Introduction: Repair the Cap Rail on a Sailboat

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Do you have a nice old sailboat with plenty of teak trim, say 1970s vintage, and there is the odd cosmetic repair that has been nagging you?

It may be a big deal to replace the "cap rail" that runs along the edge of the deck, but you might find that it's not such a big deal to replace a few useless rusty screws.

Step 1: Get Organized & Set Up

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You'll need the following:

Equipment:
cordless drill / driver (NOT an impact driver);
bits to match the screws and screw heads;
"vice grips" or equivalent;
C-clamp (4") or equivalent
paint scraper or pocket knife.

Supplies:
screws (#8 (or #6) stainless steel or brass ONLY) - length depends on where you will use them.

Step 2: Remove the Bad Guys!

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First you need to remove the rusty screws that are not doing their job and will be in the way when the new screws are used to hold the trim back in place.

This is where vice grips (or maybe needle nosed pliers) will help grab these bad boys and back them out the point they can be unscrewed.

Scrape dirt and old caulking from the space between the pieces of trim.

Step 3: Make a New Home for the Good Guys!

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Rather than using the old (and now empty) screw holes, you'll likely be happier drilling new holes for the new screws. Be sure to mark the bits with a bit of tape so that you do not drill too deep and come out the top of the upper piece of trim! It is tedious but it is worth it to drill first for the screw and then use the larger bit to drill just a little depression in order to counter sink the head of the screw.

Use the C-clamp (or perhaps vice grips GENTLY to avoid marking the soft teak trim) to hold the pieces of trim together while you drill and screw upward from the BOTTOM side.

Be careful and patient - it's easy to split the trim...Screw the new screws up from underneath

- careful not to drop them into the water!

Again, be careful and patient - it's easy to split the trim.

Congratulations - You're done - it looks better, and you've prevented the damage from getting worse!

Step 4: Send in the Good Guys!

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Screw the new screws up from underneath - careful not to drop them into the water!

Again, be careful and patient - it's easy to split the trim.

Congratulations - You're done - it looks better, and you've prevented the damage from getting worse!

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