Attaching Steps

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Oct 6, 2007
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Vessel Make
1983 42' Present Sundeck
Hello All,
I removed my 3 treak steps this weekend leading to the flybridge to clean and rebed. One will be replaced. I want to move the mounting holes furter back on the two reused steps and need to drill new holes for these along with a support I am adding to the replaced step. Questions:

*What type of bit should I use- Marin mentioned a Forsner bit on a recent*post but I have not located a 3/8 one locally yet.
*Should these steps be bedded in Dolfinite? Something else?
*Is there any benifit to using brass screws? The original hardware was brass but repairs through the years on the steps were done with SS.
A Forstner bit is for drilling a hole with a flat bottom. It's not the right bit to use to drill a hole that will also accomodate a countersunk mounting screw. That takes a different kind of bit. I don't know the name of it, but it's generally black, has a countesink, a cylindrical cut section, and a drill bit coming through the middle of it that can be adjusted for length with an Allen screw. You set he drill bit length to match the length of the screw, and then drill everything at once---the hole for the screw, the countersink for hte screw head, and the cylindrical hole on top of it for the plug. A Forstner bit is only for drilling a hole to accomodate a plug--- it will not drill and countersink for a screw under the plug.

Because the steps are going to be taking a lot of weight I would not use Dolfinite. It has zero adhesive properties.* I'd use 4200 or Sikaflex, or--- depending on how much use and weight the steps will have to take and how well they are mechanically fastened the cabin, even 5200.

I would stick with stainless screws for this application.

-- Edited by Marin on Monday 11th of October 2010 06:00:28 PM
Fuller bits:

However, I have yet to find the proper tapered shank wood screws in SS that should be used with these bits. Anyone know of a source? Bronze ones can be found with a bit of hunting. Don't use brass.

-- Edited by dwhatty on Monday 11th of October 2010 06:27:53 PM
** Mr. Forklift.* Are these steps mounted on a SS bracket of some sort or do they mount on a flat FG section?* I agree with Mr. dwhatty, don't use brass.* SS are readily available and are "tougher than brass.
** One CAN use a forstner bit if one uses round head screws but the teak has to be thick enough to allow for the extra height of the round head and still allow use of a thick enough plug.* Use the forstner to drill a deep enough hole for the round screw head and a goodly depth'ed plug then drill the rest of the way with the right sized (for the screw)*clearance *bit although Mr. Marin's suggestion is* easier and more elegant.
* I'm a big fan of Dolphinite and if the mechanical fastening really holds the step well, I wouldn't use an adhesive.* You MAY want to remove them again at some time.
** Just my $.02

-- Edited by RT Firefly on Monday 11th of October 2010 06:46:13 PM

-- Edited by RT Firefly on Monday 11th of October 2010 06:48:25 PM
The tool I use to drill, countersink, and bore the cylinder for the plug is one I buy at Home Depot. The deck planks, window frames, etc. on our boat are all fastened with stainless wood screws, #8 in most cases. However..... in 1973 these screws had slightly larger diameter heads than the current equivelents do. Which is why I always re-use the same screws again. The drill/countersink/bore tool fits these screws perfectly and with their slightly larger head diamters, they grip the wood better.
Good info all, RT the steps are secured to FG and did not appear to have any sealant beneath except a dab where the original screws went through. My lower step- which had been replaced in the past- had cracked. It was also a bit thinner. I am going back with a true 1" board- the same as the original 2.
If the steps were not originally bedded then you probably don't need any other than some sort of sealant around where the mounting screws go through the fiberglass. I'd probably use Sikaflex for this.

-- Edited by Marin on Monday 11th of October 2010 08:47:46 PM
Steve, Home Depot has the forstner bits. I have one of those tapered drill bits with countersink if you want to borrow it.
** Mr. Forlift.* If you have access to the underneath of the steps, nuts and bolts may be an alternative to screws.*
Thanks for the offer Keith but we have moved the girl back to "Swamp People" country. I am goons go be Home Depot and pick up a tool from there. RT- I don't have any access to beneath- but the steps were very solid when removed. Sorry, gotta go and run my trot lines:).

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