View Full Version : Galvanized screws and nails

04-06-2005, 04:21 PM
I'm trying to make a decision on replacement fastenings for my partial re-planking and could use some other opinions. The boat is white cedar on oak, strip-planked, built in 1960. The planks are edge nailed with heavy galvanized nails and screwed with #12 galvanized screws. When I removed the old planks, about 90% of the screws backed right out, still sharp and un-rusted, and the nails the same. It was only in the places where plank had deteriorated that the fastenings showed any appreciable sign of decay. (The problem was that the first dozen or so strakes were put in with face grain showing rather than vertical grain facing out. Over time, they simply de-laminated and started moving. Above that point, they're almost perfect.)

Now that it's time to re-plank, I'm wondering if there is still such a thing as hot-dipped galvanized screws? I've googled til I'm green and can't find anything. Is there a source?

Assuming no galvanized, I'm thinking stainless steel for both nails and screws, on the premise that they are more similar to the old fastenings than silicon bronze.

Any thoughts? Is it a good idea to mix iron and stainless? BTW, I'm in fresh water, not salt.

- Norm
http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid163/p7bfddda662a7488ff9047574334b6702/f4a10c56.jpg http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid163/pd2454ee5de18d066cdf8315c5400e2e8/f4a10c4f.jpg http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid163/p8b68e535117b9e05c2b0dfbf39bbb7b4/f4a10c63.jpg

Bob Smalser
04-06-2005, 07:32 PM
I'd stick with galvanized:

1) It's already in the boat. No nobility problems.
2) Lasts a long time in cold climates.
3) Lasts a real long time in fresh water.
4) Lasts almost forever in cold, fresh water.

SS isn't generally used to fasten planking because is corrodes badly when buried.

Plenty of hardware suppliers carry hot-dipped galvanized. I use Tacoma Screw.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
04-06-2005, 07:45 PM
BTW, I'm in fresh water, not salt. Stainless works just fine in fresh water, and takes a very long time to corrode even if buried.You will find it easy to get them too. I find stainless power drives a little better.

The mix of iron and stainless isn't an issue in fresh... but don't go intercoastal sailing if you are going to mix fasteners.
good galvanized fasteners are a little harder to find in my neck of the woods.

Nice boat. ;)

[ 04-06-2005, 08:47 PM: Message edited by: Peter Malcolm Jardine ]

Bruce Hooke
04-06-2005, 08:00 PM
Unless you plan to keep the boat until it needs refastening again it might be worth keeping in mind that a potential buyer somewhere down the road might want to move it to salt water. I wouldn't rule out galvanized as a result, but I would be a bit more worried about stainless.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
04-06-2005, 08:03 PM
Good point Bruce.

Bruce Hooke
04-06-2005, 08:05 PM
Another US source of galvanized screws is Hamilton Marine (http://www.hamiltonmarine.com), but surely there most be some sources north of the border, maybe in the Maritimes.

04-06-2005, 08:37 PM
SS needs oxygen to maintain its corrosion resistance. It won't get that below the water line. galvanized screws will not rust until the zinc is gone. If the screws are payed then there will be small risk of corrosion in fresh water. when the vessel is sold if may be stated that is fastened with galvanized fasteners.

04-06-2005, 08:50 PM
Very informative post norm.- You mention the vertical grain facing out and the planks with flat grain facing out literally delaminating.
This is a point I have stated that if strip planking is square it is no problem twisting the piece till you have the vertical grain facing out.

You also tell us that the hot dipped galvanized is 45 years old and in great condition.

Around here hot dipped galvanized is readily available in most hardware stores. They are now selling electroplated galvanized which is not as good. It is easy to tell the difference by the roughness of the hot dipped.

Cullen T.M. McGough
04-06-2005, 08:54 PM
Hi Norm,

In my copious free time, (read: between coffee breaks) I've been restoring an old mcintosh sloop not unlike your boat. The original construction is a delightful melange of hot-dipped galvanized nails (from 1938) and stainless screws (from the early 80's).

Old Bill Coolidge came over to peer at my hack job and recognizing the value of true saltiness, I ventured to ask his opinion on galvanized nails vs. silicon bronze screws.

For the sake of more gentle readers, I'll leave out the profanity, but the long and short of it is, back when boats were wood and men were iron, hot galvanized meant HOT GALVANIZZZZZZZED. So galvanized, in fact, that the nails came in a solid brick and you had to beat the brick to pieces with whatever apprentices were handy.

Apparently, back then galvanization came in thick, unrelenting gobs of gal, like god's own shield against electrolysis. A man building with hot galvanized nails could hammer a ship together in a single day, and drift off to the oblivion of innocent sleep that night, knowing no fear of rust, rot or ruin.

But I digress.

To reiterate some others, mixed metals is trouble if this ship ever meets salt water. That said, if you can find really well-galvanized nails/screws, use that.

On my own rehab project, the bulk of the galvanized nails showed significant corrosion after 60+ years. The more recently added stainless screws were pristine, but most of them were above the waterline.

Good luck. And post more pictures! She's a beaut! Name? Design?


04-06-2005, 09:48 PM
As usual, the Forum comes through.

I agree with your collective opinion on keeping with the original fastening type. I only thought otherwise because I couldn't find the right stuff.

Around here, the only galv screws you can buy are not hot-dipped. They seem to be intended for making decks and patio loungers - skinny shanks, thin coating and threaded all the way to the head. Proper bolts and nails are no problem.

I looked at Hamilton Marine, but it doesn't say Hot-dipped. I'll call em and find out. Ditto Tacoma. I'll call tomorrow.

I intend to keep the boat for as long as I can walk, move and see, which God willing, will be a long time yet. Nevertheless, I'd prefer not to put anything in her that would compromise her longevity. She's called Fiddlers Green and was home built in Toronto, launched in 1960 after 6 years of building. I was present the day she was launched (I was 8) and I've been in love ever since. I bought her 23 years ago. She's a slight adaptation of a T Harrison Butler design called Englyn. There were apparently about 16 or 17 Englyns built and most are still sailing. The Fiddler is the youngest and the only one in North America and the only gaffer. Other than this little issue I have with the lower runs of plank, she's in trust-your-life-to-it shape. With the help of all you bona fide experts, I should be able to put her back together OK. Stand by for more questions! :D

- Norm

More pics posted at imagestation
Fiddlers Green Repairs (http://www.imagestation.com/album/index.html?id=2128733540)

Steve Hornsby
04-07-2005, 07:26 AM
Hi Norm,

Nice set of pictures. Picture 2 - Is that Bluffers Park Marina?

If it is - one of my favorite Toronto places.


04-07-2005, 07:54 AM
Originally posted by Steve Hornsby:
Picture 2 - Is that Bluffers Park Marina?

If it is - one of my favorite Toronto places.

/QB]You're right Steve. Bluffers Park has been my home port for 6 years. It takes 5 minutes to go from my slip to the open lake. Can't be beat. - Norm

04-07-2005, 09:24 AM
It is interesting how opinions come and go and change on this board as to fasteners.

A few years ago you where considered crazy if you used any fasteners other then silicon bronze.
Then you have all the posts about the quality of bronze, and most of it is imported from the far east with different grades and colors and resulting in very low quality. I still can't get over the guy about a year ago that was wanting to find a metal lab to test his 6 year old silicon bronze screws due to the fact that they are deteriorating.After only 6 years.

Then opinions come and go on stainless as to whether it is 303 or 316 or passive or non passive and where it is used and so forth and so on. Doesn't seem to be a solid conclusion here at all.

Now we are full circle and right back to square one, hot dipped galvanized. I have read a lot of posts stating that hot dipped galvanized looked almost like new after 35 to 50 years. It seems that the only time the hot dipped galvanized is corroding is when the wood surrounding it is rottening and needs replaced. And where the wood is fine the hot dipped galvanized is fine. I could live with that. Maybe hot dipped galvanized is a better fastener then it has been credited for, off and on due to the latest trend or thinking.

Bruce Hooke
04-07-2005, 09:31 AM
It is worth remembering two things:

1. Each boat is a little different so what makes sense in one situation may not make sense in another situation.

2. Who chooses to respond to a given question has a lot to do with the conclusions reached! :D

Bob Smalser
04-07-2005, 09:40 AM
Location. Location. Location.

Douglas Fir and galvanized steel last forever in Alaska.

The same combination would be unservicable within 5 years in The Sultanate of Oman.

04-07-2005, 03:46 PM
That' settles it. I'm cancelling my cruise to the Sultanate of Oman. :D

Peter Malcolm Jardine
04-07-2005, 08:27 PM
The same combination would be unservicable within 5 years in The Sultanate of Oman. How come? Temperature?

04-07-2005, 09:44 PM
I hear the Sultanate has poor preventive maintenance habits. smile.gif


Thanks for the "Douglas Fir and galvanized steel last forever in Alaska. " comment. It makes me feel much better.

Good thread.

Bob Smalser
04-07-2005, 11:32 PM
Originally posted by BrianW:
I hear the Sultanate has poor preventive maintenance habits. smile.gif
It's why they hired me. ;)

Mostly heat.

I use Oman as an example because I worked maintenance issues with the local Coast Guard, Army and National Guard for a few years and played with sailing dhows and fishing boats in my spare time. An unknown little slice of paradise except for July and August. The family would retire there tomorrow if the Sultan called with an invite.

Lovely place and people. Norway without the trees....except ya got that wood-eating Persian Gulf sun, sand and heat combined with the wild winds and waves of the Indian Ocean with no major stops til Antarctica.

Sun+heat+salt+wind+sand eats off the toughest protective coatings in weeks and turns even 316 SS deck hardware into porous bleeders eventually. 18-8 SS and galvanized downright disappear. Wrought iron worked fairly well in traditional teak dhows, with the surface rust providing some protection for a maybe a couple decades.

Traditional wood boats there are all thick, solid teak fastened with coir lashings for a good reason.

[ 04-08-2005, 12:46 AM: Message edited by: Bob Smalser ]