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Old 12-05-2012, 04:38 PM   #1
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Bronze vs Stainless Steel

We're in the market for a larger vessel, and are looking seriously at a Grand Banks 42. One aspect of it is that it has the stainless steel upgrade, which means that much of the normally bronze exterior hardware such as cleats, hawse holes, etc. is stainless.
Personally, I prefer the look of bronze but have no sense of whether stainless is better wearing, or needs less upkeep.

Any thoughts?
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:46 PM   #2
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Other than the obvious that bronze will develop a patina.

Stainless fasteners are stronger and if it is good stainless you will not have much corrosion on the fittings.

No bronze to polish.

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Old 12-05-2012, 04:52 PM   #3
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Steel is stronger than bronze. Have SS fittings on my boat. ... The bronze fitting connecting tiller to rudder post on my dad's sailboat broke. Replaced the failed fitting with one custom-made of SS.
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Old 12-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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Stainless steel is fine for exterior hardware. It's up to you but it's a pretty minor point when considering a boat purchase.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:00 PM   #5
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Bronze for me

I would go bronze. I see too many issues with crevice corrosion and rust stains around stainless fittings. High quality stainless bedded and installed correctly is fine but it seams to be a rarity from what I see around. On my current boat I have both stainless and the bronze fittings. I would be glad to get rid of the stainless.
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Old 12-05-2012, 07:53 PM   #6
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If possible, SS is my choice, hands down! Can't break it, hard to mark or stain. Virtually never needs cleaning or other attention. SS shines fairly reflectively in flash/spot/flood lights; even in dull-dock-light night situations too. In nighttime conditions SS is usually easier than bronze to quickly visually locate for those who are not sure of fastening areas aboard boat. 3 to 5 second hesitation of a mate searching for cleats and chocks to fasten with while docking or mooring in unsettling weather conditions can mean a lot to success of the end result. Been there... seen that.

But - I sure don't feel the difference between SS and Bronze fittings should be the end-all reason to purchase a good craft. Compromise is one of the keys to our pleasure boating enjoyment game.
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Old 12-05-2012, 08:47 PM   #7
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... In nighttime conditions SS is usually easier than bronze to quickly visually locate for those who are not sure of fastening areas aboard boat. ...
Yes, SS does reflect. Midship cleats clearly show up in this photo.

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Old 12-05-2012, 09:10 PM   #8
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Yes, SS does reflect. Midship cleats clearly show up in this photo.

Mark - There you and your "photo journalist" wife go again... i.e. always having the right picture at the right time. That's s handsome, good looking picture of you guys' "Trawler" boat. Maybe it should enhance your avatar! SS simply glistens on your craft!

And, quickly attaching the spring lines to mid-ship cleats are a most impotent part of securing any boat during night or day docking. SS reflective finish does make it easier to see than Bronze during low-light nighttime berthing.
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:25 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Trouble seeing cleats at night?

Dock Edge Solar Lighted Cleat - Overton's
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:41 PM   #10
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Greetings,
Trouble seeing cleats at night?

Dock Edge Solar Lighted Cleat - Overton's
There Ya GO!! Problem solved. Except they are of one size and not too large; made of aluminum. Wonder how long the solar collector and light lenses will last. Rechargeable battery must be fairly easy to change. Of course new battery would likely be needed under worse conditions!
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Old 12-05-2012, 09:49 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conrad View Post
We're in the market for a larger vessel, and are looking seriously at a Grand Banks 42. One aspect of it is that it has the stainless steel upgrade, which means that much of the normally bronze exterior hardware such as cleats, hawse holes, etc. is stainless.
Personally, I prefer the look of bronze but have no sense of whether stainless is better wearing, or needs less upkeep.

Any thoughts?
There is stainless and there is stainless. I have seen numerous instances on some of the newer GBs in the big charter fleet in our marina (and on plenty of other boats as well) of stainless fittings, particularly portlight frames and stanchion bases, weeping rust stains down the boat. The housekeeping staff of the charter outfit is kept busy compounding these off the hulls.

Personally I much prefer bronze fittings. No maintenance and more than strong enough for the job. As to the difficulty of seeing them at night, unless one has really crappy vision I cannot see that as being an even remote possibility. We've certainly never had that issue on our boat even on the darkest of nights in an anchorage and all our exterior fittings are bronze gone gray-green.
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Old 12-05-2012, 10:08 PM   #12
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Mark - There you and your "photo journalist" wife go again... i.e. always having the right picture at the right time. That's a handsome, good looking picture of you guys' "Trawler" boat. Maybe it should enhance your avatar! SS simply glistens on your craft!
Gimme time. I already changed my avatar earlier today.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:12 AM   #13
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OUT of the water , SS or bronze is not a problem.

Although at high load ( like a tow pin or bollard) bronze may bend , where the SS could snap.

Under water as a fitting or worse as bolts,, SS stinks and should be replaced with good marine bronze.

A SS shaft is OK if fitted with proper zinc protection .
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:38 AM   #14
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OUT of the water , SS or bronze is not a problem.

Although at high load ( like a tow pin or bollard) bronze may bend , where the SS could snap.

Under water as a fitting or worse as bolts,, SS stinks and should be replaced with good marine bronze.

A SS shaft is OK if fitted with proper zinc protection .

Would you not be protecting everything else from the SS with the zinc?

It is my understand that SS is more noble then the bronze (well the brass in the the mix) without the zinc you would have a copper (pink) prop.

Everything else needs protection from the SS, correct?
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:42 AM   #15
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People, people, people! Here is part of the original post:
Quote:
....... One aspect of it is that it has the stainless steel upgrade, which means that much of the normally bronze exterior hardware such as cleats, hawse holes, etc. is stainless. .......
The OP is asking about exterior hardware, not underwater metal. No sacrificial anodes are needed for cleats unless they are underwater and if they are, the owner would have far greater concerns than anodes.
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Old 12-06-2012, 10:13 AM   #16
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I would say it's personal preference. Bronze certainly is more in keeping with a vintage boat, but availability of matching new pieces is limited. And boats that have a mix of metals don't (IMHO) look well sorted.

If you're the kind of owner who is always adding things to your boat then there will be more options in SS. And it's substantially less expensive to commission custom work in SS.

Edit: One more thing - if you ever need to use a chrome fitting (can't think of one offhand but I knot they're out there) it's going to be more visually compatible with SS
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:23 PM   #17
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Hi there...thanks for your replies.

Never having had bronze on a boat, I wasn't sure what the difference(s) would be, and from a maintenance perspective it seems to be slight, with the edge going to bronze. (Keeping in mind that we're talking about above the water equipment; haven't yet seen the need for underwater cleats!)

And of course in the overall scheme of things SS vs bronze is not going to be a significant factor in choosing a boat but all things being equal I'll go with the bronze equipped boat; they just look so nautical!
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Old 12-12-2012, 01:41 PM   #18
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When we first got our boat to Bellingham after having it trucked up from California to Tacoma and then taking it north on its own bottom we were allowed to use a slip for the first few months that belongs to the GB dealer who helped us find the boat. All the external metal fittings on our boat except the pulpit rail and the flying bridge handrails are bronze. We were assigned a slip right next to a newish Krogen that the dealer had taken in trade and had just sold. All the Krogen's external metal hardware was stainless.

One day the new owner was polishing all the hand and grab rails and hawse holes and cleats and whatnot on his boat and he looked over at our old beater GB and stated that he wished all the external hardware on his boat was bronze, too.

He said, "When you have bronze and ignore it everyone thinks it looks very nautical and cool. When you have stainless and don't keep it polished everyone thinks your boat looks like crap."
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:39 PM   #19
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............, "When you have bronze and ignore it everyone thinks it looks very nautical and cool. When you have stainless and don't keep it polished everyone thinks your boat looks like crap."
Bird poop looks just as bad on bronze as it does on stainless steel.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:44 PM   #20
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Bird poop looks just as bad on bronze as it does on stainless steel.
This is very true.
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