Friday, August 21, 2009

Bash Bars




The first time I heard "Bash Bars" was the last time I called steel round bars used to cover frames edges "steel round bars used to cover frame edges".

From what I know of the origin of this description is that it came from a guy I know in Australia who is building a steel sailboat. His name is Martin ( Idlerboat is his web name) and he is one of the founders of Metalboatbuilding.org . So from this time forward I use "bash bar" .

A bash bar is built by welding round stock to a frame edge to protect that frame edge. It is much easier to get paint to stick to a 1/2 round bar vs the ground edge of a frame. When that frame gets banged into and paint chips, the stainless steel round bar will be exposed and will not rust so touch up and repair will be a breeze without the unsightly rust stain in these high wear areas. All the frames on the exterior of the boat that will not be covered up and that are subject to getting banged get treated with this bash bar. I used 1/2" stainless for my bash bars. On the foredeck of the boat I bash protected the frames, the bulwark cap edge, freeing ports, the door frame and the toe kick areas of the door. On the Portuguese bridge I treated the frames only as the cap for the Portuguese bridge will be covered with teak. On the cockpit area or aft deck, I treated the frames, door, freeing ports, and left the bulwark cap untreated as this too will be covered with teak.

On the freeing ports and hawse holes I held the bash bar flush to the outside hull sheathing. This gives the hull a great finished look, and I also like the look on the inside of the hull too. While the bash bars are held proud on the inside of the hull sheathing, it gives the hull a more finished look albeit a utilitarian look, and I like the utilitarian look for a steel hull. I've used some effort to fair the hull and hide the welds. I don't know if this was a mistake or not as I think a good looking weld is something that does not need to be covered up. A lot of people will tell you not to fair the hull and let the welds stand proud, and with the money saved both in fairing and repairing dings, I can't say I don't dissagree with the no fairing method. Almost all commercial boats use no fairing, and I love the look of a commerical boat.

Conall

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