Best material to line edges of plywood boards?

I’m making a wooden floor for my Sevylor inflatable boat. They used to make one that you could just buy, but they discontinued it, so I guess I just have to do it myself.

Here you can see some of the basic work completed and laid out, for an idea of what it will be like.

Anyway, the floor will consist of four pieces of plywood joined by canvas straps.

Here is a simple diagram I made of what I am trying to do. The dark green strips are the canvas straps I will use to link the boards. (The ones in the middle will actually go on the opposite side so the whole thing can be folded up easily.)

Now, the lighter green border all around the edges, is what I am wanting advice on. That represents some type of material that I want to put all the way around the edges, mostly to protect them but also because it will look nicer. I want to use some kind of rubber stripping, fold it all the way around the edges of the boards, then glue it or staple it down.

What material should be used for this? Or maybe I should mask off the edges and spray some kind of rubberized coating onto it?

What do you think?

Depending on the thickness of the plywood, you can get aluminum edging at Home Depot and the like. This is basically a u-shaped channel. You could get one long piece and wrap it around the entire perimeter of a section of the plywood. Some tricky work would be required with tin snips at the corners. You’d need a couple strategically placed screws or nails (rustproof) to secure the very ends.

However this type of edging is primarily to prevent wear and tear, and is not specifically for water-proofing, which I suspect is what you really want. Perhaps a layer of waterproofing epoxy could be laid down all around the edge of the plywood before attaching the edging.

If you do find rubber strips instead, then if you use staples to attach it they’re probably going to rust and run and not look good. Not to mention eventually popping up and maybe cutting bare feet. I know you can get stainless steel nails (very expensive) which won’t rust but I don’t know if they’re available in the length you might need here. Galvanized nails might work but stainless is even better.

I’d suggest T molding. The same stuff they use on the edges of some wooden folding tables and arcade game cabinets. You’ll need to use a router and molding bit to make the channel for it.

You can also get aluminum nails to tack the ends with so they don’t rust.

ETA: eBay is a good source because there’s a large market for people building cabinets for their arcade emulators.

Are you using marine plywood? Regular plywood is probably going to rot and/or delaminate pretty quickly if you use it as the deck in an inflatable.

I’ll second sealing the edges of the plywood with epoxy. After that you could use anything. There should be a variety of plastic moldings that can be just glued on, and further secured with a minimum number of fasteners. For use in a boat I would (without any experience doing this in a boat to back this up) glue and screw. Drill pilot holes, fill with epoxy, and then insert SS (or brass?) screws (while the epoxy is wet obviously). I don’t know if all the sealing is necessary if you use marine plywood. What grade of plywood are you using?

Don’t know the grade of the plywood. It’s half an inch thick. I am sealing all of it with several coats of polyurethane.

I’d go with a flexible rub rail.

This stuff from TACO looks perfect, but I haven’t found the actual part number for sale online (Hamilton Marine has something similar though.)

This flexible trim will also work.

Considering that you’re going to use canvas hinges, you could also edge the plywood with canvas taped that has been bedded into the epoxy or whatever you are using to seal the plywood. You might want to hit the edges with a router and a roundover bit if you go this route.

CheckWest Systemsand other related sites. You might find exactly what you’re looking for.

For anyone who is still interested, the floor is done, and this is what I did: I decided to just use the nylon strapping to line the edges. I bought 25 feet of woodland camouflage nylon strap from an Army surplus store. This was just the right width to fit all around the sides, cushioning them against the inflated walls of the boat and further protecting the sides from water.

Here is the finished floor. Here is a closer shot.

Here the floor is in place inside the boat. (The outer chamber is slightly deflated.)

Here are the hinges affixed.

Good work, looks like the project turned out pretty well.