I'm in the process of restoring my 1962 Alberg 35 (I know she's fiberglass, try not to pick on me too much) and I'm really close to the point of building a new caprail and have several questions that are keeping me from making a final decision. I hope someone can steer me in the right direction.
1. Wood choice - The original caprail was some form of mahogany, but it's too old and beat up for me to properly determine. I'd like to go with mahogany again (Genuine), but the current price has given me sticker shock. A possible alternative is Sapele (roughly half of geniune), but it seems to have a more figured grain (good for look, but maybe bad for bending). There may be others and honestly, my head starts to spin when I start to research all the 'mahogany-like' woods out there that masquerade under different names. I love the warm reddish tones of mahogany and would like to duplicate that as best as possible. Thoughts/suggestions appreciated.
2. Implementation - The caprail is about 3.25" wide along most of it's length.
3 possibilities that I see here:
a. Sawn to the curve (I don't know the technical term) - The original caprail was cut to the curve (sawn from planks) using 3 - 12ish foot pieces. While that seems like the easy choice, to me it seems like there is a ton of expensive waste that will leave me with a pile of scrap for making toys and I'd like to avoid that. Also, I'm not fond of the look of a sawn caprail (hard to explain, but to me, the grain runout distracts from the curve of the hull).
b. Bend the whole thing on - I have a friend with a NY32 that used a single piece (scarfed along length) of about the same width (~3") for the entire caprail. It looks fantastic. I love the way the grain follows the curve of the hull, it's just lovely. Ideally, this is what I'd like to do, but I've heard horror stories of some who have tried the same approach only to make very, very expensive kindling for their wood stove. Is this possible given the curve of the alberg 35 (lines here)? I've heard that mahogany (or sapele) doesn't steam well.
c. Laminating 2, 3, or 4 strips either in place on the rail or on a form. I tested this out with 3 strips of scrap over the winter and had decent results, but I should have left it on the form until the epoxy had fully cured because it eventually straightened itself out. This would cut down on costs considerably but would be a lot more work. Is this viable?
Thanks in advance for any replies,