New toe rails for Hesperus

In between the rain showers these past few weeks (it actually seems more like months now!) I’ve been steadily making progress with finishing the new mahogany toe rails on Hesperus’ decks. This is to firstly cover the edge of the glass and epoxy sheathing I covered the deck with, to stop it peeling up! Secondly, and how it gets it’s name, is to stop you walking straight off the edge into the sea..!!! And lastly, it looks quite nice.

The rails themselves were put on back in the summer, they were just bendy enough to fit without steaming and were glued and screwed in position. However there are quite a lot of deck fittings around the edge of the boat, the pullpit, cleats, fairleads… and the rails aren’t wide enough for these, so additional blocks are needed

So here are some photos showing progress as it happened…. The first thing was to cut and shape the blocks to size to neatly fit against the curve of the rail…

planing blocks blocks ready to fit








They could then be fitted, sometimes with a little clampage….

foredeck pads being fittedpullpit block fitted


















The blocks and pads are glued down with epoxy resin and screwed, the holes are counterboard so the screws sit about 5mm below the surface, then mahogany plugs cut from off-cuts for a perfect colour match are glued over the screws…

lower cleat block being fittedforedeck fitted









Once the glue dries the plugs are planed flush and virtually disappear, and all of the edges are radiused with a router and sanded smooth ready to be varnished. Mahogany takes on an almost suede like appearance and texture when it’s freshly sanded, if only it stayed that way…..

foredeck unsandedside deck sanded


















You can’t call yourself a boatbuilder unless your joints are perfect, and I’m fairly proud of mine. I used scarf joints for the rails themselves, it’s basically a diagonal butt joint and very tricky to get right, but if you take your time…. And once you’re happy, the varnish can go on…..!

foredeck sandedforedeck sanded close-up









scarf sanded

finished scarf









lower cleat block finishedfore and side decks finished









So it’s looking really good, it still needs a further 4 or 5 coats of varnish to be sea proof, and there’s still the afterdeck rails to finish, and then it’s onto the hull for a little winter project…..!

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