Boat Building – A Guide To Help You Choose The Right Fastener Material

Boatbuilding is a laborious task and fastening requires a lot of work. There are so many choices available when it comes to buying fasteners in terms of style, shape, size, and materials used. All this can get very confusing for a person who is new in the boat-building arena.

Quality always comes first when it comes to the choice of a fastener as you do not want the system to fail in the middle of a sail, which could result in a catastrophic event. Although stainless steel looks quite appealing to the eye, most experienced yacht builders often avoid using it as it can break drastically if overloaded.

You can look for silicone bronze screws instead. At Fair Wind Fasteners, these screws are available in all sizes and shape that could fit easily into pre-drilled holes and provide a strong corrosion-resistant component to your yacht that will not break easily even when overloaded. The company is based in Rhode Island and provides worldwide shipping of their high-quality bronze screws.

Common fastener materials

  1. Stainless steel:
  • Chromium and low carbon steel are combined to make the alloy called stainless steel.
  • It is the most easily available fastener at much cheaper prices than bronze.
  • It has high strength and is also very corrosion resistant but needs constant exposure to the atmosphere to maintain its oxide layer.
  • If you are to use them for fittings of parts that will remain above the water, stainless steel can provide good strength and aesthetics.

 2. Bronze or Silicone Bronze:

  • It is an alloy of tin and copper with a small amount of silicone added to it.
  • It does not need atmospheric exposure to maintain its corrosion-resistant properties.
  • Hence, it works perfectly for parts of the boat that are constantly underwater.
  • It has strength similar to stainless steel, but is not as stiff and thus, does not crack under pressure rather it gets stretched, unlike stainless steel.
  • Bronze fasteners are the most expensive and resemble copper in terms of aesthetics.

 3. Brass:

  • It is a zinc-copper alloy and has good corrosion-resistant properties.
  • It is also electrically conductive but lacks strength and is quite soft to be used as a fastener material by choice.
  • Brass screws are only used in the interior fittings of a boat and never for the functional parts that get submerged in the water.

 4. Galvanized Iron:

  • These iron fasteners are subjected to heat in the oven for about 3-6 days to make them stronger and reduce their brittleness.
  • The process of galvanization also makes them corrosion-resistant for many years.
  • These are mainly used for fittings in a leisure craft.

 5. Chrome Plate:

  • Brass fasteners are coated with a chrome-plated finish to enhance their functional ability.

Although stainless steel is cheaper and easy to maintain, it cannot be used under the waterline and you need to be very careful while loading your boat. Bronze on the other hand provides quality over aesthetics as they can look very dull if not taken care of which is another laborious process. However, safety and quality must be given top priority while choosing the material for boat fasteners.

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