Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

Thought some my be interested:  I purchased the 1/2 inch half oval brass stock back in September.  Took quite awhile to drill, countersinck and polish but I now think it was worth the it. 

I used #8 1/12 inch Silicon Brass screws. I also bought one inch but found that the for some reason the heads were slightly larger and did not fit in the countersink as well.  I think it would work as good or better with #6 screws. Maker rail trim






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RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

I apologize for high jacking this forum. Seems I have forgotton how to post photos correctly. Last attempt! Thanks for understanding.



RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

Thanks for the notes, I'll be ordering brass rub rail for my dory for the edge of the skeg, and the leading edge of the bow.  Could you help with some questions I have please?

Do you remember what size drill you used to drill the brass?

Did you just use a larger drill to make the countersinks?

How did you "polish" the contersinks?

Did you predrill the boat for the screws?

Did you drill, fill drill in the boat for the screws?  If so, did you just go up a couple drill sizes?

I assume you used flat head slotted screws from CLC?  




Curt 830/997-8120


RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

  While countersinks can be made with a drill bit, you will have better results with an actual countersink cutter. You do not have to buy an expensive micro stop cage or holder if you don't want, but it is a lot easier to get consistent depths if you do. Or you could just use a drill press and set a stop. A c/s cutter will leave a smooth shiny surface that does not need anymore work. They use a rounded tip called a pilot to guide the cutter, the closer the fit into the screw hole, the less chance of having vibrations or chattering leave a wavy surface in the countersink.

RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

I used a Vermont 3/8  countersink in drill press

Drill holes just large enough for screw shank to fit.


Use #8 SB 1/2  countersink



RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

Polish with brasso


RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

There's no point in polishing if you actually use the boat. I used the same stuff to protect the bottom of my sailing dinghy's skeg and as soon as it starts getting wet it starts to tarnish. Now a rubrail is not submerged, I know, but it's going to get splashed and it will be exposed to spray. So unless you have a steady source of midshipmen or miscreant sailors in need of mild punishment, you're going to have to accept the patina of tarnish or spend the rest of your life polishing.

Another thing to be careful of is that you now have a hard edge that concentrates the boat's weight. When you bump into something, or vice versa, there'll be an increased chance of damage and scrtatching. A wooden rub rail spreads and absorbs the shock, this one will focus it. Your friends with boats, especially gelcoated fiberglass ones, will consider your boat antisocial.

But it sure does look pretty.



RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

Good point about impacts, Lazlo.

I flattened the leading edge on the bow of my dory in anticipation of adding brass rub rail to it, and to the skeg also, now I see the complexity of installing it and the appearance that it isnt maintenance free plus it just bugs me to have that many holes in the boat..even with drill, fill, drill

I wonder if perhaps a sacrifical strip of thin, bare soft wood, not epoxied painted or varnished, maybe even just held on with contact cement, silicone, or good caulk (something that would allow the strip to be pulled off and replaced).

I am not wanting a museum grade boat, it will be used and abused, so the idea of a thin strip of wood appeals to me...

Your thoughts?


Curt  830/997-8120

RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

Whether you do or you don't .... What ever floats your boat!


Why polish?

1. After countersinkin the holes you will need to file the edges slightly there will be some burs. Ok will scratch the brass outside of the countersink.

I sand the piece going up to #2500 grit emery then polish. What does this do you might ask?

1. Removes those constructions boo boos and scars from transport etc.

2. Now when it oxidizes to that nice patina... it will age evenly without dark scraches which tend to lookin funky.

My other boats have brass on the bows for protection and have saved them many times over from careless bumps on docks rocks etc.

No the trim will NOT increase the damage to the wood! Metal trim spreads the impact. Mahogony is very soft and will dent easily.  (By the way I have boats with and without brass trim)  I love them all!

Classic yachts my 48 Chris and all the boats of that age all had Chrome plated brass rub rails to PROTECT the mahagony!


Just a matter of taste.  I have always polished rub rails but after I start using the boat I normally let it go ah natural.  It does not take much to bring it up to a show shine if one so desires.

Here is a photo of a cedar strip canoe I built in 2000. The bow trim is 3/8 1/2 oval with #6 screws. It was polished in 2000 has been in water anually and has not been polished. You can bed the screws with silicone or you can epoxy them but do not expect to be able to get them out.  You may also use epoxy and also put silicone on the screws. The epoxy will cure and make the wood threads stronger and you will still be able to extract the screws.

Just some thoughts. Best of all enjoy your build !

RE: Passage Maker Brass Rub Rail

>>No the trim will NOT increase the damage to the wood!

Agreed. I meant increasing the chances of damage to the other guy's boat, not to yours.



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