Brass Trim

As I approach completion of the Pasagemaker....I have decided to put 1/2 in half oval brass trim on the rub rails, Keel, and top of forward transom.

Found NOS at an antique car swap meet for a great price!

#8 oval wood screws.  Looking for opinions:


Brass screws or.... Silicon Bronze:



9 replies:

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RE: Brass Trim

I would not use brass half oval trim on the rubrails. If they somehow get caught on a dock or hardware on another boat they can peel back and become a sharp whip. If you are worried about your rub rails not being strong enough make another cap from a really hard wood such as purple heart or teak which can be replaced if damaged. Brass trim on the stem and keel will offer protection against grinding when beaching or oyster beds - use silicon bronze screws - brass heads tend to twist off during installation. Would like to see photos of your Passagemaker when you finish.

RE: Brass Trim

I'm building a Peeler and I've also wondered about using maybe something for a rub rail. I'm not sure how tough the Spanish Cedar is they supply.

RE: Brass Trim

Brass is a soft metal and stands up to freash and salt water pertty weill. As to leaving exposed on a rub rail might not be a good idea. I would couner shink the screws and plug the counter sink with a matchng wool plug. Any compressiion of the rub rail shoud also compress the plug and keep the screw head from being exporsed or caught by the object or other objects. I know this will not look as nice as nice brass screw heads but rub rails are sacraficial fittings that need to take abuse to save other part of the boat.

RE: Brass Trim

Klitz wrote - I'm not sure how tough the Spanish Cedar is they supply.


                               Janka Hardness            Crushing Strength

Spanish Cedar                 600                           6,210

Teak                               1,070                        7,770

White Oak                       1,360                        7,440

Purpleheart                      2,390                       13,350


Spanish cedar is fairly soft - though it finishes nicely which is a big attraction to boatbuilders. I've been using purpleheart for rubrails in the past and while it is very abrasion resistant and strong, I dislike the color. I went ahead and just used some cedar for my Peeler's rubrails. If the rails start giving me problems I will just slap on a strip of purpleheart and live with it. I did use it for my bottom runners. BTW, Purpleheart is fairly inexpensive right now - I've seen some cheaper than white oak in Atlanta.

RE: Brass Trim

1/2 oval brass trim has been used for well over 100 years. Cape Dory and many others used it as an option on their teak rubs. 

One cannot countersink a screw and them fill on a brass rail. Not thick enough not to mention a wood plug would not stick to the brass stock.

It is more for looks and will add some protection. 



RE: Brass Trim

Cape Dory"s rubrails wre solid bronze with silicon bronze fasteners.

RE: Brass Trim

Yup u are correct! My Cape Dory 30 had the bronze rubrails.

Sure miss that boat! Fantastic sailer and top notch quality!

Still looking for a nice Typhoon.



RE: Brass Trim

Great cruising boats and a fantastic value if one is looking for an offshore boat these days. You can upgrade them with rig,sails and electronics but not pay through the nose for the boat. Best kept secret

RE: Brass Trim

Having sailed on a Cape Dory Typhoon in my callow youth I can totally agree they are a real classic. Though my friend's Typhoon had only teak rub rails, the quality of the bronze standard hardware has seldom been equaled. I remember the outboard motor bracket especially.

If you want top quality bronze castings you can spend hours pouring over this German company -



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