brackets set vertically.(if that makes sense)
  9. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Long drive today, plenty of time to think about mounting things
    to the floor of a Carolina Skiff. I wonder how a block of StarBoard
    overglassed to the deck of a Carolina Skiff would hold up to the load.
    Wouldn't have to worry about water intrusion then.
    You could predrill the flange hole pattern of the rail through the Starboard
    and mount the bolts head down so the threaded ends were oriented upwards.
    Then overglass the StarBoard plates to the deck leaving the bolts
    ready to drop the grab rail in place atop, then add ny-locs and snug in place.
  10. jms

    jms don't let common sense get in your way


    over glassed starboard ? not a chance-nothing will adhere to it...

    personally,if i were to mount something down - which i will be doing on my own rig - i would laminate a piece of 3/4" plywood - marine grade,to the deck,then,screw the grab rail onto this.when laminating the piece to the deck,use epoxy,be sure and wrap the piece in matting,using an epoxy based resin.seal the screw holes with a good quality sealer - 3m 5200 is an excellent choice - this will prevent any chance of water migration into the core of your mounting block...follow these instructions,and you'll be just fine...
  11. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Yeah, nothing bonds to StarBoard.
    But I figured with a heavy overlay of glass it would be locked in place.
    That's how I've seen stainless steel chainplates embedded in sailboat hulls.
    Still, the best bet is what has already been proven to work, glass over wood.
    Thanks for the feedback, Jim.
  12. Jlocke1

    Jlocke1 I Love!

    Thank you guys for the input on this. Just picked up the skiff this morning and took it out to a local lake for a shakedown and some fishing. 3 nice striped bass and a few decent crappie! So glad I fished the boat before deciding on any mods (learned that here!)

    The boat is a 1440 so center mounting a grab rail is out, I don't think I'll have enough room to move around. I'm now thinking about a side-mounted rail and then using the methods you guys described to put down 2 anchor points for a cooler in the center of the boat towards the bow.

    I'm going to post some pics of the boat tomorrow and would love some more feed back from you guys.
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