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Replacing bench seats


WallyGator12000

Question

I have an older 14' lund and I am going to replace the bench seats, does anyone know where or what kind of wood I should use? Is there a stain or a resin or anything I should put on the new wood? And lastly, most of the benches have struts running from the side of the boat to the top of the bench, except for one is missing, can I just get rid of these or are the critical? Thanks for the help!

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On most boats with bench seats they are sructural members and if you remove them the sidewalls will be unsuported. While it is possable to remove the seats you will have to replace them with something strong enough to keep the structural integrity of the hull the same as what it was from the factory. this could be as simple as a plywood brace or as complex as welding new stringers across the floor and up the sidewalls. I am not a boat designer or an engineer so I would suggest that you avoid doing any structural modifications unless you are 100% confident that anything you do will not compromise your hull.

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It sounds like you are going to replace the wood on the top of the existing benches?

If that is what you are doing.. I dont think there is anything better for boats than redwood. If there are brackets screwed to the top of the existing seat, and riveted to the side of the boat.. you will have to pull out the screws(obviously) and if you cant get the existing wood out, drill out the rivets on the side. When you replace the wood you can put the bracket back on with small bolts, or get some marine rivets.

If you plan on removing any bench, the bench in front of the rear bench in most boats can be removed without structural issues. Do not remove the front tip bench, or the one behind, or the rear bench without major plans to add support to the boat that would either connect to both sides of the boat, or to the side and the floor.

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That's exactly what I am doing, thanks for the tips guys, is there anything I should use to treat the wood before I replace the benches with it, or to seal it?

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There has to be about a million products out there for sealing wood in wet elements. Thompsons water seal comes to mind.. wont be as shiny as the original, but it will seal it... I think they used varnish on the original.

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I could probably type a couple of pages of advice for you, but I'd probably forget something important. Instead, I'll send you to the archives for this forum. Do a search for bench seats or any other related subject and you'll find a whole wealth of information that will help you out.

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Spar varnish is usually the best choice if you want to retain the natural look of the wood.

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I've used MDF, painting the edges and applying Formica to the tops. They'll probably last forever.

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I just replaced my Lund seats with the Trex synthetic decking material. It cuts like wood but is made of a plastic - wood matrix. The stuff is indestructable and holds screws like plywood. It is probably 50% heavier than plywood though. Here's the trick: you can only find the 12" width material if you order the facia board, not the actual decking boards. It never needs sealing, sanding or finishing. It should last longer than the boat. The only downside I can see is your color choices are very limited.

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I don't know about Thompsons water seal, when it gets warm out you can feel a tackyness on your feet.

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