Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Black Pearl Project - Variation on the Maroske Tube Fittings

Perhaps one of the cleanest of deck fittings are ones often called the Maroske tube fittings. The idea is to have a short fibreglass tube under the deck through which the deck lines can run. There are a number of different ways of accomplishing this but I decided to try something that I've yet to see done.

I could compare my method with others but, instead, I am just going to describe what I did. 

I used windshield washer tubing. This tubing is pretty thick. The inside diameter was just the right thickness through which to fit a medium gauge wire. The thick walls combined with the wire prevent the tubing from collapsing upon itself when you bend it.  The wire has the added bonus of holding a tighter radius.

To prevent the epoxy from sticking to the tube, I wrapped it in teflon tape. The problem of having the tube stuck permanently is a very real possibility so I figured the teflon tape would be added insurance against this  happening.

Tubing, tape and wire.

Tubing wrapped in teflon tape and test fitted in a piece of masonite.

The first fittings I wanted to try were the ones for the paddle park on the front deck. This is simply two sets of fittings on either side of the bow. A good place to start.

Holes drilled in the deck and tubes fitted. View from underside of the deck.

The norm is to use fibreglass and epoxy to wrap the tube. I decided to simply use glass reinforced polyester resin - a la the automotive section of Canadian Tire. The stuff I bought has the long strand fibreglass - great for filling larger holes. When you take it out of the tin, it looks like a mat of hair and green goo!! This stuff dries very hard, very quick and waterproof. Who could ask for more? The only problem is that, unlike epoxy, this stuff really smells!! I would not want to spend too much time working on it without proper breathing equipment.

Bondo-Hair??? What an odd name - but certainly appropriate!!

You simply take a scoop of this stuff, add a bit of the cream hardener and mix it up. Unlike epoxy, there's no need for crucial measurements and it's hard to screw up!! Although too much hardener can result in a very quick setup time which also means a buildup of heat. Be careful!!

I worked the mixture in around the tubes and then built up a sufficient layer to cover the top and sides. I started working the mixture with a stick but it was adhering to the wood and making it hard to get a smooth finish. I figured that a piece of plastic wrap would allow me to better work the mixture and get a good shape. Worked like a charm. And of course, plastic wrap does not stick to either epoxy or polyester. 

Plastic wrap allowed me to shape the mixture and to ensure that it was worked in around the tubes .

 After about 15 minutes the Bondo-Hair was completely set up. I simply pulled the tubes out and voila - through-deck fittings!!

Fitting in the rough!!
With this testing complete, the remainder of the fittings should be pretty easy to complete!!

Thanks for dropping by,



  1. The beauty is not only are they one of the most unobtrusive of fittings, they're also probably the easiest to make. Can't complain about that! The hardest part is trying to determine what deck lines go where and how many holes I need to drill in the deck!!

  2. This is awesome! I've been wracking my brain on how to pull this off. No more thought necessary!!

  3. Robert: It was too freaking easy!! I did a total of 8 fittings tonight in about 2 hours or less. And they all worked out great. I now have all my deck fittings (besides the lines themselves) completed. By the way, not one tube even came close to getting stuck in the resin!! Bonus!!

  4. By far the cleanest looking deck fittings I've seen yet. I'm guessing its easy to fit the bungee through as well.
    Next week when you are finished that one, and bored with paddling it....wanna come finish mine??

  5. Robert: It's as easy a lacing up a pair of shoes!! 'nuff said!!

    Still a bit of work on mine so maybe not next week!! I'm off to do the hatch recesses this weekend - maybe start the cockpit coaming as well. Some nice "clean" work that does not require polyester resin!!