Zip Ties vs Copper Wire for joining hull panels

  • I'm about to start putting together my Oxford Wherry from a kit.  I notice that copper wire is supplies for the initial joining of the hull panels.  For the last boat I built, I used Zip Ties/ Zap Straps to join the hull panels together with good success.  Is there any advantage to using copper wire?  I imagine it will take a little longer to secure each one (and there are a lot to secure!). 

  • Zip ties and copper wire both work well for joining hull panels, and they each have their pros and cons.  Zip ties are slightly faster to secure, and they can potentially be re-used.  The main advantage of copper wire is much smaller holes can be drilled - 1/16", which look better and are easier to fill.  Additionally, copper wire (once you have the technique dialled) can be cinched tighter.  This isn't necessary for most boats, but hulls that have slightly tortured panels going into place sometimes need a bit of extra force.

  • The manual suggests using 1mm dia (18 gauge for those still not using metric) copper wire for the ties.  I found that fine for nearly all the ties, but it is very useful to have a small reel of 1.25mm dia (16 gauge) for the really awkward shapes.  It allows much more force to be applied before breaking and is a great help in persuading the reluctant panels at the bow and stern to conform.

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