Working with Aluminum

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by oysterbreath, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. oysterbreath

    oysterbreath Well-Known Member

    I recently bought a Fishmaster grab bar. It's an ok peice of gear....but I want to modify it. I want to turn it into a side mount rail much like the old ECC gladesmen rails


    The thing that makes this all possible without welding is the fact that these things have a removable base attached with a friction plate detent/ detent screw mechanism. So, what I want to do is to cut the base plate in two and tap new screw holes, trim one side of the grab bar tub and drill a new dent screw hole. Take a look at the pictures below:



    I have never worked with Aluminum. I only know what I have read. I have read that aluminum is soft enough to use wood working tool BUT abrasive cutting tools don't work so well. So beyond that...I know very little. So, any advice? Should I proceed as planed?

  2. topnative2

    topnative2 Well-Known Member

    abrasive will load up w/material...........sawzall w/ metal blade,sabre saw etc will work fine...use "blue sand paper to smooth out edges

  3. Brett

    Brett > PRO STAFF <

    Looks like a job for a hacksaw and bastard file, to me. :-?
  4. RigaRoo

    RigaRoo I Love!

    I had that grab bar on my Gheenoe. I'd be aware of cutting that base. If you cut the port side as shown in pics, you will need to reset/thread the screw into the new aluminum. Also note that it will flex a lot more when the base is apart. I'd find a local welder and have him weld on a round pad to the base of each, and a cross bar for additional support from flexing... It's a great tool for what it is, on e modified it can get sketchy, if not done properly.. :cool:
  5. tomahawk

    tomahawk Well-Known Member

    Looks like a plan to me. Each leg is still anchored so I don't see a problem with it. It seems to me that it would flex less with the shorter leg gunnel mounted
  6. oysterbreath

    oysterbreath Well-Known Member

    Sure thing! That's what I was referring to when I wrote, "drill a new dent screw hole" in the original post. I think it will work. I just need to build up the courage to cut aluminum for the first time. Heck...It's no different than when I first decided to build up the courage to cut wood. A freaking flats boat came of that! lol
    Thanks for the heads-up all Very kind of you all to reply!

    Oh oh.....yeah, a new cross member is NOT a bad idea but than means I would have to involve someone else. I don't have welding tools.
  7. Gramps

    Gramps Living &amp; Dying in 3/4 Time

    Dude it's like the first scratch on the new kayak. Just after loading it up at the store, grab the car key & give it a love line!

    Seriously though, aluminum is soft! It is easy to cut, drill, shape, etc.  Just Do It!

    And look at anytide's "stuff box" it will tie the grab rail together pretty well.


  8. tomahawk

    tomahawk Well-Known Member

    Hey, if you mess it up you can always get it welded back together.
  9. nmcphail

    nmcphail I Love!

    I do some TIG welding for fun, if you feel like driving up to Deland I'd be very pleased to knock it out in trade for a ride on your sweet Osprey... :)
  10. MariettaMike

    MariettaMike Wish'n I was Fish'n!

    We used pneumatic circular saws in the aluminum shipyard I worked in years ago. Blades are expensive but you could make the cuts you need in a few minutes after removing the base from the U Tube. But be careful your electric circular saw doesn't get ruined with the metal sawdust (swarf)

    Table saw would be better.
  11. oysterbreath

    oysterbreath Well-Known Member

    Oh frack! Sorry I didn't reply to this earlier. Sounds like a good deal. I've got the thing sitting on the side-line at the moment. I will eventually get back to it though...I may have to take you up on that offer...