Replacing cabin - top handrails E33

Bill Baum

Member II
The original unvarnished teak handrails on the exterior cabin-top of my '82 E33 have eroded to the point where I no longer trust them with my life at sea. The port-side rail is split in one place. Today I don't have pictures to share, but on the E33 a handrail is 1.5" wide x approx 5/8" thick teak stock, curved about 6" over the 9' length. The rail was simply wood-screwed into six raised features (2 x #12 wood screws into each feature) in the deck molding. There are no throughbolts or embedded nuts as mentioned in other posts on other Ericsons.

Has anyone replaced a cabintop railing like this? I could go with new teak - maybe beefier, or maybe some synthetic lumber. I have also wondered about stainless steel tubing. With stainless I'm not sure how to fasten - something neat that would not cut up feet or toes - I'm not sure how you create a flush fastener in round tubing. (The raised mounting places have flat surfaces approx 1" x 5"). I have seem references to "flat oval" stainless tubing, which might make it easier to find an acceptable fastener, but I wonder if flat tubing is bendable.

So I'm looking for strength, a nice method of fastening, and something that will hold up to the elements without needing much maintenance.

Thank you for any thoughts!
 

wynkoop

Member III
I was about ask about replacement of the same rails on my E-27. Mine are thin as well, but not cracked yet.

I measured mine the other day, but have forgotten the size. I had thought I could get some teak or black locust and use my jig saw to make a new one then plane it down for curve.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
If you can do very basic woodworking, teak handrails are easy. (for example https://www.practical-sailor.com/boat-maintenance/design-for-building-your-own-handrails )

Stainless is easy for any metal fabricator shop such as Railmakers (several forum members have done it and I hope will comment). You just have to make a drawing with dimensions, and maybe use an angle measure. Not expensive, since tubing structures are universally used in trucking and elsewhere in the world.
 

wynkoop

Member III
Yep Christian I am thinking if I can get my hands on some wood at a good price I might just as well put my woodworking skills to work. I just checked and Black Locust, which I made my new engine bed out of is harder than teak at a jakarta hardness of 1700. There is a mill about 3 hours from me that says they will cut to size, so I am thinking of having them cut me 2 boards the size needed for the rough dimensions of the rails and then using my existing inside rails to draw out the pattern. The ones on the deck are way too worn and skinny from years of sanding and refinishing.

It may take me a while to work the new rails down to having nice curves, but I expect when done they will last the rest of my boating life.

Since I often sail in cold weather no stainless grab rails on the coachroof for me!
 

CTOlsen

Member III
I replaced mine 3 years ago and they are working great. I purchased teak stock, made a mylar template of the existing rails (which are NOT stock), transferred the template to the teak and cut away. Used a hole saw for the rounded sections and a router on all the edges. I also found that the bottom of the original was chamfered to match the contour of the deck, so all 5 bottom mounting surfaces had to be chamfered.

I attached the handrails to the deck from the under side of the cabin using #12 stainless wood screws. Holes in the deck have been oversized, filled with epoxy and redrilled so there is no compression. After 4 seasons, there's been no loosening.
 

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
Stainless is easy for any metal fabricator shop such as Railmakers (several forum members have done it and I hope will comment). You just have to make a drawing with dimensions, and maybe use an angle measure. Not expensive, since tubing structures are universally used in trucking and elsewhere in the world.

If you take the original rail to almost any local welding shop for the angle, they can make the stainless rails, because as Christian wrote, it's really straight forward. And should cost a lot less than a shop specialized in marine products.

The feet for my boarding ladder had broken and the ladder was bent. I took it to a local shop that just does general welding to both repair and modify the ladder by moving the feet as far as possible from the hinges, so they are closer to where the transom meets the bottom of the boat. I think I paid a total of $85. iirc - He said he charged $50 to start, $5 per inch for the welding, and the rest was for the stainless tube.
 

frick

Member III
If just recalled that many Ericsons where made with both inside hand rails and out side rails. They were through bolted together. Very Strong.
 

frick

Member III
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Link to our new SS handrails.
 

wynkoop

Member III
Silver Maiden has through bolted inside and outside rails. I plan to use the inside rails as the template for making new outside rails. Today I measure my rails again (forgot the measurements) and tomorrow I call the supplier about 3 hrs drive away.
 

Bill Baum

Member II
Hi, this is BIll the OP. Here are pictures of the deck and handrail. As you can see they are "simply" flat teak slats without their own feet. The second picture is the starboard side with the rail removed, showing the raised, molded, deck features more clearly (with a strip of tape over the screw holes.

These rails are 9 feet long with a total curvature of about 6 inches. Do you think they were cut from a wide plank, or made from narrow stock and bent (steamed?) ?
E33 Hand Rail 1.jpg



E33 Hand Rail 2.jpg
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
I can tell you what I'd do (without knowing whether it would work). I'd get some teak from a wood supplier and see if it will cold-bend. I'd wonder if mahogany would do, and ask the supplier. If the teak wouldn;t bend, I'd build a steam bag, which would be a fun project (maybe), and would have to be done in the garage, with a jig and clamps and so on, and would take 7 times longer than anticipated after experiment failures.

Nine feet is long, but long helps bending. I'd clamp extensions at each end to make it even longer, for leverage. Is your bend lateral? I think mine is too. Going to be a matter of how wide the board is, skinnier being easier to bend sideways.

Teak isn't especially stiff, but it can break. I doubt yours was sawn to get that bend, and I doubt Ericson steamed anything. (Anybody know?)

Definitely a project I'd attempt, and I'd be sure to learn something :)

.DSC_0103.JPG
E381 deck rails
 

garryh

Member III
a couple of owners have replaced handrails with PlasTeak and it looks really good... and maintenance free. Sure is not cheap though
 

CSMcKillip

Moderator
Moderator
Bill, I would just get some teak cut. Place them outside on a saw horse with the middle raised up, clamp them down, get them wet and cover them for a week. They should start to radius. Start at the front and move aft to install. Maybe over drill and fill with thickened epoxy first... make sure they don’t go thru the deck. Our seahood is still leaking after a darn year of messing with it. 5 times now.
 

Mark F

Contributing Partner
Blogs Author
Hi Bill,
I am pretty sure that is just a straight piece of wood that was bent in place. It looks like you could start fastening the rail from the back and working your way forward. When you get close to the front of the rail use a rope to pull the ends toward each other (the center). If you find teak locally, pick though the stock and find something that has a curve in it already and use that to your advantage. If the Yard gives you a hard time about picking through the lumber they will love you when you tell them you are looking for a bent piece ;-).
 

windblown

Member II
Hi, this is BIll the OP. Here are pictures of the deck and handrail. As you can see they are "simply" flat teak slats without their own feet. The second picture is the starboard side with the rail removed, showing the raised, molded, deck features more clearly (with a strip of tape over the screw holes.

These rails are 9 feet long with a total curvature of about 6 inches. Do you think they were cut from a wide plank, or made from narrow stock and bent (steamed?) ?
View attachment 35770



View attachment 35771
Bill,
The handrails on our E 32-3 are a similar design—a long flat rail that attaches to the molded features on the deck, following the graceful curve of the cabin top. We are pulling the rails for refinishing this winter, and as we released the screws (Which are screws, rather than bolts, to my surprise), our teak rail straightened itself out. It appears the bend is allowed by the flexibility of the teak; the straight rail curves as it is anchored to the deck.
 
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steven

Member III
> . . . I took it to a local shop that just does general welding to both repair . . .

Bob, Was the metal work done in Annapolis area ? If yes, who did you use.

--Steve
 
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