How to Tighten the Grab Rails on a Sailboat

How to Tighten the Grab Rails on a Sailboat
The grab rails on a sailboat are small but important safety features. If you're sailing in rough waters, those grab handles can help you keep your balance. Because of this, the handles must be securely fastened onto the boat's ceiling, bulkhead or whichever parts of the boat they're attached to. These rails must be screwed tightly into the boat so they don't feel loose at all when you pull on them with your full weight. If the rails feel loose at all, you need to tighten them before you take the boat back out on the water.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Screwdriver Power saw Scrap lumber Mixing container Wood putty Mixing stick Finishing nail Palm sander 120 grit sandpaper Drill and bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Power saw
  • Scrap lumber
  • Mixing container
  • Wood putty
  • Mixing stick
  • Finishing nail
  • Palm sander
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Drill and bit
Step 1
Tighten the screws holding the grab rails in place if you can. Check the screws for the exact type of screwdriver you need. If you can tighten down the screws and the rails now feel secure, this takes care of the problem. Proceed to the next steps if the rails still feel loose or if you can't tighten the screws firmly.
Step 2
Cut pieces of scrap lumber into smaller pieces using a circular power saw. The main objective is to create sawdust, making the quality of the lumber and number of pieces cut inconsequential. Collect the sawdust in a container you would use to mix putty or similar substances in.
Step 3
Add wood putty to the sawdust and mix them together within the container. The sawdust needs to be evenly distributed within the putty. Follow the mixing instructions provided on the putty's container and close the container once you've poured out the amount you need--you will need more later.
Step 4
Fill up the old screw holes that the grab rails were screwed into with the putty mixture; a finishing nail will help transfer the putty into the holes. Make sure the holes are completely filled with putty--the putty can overflow the holes to make sure of this. Let the putty settle overnight.
Step 5
Sand down the putty once it has set until it is level with the surface. Use a palm sander with 120 grit sandpaper.
Step 6
Drill new holes into the surface through the hardened wood putty mixture. Use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the grab rail's mounting screws so they will fit tightly.
Step 7
Dip the mounting screws into the original wood putty used to make the mixture and then use them to mount the grab rails back in place. The putty will eventually harden and help keep the screws in place. Wait 24 hours for the putty to settle.

Article Written By Chris Moore

Chris Moore has been contributing to eHow since 2007 and is a member of the DFW Writers' Workshop. He received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of Texas-Arlington.

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