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UHMW vs HDPE

Troubleshooting, repair, and how-to's related to marine systems.

UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Jamill45 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:43 am

Hello-

I am looking to replace the outside cap rails and trim on my boat. I have been looking into UHMW and HDPE but can't completely decide which direction to go. Can I get some help with the pros and cons to both? Is one easier to install than the other? Will one stand up to the elements better than the other?

Thanks in advance!

Jake
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby carojae » Sun Mar 22, 2015 10:43 am

While I have no experience with hdpe, I have used uhmw for guard rails and found it to be easy to use. I used 1 1/4" x 5.5" boards and had no trouble bending it around the sharp bends of the stern.
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Jamill45 » Sun Mar 22, 2015 9:37 pm

When bending it was heat needed? Did you use any type of glue along with screwing down to the boat?
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Housephone » Wed Mar 25, 2015 3:29 am

I intalled uhmw upper & lower guards 6 years ago. Very happy with them. I've bedded mine w Irish felt on my wood boat. No glue or caulk. No heat was used. You can drill, plane, router & shape just like wood. Very easy to work with. I've no experience w HDPE.
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Robot » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:09 pm

My understanding of UHMW vs. HDPE (correct me if I'm wrong)

UHMW is more of an engineered product. A lot denser and more resistant to photo degradation. (All plastic degrades when exposed to the sun) It would definitely be a better product in a 'high wear' situation (rub rails, anchor guards, etc.)

HDPE, as far as I know, is basically melted down and shaped milk bottles (or something similar). You'll see a lot of this kind of product in the 'trex deck' systems (plastic wood decking with wood fibers and the like). It is a great, low cost, efficient use of recycled plastic, but it definitely has some impurities.

The benefit of both of these products, however, is that they do not rot! Although, be weary of bolting it bare against a wooden hull. It doesn't breath and may trap moisture in unwanted areas. ( I wonder if dolphinite would be a good bedding compound?)

In my experience/opinion, UHMW has always been the better product. A little more expensive but worth it in the long run.

I hope that helps.

Rob
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Breadline » Thu Mar 26, 2015 3:33 pm

Uhmw, which is a higher density version of HDPE, will be heavier, harder, stronger, more abrasion resistant, and slicker. Neither let adhedives bond to them very well, though a breif flame treatment preceeding a good roughing up will let 5200 almost prentend like it's going to stick.
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Dave Koester » Thu Mar 26, 2015 8:09 pm

Good info...thx...I need to rebuild that door rail on our boat and was thinking one of these would be a good material ....the door would glide open and shut easy with no swelling etc...

Question: Where can I source this in Bellingham?

Thx!
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Robot » Sat Mar 28, 2015 6:40 pm

Fisheries Supply might be a good start. They have a lot of a product called 'starboard'

http://www.fisheriessupply.com/resins-a ... -materials

If that's helps at all.

Rob.
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Re: UHMW vs HDPE

Postby Jamill45 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:24 am

There are a number of plastics companies on the west coast that stock UHMW in different colors and makes. Calsak plastics and laird plastics are who I have been in contact with.
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