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Phenolic Ply - Alternatives


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Hi Everybody,

 

I need to replace the decking in my semi trad, the existing phenolic ply has started to go spongy around the edges and the top layers are starting to degrade.

 

Decent (ie not Chinese) phenolic ply seems to cost about the same as a new boat for a piece 2 foot square.

 

Now I am sure that you clever people have come up with some smart ideas as to possible alternatives that cost slightly less but do as good a job.

 

Suggestions please???

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you must have great success in purchasing new boats.  18mm phenolic ply costs about the same as decent marine ply.  The edges should always be sealed with epoxy, and preferably provided with aluminium angle protection (screw fixed and bedded in epoxy).  It does no harm to provide an epoxy coating (2 coats) over the top (patterned) surface to serve as an initial barrier against wear and tear, to be renewed every 3 or 4 years.

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If you want an alternative that doesn't degrade then what about aluminium chequer plate, more expensive than resin coated ply but it's not going to wear out. 

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6 hours ago, Neil2 said:

If you want an alternative that doesn't degrade then what about aluminium chequer plate, more expensive than resin coated ply but it's not going to wear out. 

I was thinking about chequer plate...    Slippery when wet?  Noisy?  And it still needs marine ply or similar to fix to, so although the steel might live forever, the marine ply won't, so maybe not such a good idea...

On 28/05/2018 at 21:05, ianali said:

Chinese phenolic ply is manufactured to the same standards as the rest of the universe... 

Not according to the 'experts'...

 

"We have purchased phenolic ply from China which looks very good but the ply veneers are invariably a softwood/hardwood combi, eucalyptus or poplar, and the construction quality isn’t the same standard as European plys. We now buy Russian or Latvian phenolic ply with a birch core, the quality has proved much better."

 

I haven't got a clue, but I believe everything I read on the internet (apart from Wikipedia, obviously!)

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On 28/05/2018 at 21:01, Murflynn said:

you must have great success in purchasing new boats.  18mm phenolic ply costs about the same as decent marine ply.  The edges should always be sealed with epoxy, and preferably provided with aluminium angle protection (screw fixed and bedded in epoxy).  It does no harm to provide an epoxy coating (2 coats) over the top (patterned) surface to serve as an initial barrier against wear and tear, to be renewed every 3 or 4 years.

 

Good advice, thanks.  Question about the Aluminium angle - horizontal surface of the angle on top surface or underneath??  Also, does this not increase noise levels if you introduce metal to metal?

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horizontal on top - the decking will look like a number of aluminium framed panels.  I used something like 30x20 angle with the longer leg horizontal.  Noise - never an issue.  The angle is available with a chequer plate type pattern, commonly used for stair edging.

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11 hours ago, lockedout said:

I was thinking about chequer plate...    Slippery when wet?  Noisy?  And it still needs marine ply or similar to fix to, so although the steel might live forever, the marine ply won't, so maybe not such a good idea...

Not according to the 'experts'...

 

"We have purchased phenolic ply from China which looks very good but the ply veneers are invariably a softwood/hardwood combi, eucalyptus or poplar, and the construction quality isn’t the same standard as European plys. We now buy Russian or Latvian phenolic ply with a birch core, the quality has proved much better."

 

I haven't got a clue, but I believe everything I read on the internet (apart from Wikipedia, obviously!)

Of course it depends on the nature of your decking but I was visualising the typical rectangular hatch which could be covered by one or two panels, maybe hinged - your semi trad may not suit this.  As for slippery, well phenolic ply isn't exactly non slip in the wet don't ask me how I know..

 

Metal - steel or aluminium  - deck covers are actually likely to be better at sound insulation.

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I thought about using this stuff (EKOply plus 19) when I replaced my deckboards and I got some samples, but because the boards on my widebeam have a 4ft unsupported span on the large section, I realised that EKOply wouldn't have the same 3 point bending strength as phenolic wood ply.

 

http://www.slpw.co.uk/ecoply.php

 

For the deckboards of a NB it may work fine.

Edited by blackrose
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On 30/05/2018 at 10:18, blackrose said:

I thought about using this stuff (EKOply plus 19) when I replaced my deckboards and I got some samples, but because the boards on my widebeam have a 4ft unsupported span on the large section, I realised that EKOply wouldn't have the same 3 point bending strength as phenolic wood ply.

 

http://www.slpw.co.uk/ecoply.php

 

For the deckboards of a NB it may work fine.

I like the look of this stuff - and it is made from recycled things, so even better!

 

I will have a look at the strength figures, but it should span my engine 'ole ok.

 

Thanks for the link!

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3 hours ago, lockedout said:

I like the look of this stuff - and it is made from recycled things, so even better!

 

I will have a look at the strength figures, but it should span my engine 'ole ok.

 

Thanks for the link!

I wouldn't touch it with the proverbial barge pole. This material is essentially Polyethylene fused together to make a board. It will not have the strength to work as a deck board and more importantly will suffer excessive creep ( creep is a technical term used when looking at the deformation of plastics). Additionally, it will not contain any added UV stabiliser so very likely to degrade in a short number of years as a large proportion of the polyethylene used will not contain any. I wouldn't use HDPE in an application where strength is required and this material is even worse as it is not fully fused together...you can see that in the first few photos in the link. It's stress crack resistance (ESCR)..... another measure of long term performance of PE ....will be poor.

Stick to the tried and tested stuff.

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Posted earlier, but seem to have lost it:

 

The FAQs on that link say that the boards need to be supported every 350-400mm. I don't think many cruiser sterns have supports that close. I think that rather confirms Dr Bob's view that this stuff is not strong (or stiff) enough to replace ply.

  • Greenie 1
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8 hours ago, David Mack said:

Posted earlier, but seem to have lost it:

 

The FAQs on that link say that the boards need to be supported every 350-400mm. I don't think many cruiser sterns have supports that close. I think that rather confirms Dr Bob's view that this stuff is not strong (or stiff) enough to replace ply.

Yeah, I spent some time in the Tech Data last night and it looks like the stiffness isn't there.  Also, looking at the many use cases the site presents, very little of them are in any way structural.

 

The last thing I need is the Memsahib disappearing down the engine 'ole in a cloud of denatured plastic!  That would be the start of a very bad day.

 

Back to Phenolic Ply then...

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