Boatbuilding Blog

June 5, 2008

Tire Fender Planning

Filed under: Building - After Flipping, Building - Considerations — tomlarkin @ 11:09 am

I’ve been thinking a lot about tire fenders for the boat. I went to the local airfield this afternoon and looked at airplane tires, but they’re really small. They might look funny, and wouldn’t cover as much area as I’d like. I picked up the junked car tire below on the way home. It fits pretty well, but is maybe a little oversized. The coverage is nice – about 4 inches above waterline to just below the rub strake, and it’s deep enough to provide a lot of padding.  Maybe a trailer tire would be a better fit. I wonder where I’d find eight of those?  I had assumed I’d put three tires on a side, but now I’m thinking four, and maybe five on a side. If you’re going to have permanent fenders, you might as well go all the way!

Car tire

Pictures of small tugs with tire fenders are hard to find on the web. Here are two of the better ones.



This is a detail from a tugboat model. I really like the idea of hanging each tire from 2 lines. They’ll be a lot more stable that way, and still be individually removable. Hanging the tires through hawse pipes is really nice, as opposed to running the lines over the gunnels.  I used this picture as a starting point for the mockup below.



Mock-up of Fender Hanger 

This is a bronze through-hole, mounted just below the gunnel rub-strake. Each of the lines would go to one side of a tire.  Tarnished dark against the black hull, it should be pretty subtle, but clean.   This is the view from the outside of the boat.

outside - bronze through-hull

Inside, looking up to the gunnel. A mocked-up wooden cleat is held on by the through-hull nut. The lines come through the fitting and cleat on. The whole thing fits below the 2 1/4 deep overhang of the gunnel.

inside cleat   inside cleat with line

I do worry that the tire fenders will just be the final nail in the cuteness ratio of the boat. I don’t want people to say “Oh, how precious!” when they see me coming, but it might be unavoidable. At the same time, the tires are really practical. Never having to set or store fenders will be really nice. Beware to the white plastic boat that rafts up to us though!


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