decks without nails

Posted by Howard on Dec 3, 2005


there have been some good old posts on the topic. the quick answer is that it can be done and a lot of folks are attaching decks without nails.

i have done it a couple ways, but based on my experience i find packing tape to be the easiest and least expensive approach to attaching a deck without nails. i have also done it with straps and string.

for the tape technique, the most important thing is to use a high quality packing tape. i like scotch brand with fibre reinforcement. The thing about the tape that has fibre reinforcement is it will not stretch. so when you tape the deck down, it will stay where you put it. the other thing is that you need to make sure you have plenty of tape on hand. you will be generous with the tape and each piece has to wrap from at least the crown (highest point) of the deck to at least past the keel line. you don't want to run out of tape in the middle of the process. its inexpensive enough that you can buy way more than you need and simply not worry about it.

in terms of placement, you place the tape in the same order and spacing that you would with nails...about every four inches, alternating sides, starting from the middle of the boat out to the ends. it helps to have an assistant to hold and bend the deck as you tape; particularly the front deck. prior to beginning the taping, you should clamp the rear of the front deck to the deck beam and the front of the front deck should be taped to the bow to ensure the deck stays centered on the boat.

the other thing you have to keep in mind when you attach a deck with no nails is that you want to make sure your overhangs on the deck are no more than about an inch and that you do not pull the tape too tight. becuase tape or straps are pulling down on the edge of the deck, if you have too much overhang and or pull too hard, you will bow the deck up higher than it should be. as i mentioned before, clamping the back of the front deck to the deck beam helps to prevent this.

finally, if you do use tape, compared to other techniques, you can pull up a little bit of wood when you take the tape off. in my experience this has never been an issue and a light sanding will quickly take care of any minor marks. the good packing tape will not leave a residue. when removing the tape i alway pull it carefully and keep my pulling hand along the boat (i don't pull the tape up and away from the boat). this minimizes the amount of wood that the tape will pull with it.

Anyway, I am sure that others will give you details related to strap methods and ropes. they all work as well.

good luck


In Response to: Re: clamps by Tim H on Dec 3, 2005


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