Friday, April 29, 2016

Self-adhesive automotive trim as a rub rail

It's almost three years to the day now, since I started writing this blog. My, how much has changed since then.

At this point, most of the remaining work on the Utility is cosmetic. The major exception to that is the issue of a bilge pump. Or, if I dare to drill a hole through a perfectly good transom, a drain tube. We'll worry about that later.

I've got the edges of the deck trimmed and sanded. The fiberglass tape down the centerline of the deck has been sanded down considerably. The deck is waiting on another layer of epoxy, which I ordered today. It should be here in about a week.

In the meantime, tonight I attached the rub rail on the starboard side.



For the rub rail, I decided to use a self-adhesive automotive trim. I got the idea from another boatbuilder who built a splendid Glen-L Malahini. You can read his blog post by clicking here. He seemed to have good luck with this trim, and it seemed easy to use, so I decided to use the same thing.

The trim is 1" wide, self-adhesive with chrome finish. It is Protekto-Trim style 33-313, which I bought from R&E Paint Supply.


Here's how the trim works: you peel away short sections of the red backing tape, and press the trim into position. It couldn't be simpler. A blue protective tape covers the chrome finish. Once the trim is on, you simply pull the blue tape away.


Here's the rub rail attached to the starboard side. I used a mechanical pencil as a guide to position the rub rail slightly below the corner where the side planking meets the gunwale.


Unfortunately, before I fully appreciated the need to work in very short sections, I'd let some curves develop as I applied the moulding. The adhesive is very strong. You have to work in very short sections, and be careful not to let the adhesive make contact before you're ready.


Here, I'm removing the blue protective tape from the chrome. I did leave the blue tape on up forward, however, until I finish epoxy work on the deck. I still need to epoxy-coat the trimmed edges of the deck for moisture protection.






Lastly, here is a photo of a fitting goof I made at the deck beam. As you can see, the fitting leaves much to be desired. I'm sharing this, just in the hopes that it might somehow help you avoid the same mistake. 

When I had built the deck framing months ago, I used plywood strips to test the fairing of the deck framing and sheers. Everything seemed to be okay. A simple look underneath the framing when I had the deck simply clamped into position last week would have easily alerted me to this gap.

Fortunately the deck seems quite strong, now that it is attached.. It is supported along the sheers, the strongback (under the centerline of the deck), the forward frame, and the breasthook. So, this gap doesn't really present a structural weakness per se.... it's just not as strong as it could be.

I ordered a couple of empty caulking gun tubes along with my epoxy order today. I'll probably use those to inject enough thickened epoxy into this gap in order to improve the fitting somewhat.

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