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Old 02-24-2012, 09:05 AM   #1
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Alternative Swim Platform Materials

It's time for me to start my new swim step project. I'm still considering wrapping plywood in CPES then fiberglass or maybe just paint. If I don't go that route then the other option is to build a new one in the standard slat configuration but I would prefer to build it in something more responsible and more important cheaper then teak. My new step will be 3'x14' and the materials cost will ramp up really fast! What other woods would you recommend?


-- Edited by Daddyo on Friday 24th of February 2012 11:01:12 AM
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Old 02-24-2012, 09:48 AM   #2
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

I think I'm just going to use 1 inch exterior ply and glass over it after cutting similar slots as the slatted previous.

As long as all penetrations are properly sealed and you repair quickly after any damage...WAY cheaper and faster to build. If you get a decent glass finish and tape/paint/non-skid OK...no one will be the wiser.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:00 AM   #3
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
Daddyo wrote:
*What other woods would you recommend?
*We have a guy in our marina that has built Douglas Fir swim steps on his last three boats. They are very large as well. About 4' x 14'. I am not sure what chemical treatment he has done on them. He used 2x4s from the lumber yard. Not the most elegant look, but it works.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:05 AM   #4
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

I wonder if a guy could use some type of composite decking, ripped down and bolted together? The Trex I just used on my deck doesn't want to span very far, but maybe if you used a jig, drilled and shoved galvanized all-thread through the whole depth?
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:06 AM   #5
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

How about one slab of UHMW or starboard?

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Old 02-24-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

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skipperdude wrote:
How about one slab of UHMW or starboard?

SD
*starboard isn't structural enough..I was thinking those plastic deck boards but when I spanned my swim platform supports the sag was way too much

*
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:08 AM   #7
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
psneeld wrote:
I think I'm just going to use 1 inch exterior ply and glass over it after cutting similar slots as the slatted previous.
*Watch out with treated plywood. The fiberglass resin won't stick to it.

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Old 02-24-2012, 10:10 AM   #8
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
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*
starboard isn't structural enough..I was thinking those plastic deck boards but when I spanned my swim platform supports the sag was way too much

*How about adding a couple more supports underneath.

SD
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:18 AM   #9
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Definently no treated ply. Adding supports would cost more then using a beefier system. TREX isn't an opion for me as the spans are too great and for this reason Starboard wont work either.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:21 AM   #10
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

If I were going to use plywood, I would spring for marine plywood of half the desired thickness, since they come in four foot widths, then glue two layers together. Say two thicknesses of 1/2 inch for a total of 1". And I would not cut any slots in it, because you would increase the amount of ply edge, and make it very difficult and tedious to get all the edges sealed. I would also use marine ply due to the availability of fourteen foot lengths without any homemade scarf joint in the middle of the step. Just my thoughts. I'll expect the standard 2 cent fee for my advice. *
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:48 AM   #11
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
Daddyo wrote:What other woods would you recommend?
******** About 600 years of selecting good wood for the exterior of a boat says

TEAK.
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Old 02-24-2012, 10:51 AM   #12
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Have you considered Ipe, also known as Pau Lope? It is a tropical hardwood from South America used most often here for decking. It weathers to a nice gray/silver like untreated teak. Our 2005 deck looks great. I also used it as a backer to mount the fishfinder on the Mako.

Rob

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*
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Old 02-24-2012, 11:21 AM   #13
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Alternative Swim Platform Mterials

You might want to price out Teak from East Teak

http://www.eastteak.com/

I had to replce a section of rub rail and they were about 1/2 the price of the specialty wood stores around here.




-- Edited by Max Simmons on Friday 24th of February 2012 12:21:43 PM
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:37 PM   #14
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Here's what we did and it's holding up ectremely well, http://trawler-beach-house.blogspot....-platform.html . Hope it helps. Chuck
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Old 02-24-2012, 12:48 PM   #15
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

One of the nicest swim steps I have seen used stainless tubing running side to side about 4-6" apart and starboard slats running fore and aft. With no significant span, the starboard was plenty strong. No wood -- a good thing!.

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Old 02-24-2012, 02:06 PM   #16
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

I always thought if I find myself in this position I'd seriously consider 3/4" aluminum plate cut to shape(slots and all) and have it epoxy powder coated the color of your choice. Wouldn't be a budget saver but the maintenance should be severely curtailed...
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Old 02-24-2012, 02:53 PM   #17
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
dvd wrote:
One of the nicest swim steps I have seen used stainless tubing running side to side about 4-6" apart and starboard slats running fore and aft. With no significant span, the starboard was plenty strong. No wood -- a good thing!.

dvd
Would love to see a pic of that as we will need to replace our starboard platform not too many seasons hence.

Will also look at Ipe.

But if we can afford it, then teak.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:25 PM   #18
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

If you are going to use two layers,( I'd recommend 3/4") there is no need to use the 14 foot marine ply because you could stagger the joints. I built one for our 38' tolly that way and it worked out very well. I used epoxy resin for the glass work, rather than polyester and used a layer of tape on the edges for extra strength before glassing the whole thing. I had planned a stainless edge band but never got around to it.
I like to use the fine grit for my non-skid and use a salt shaker to shake it into wet paint. Much easier to get a uniform consistency that way and you don't have to guess how much to mix up! Then a quick vacuum to pick up the loose sand and a couple more coats of paint. I always tape off "waterways" too of course.
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Old 02-24-2012, 03:32 PM   #19
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Quote:
Boathommy wrote:
If you are going to use two layers,( I'd recommend 3/4") there is no need to use the 14 foot marine ply because you could stagger the joints. I built one for our 38' tolly that way and it worked out very well. I used epoxy resin for the glass work, rather than polyester and used a layer of tape on the edges for extra strength before glassing the whole thing. I had planned a stainless edge band but never got around to it.
I like to use the fine grit for my non-skid and use a salt shaker to shake it into wet paint. Much easier to get a uniform consistency that way and you don't have to guess how much to mix up! Then a quick vacuum to pick up the loose sand and a couple more coats of paint. I always tape off "waterways" too of course.
*I think that's what I'm going to do if I can find some decent exterior 3/4...you did say you used 2 layers 3/4...right?

*
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Old 02-24-2012, 06:16 PM   #20
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re: Alternative Swim Platform Materials

Would love to see a pic of that...

Unfortunately I don't have a picture of it. It's on a friend's Nordhavn and he is currently cruising the Caribbean then taking off to the Med -- I probably won't see it for a while.

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