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  • Steel Boatbuilding

    Has anyone here ever done any boatbilding? Id like to try my hand at it. somthing small maybee 16-18 foot and trailerable. and if that goes well maybee a larger boat for coastal cruising. Has anyone been involved in such things? Im interested in knowing if there are any specialty skills needed. I am a pretty good stick welder and I am also very good at MIG and flux core.

  • #2
    I have and I constanly repair boats daily mostly they are all aluminum on the hulls I work on. I do repair some steel hulls tho.
    You could do it.
    Shape (design) and warpage control would be your biggest obstacles on prototypes. Steel would be heavy also and by the time you used thin enuff material to keep the weight down it would be weak. Prolly why you don't see small steel boats much untill thicker materials are not so much a factor.
    Painting the backsides of everything could prove impossible after welding so rust would catch up to you quickly. Not saying you could not do it just saying there is more than enuff reasons NOT to use steel in a trailerable boat.
    Aluminum makes much more sense...IMO

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    • #3
      I don't see why it wouldn't be posible if you had the funds and time. There are a lot of designs out there for plywood boats. I would think that the rib and shell system wood work ok if you translated it to metal. Its the basic idea behind larger vessals.

      I've done wood and fiberglass boats. The only steel was on a barge. ie floating steel box.

      If you have the funds, SS would be top notch. Also alum, but my alum skills would need to be a lot better.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DSW View Post
        I don't see why it wouldn't be posible if you had the funds and time. There are a lot of designs out there for plywood boats. I would think that the rib and shell system wood work ok if you translated it to metal. Its the basic idea behind larger vessals.

        I've done wood and fiberglass boats. The only steel was on a barge. ie floating steel box.

        If you have the funds, SS would be top notch. Also alum, but my alum skills would need to be a lot better.
        "and trailerable"
        Ed Conley
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        • #5
          Hey, we can trailer our 80k Cat 988 rubbertired loader! You just need a bigger truck and trailer! I have seen some BIG boats on lowboy trailers. The guy I used to work for had his 40' topaz moved on a trailer. Yes it was a permit / wideload and we had to take down the tower.

          I was thinking more on the lines of costal craft as opposed to a john boat.

          For a small boat I could see a Alum frame and thin alum attached with water tight poprivits. Basically the same as a john boat. I could however see the same thing done in SS done at 4x+ the weight.

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          • #6
            I ride in a steel boat all the time over in a park in Pa and i always wonder why someone couldn't build one. But i don't have enough time or big enough shop...Bob
            Bob Wright

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            • #7
              Had one built for me in London and live on it now in France. Built for the rivers and canals of Europe. The hull came from old plans of traditional Dutch working boats, but the superstructure is my design.

              Photos of the build are located here - http://community.webshots.com/user/dewebb1

              Steel boats / ships are all over the inland waterways of Europe (thousands of them) due to the beating they take traveling through locks, etc. Mine has a substantial "D-Bar" rub rail that takes most of the beating and I am always repainting it. Some locks are only 5.10 meters in width and my ship is 4.85 - not much clearance on the sides.

              I have a friend who is building one, essentially like mine (24 meters) single handedly. His is a work of art and, I hate to say, will be the most beautiful boat of its type in all of Europe when it is done - right now, mine is, IMHO! He has been at it for three years and has all the steel work completed and is now outfitting the interior.

              His main arsenal of tools are a stick welder, plasma cutter and a grinder - not to mention a heavy duty, but ancient, crane to move the steel plate. It is being build on a set of rails which will take it a couple of hundred yards to the side of the canal where two very heavy duty cranes will lift it into the water.

              Quite a project, but one that shows what one man and a lot of determination can do.
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              Capn' Dave
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              • #8
                How does your barge handle on open water???? I have been doing alot of internet reading and reserch on Dutch barges. I have been unable to find any American builders that offer a boat of this style. I am so pleased to have your reply due to my fondness of the Dutch barge. I would like to build or have the hull built and fit out myself a 55 to 60 foot by 13 or 14 foot beam barge to cruise the Great lakes, the Erie barge canal in New York and the Intracostal waterway.

                hope to hear from you again

                Frank aka Weekend Welder

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                • #9
                  row row row your....because gas is too dam expensive..

                  Im working on a 16 ft welded aluminum now. prgress is slow as life is getting in the way and the fact that i have to make a living so that i can work on the boat, but somewhere in the anals of this forum, I posted some pics of what im working on.. you could dig that up...
                  Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

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                  • #10
                    It can be done. I built a 48 ft. replica of a Chris Craft years back. The only thing that yu need to do is throw the square overboard. Everything on a boat is built on a curve. You can do that with a piece of wood 1" square and about 10 ft long. I also built a custm 40 ft. twin hull a few years back. Although I wouldn't want to buy the fuel for either one of them today. They both went with gas engines instead of diesels.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by weekend welder View Post
                      How does your barge handle on open water???? I have been doing alot of internet reading and research on Dutch barges. I have been unable to find any American builders that offer a boat of this style. I am so pleased to have your reply due to my fondness of the Dutch barge. I would like to build or have the hull built and fit out myself a 55 to 60 foot by 13 or 14 foot beam barge to cruise the Great lakes, the Erie barge canal in New York and the Intracostal waterway.

                      hope to hear from you again

                      Frank aka Weekend Welder
                      Frank,

                      The Shenandoah was built to withstand 4 meter seas and Force 8 winds, so she is theoretically a coastal vessel too. I brought her out the Thames Estuary and across the English Channel, east up the coast of France to Nieupoort, Belgium, where I entered the inland waterways.

                      I would not do it again.

                      There is no longitudinal stability in a flat-bottomed boat with no keel. She is built that way because draft (or lack of draft) is very important. If a keel were designed into her hull, she would handle quite differently in a sea. As it is, on canals she has a tendency to "skid" around tight turns. I know about it and deal with it and it isn't a problem.

                      As for American boatbuilders, there probably are many who would tackle the job. All you would need would be the plans, the rest a good weldor / welder could accomplish.
                      sigpic
                      Capn' Dave
                      Plying the canals and rivers of France. Plunder, wenches, good wine...!

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                      • #12
                        Old thread I realize, but I thought I would post some links to plans or kits for Dutch-style barges or somewhat similar designs:

                        http://www.euroship.hu/index.php?pag...hu&language=en
                        http://www.dutch-barges.net/
                        http://www.selway-fisher.com/Mcover30.htm

                        Also, although not listed on his website, in some email correspondence with Bruce Roberts he said that they could also supply plans or kits for a Dutch-style barge. He emailed me a little bit of material on a nice looking design titled "Johanna 1350". Here is his website.

                        http://www.bruceroberts.com/

                        Bruce Roberts says that his boat designs to conform to RCD B classification, which means that they are suitable for offshore conditions with waves up to 4 meters and Beaufort force up to 8. (http://www.hpi-uk.com/inspection/rcd...directive.html)

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                        • #13
                          boat

                          I built a 26' aluminum boat for fishing off the coast of Vancouver Island. Took me 2 years of evening and weekends to complete it. Was a lot of hard work but fun. Now I have a boat that will last my lifetime and most of my kids.
                          I tried to up load a pic but for some reason it would not upload.

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                          • #14
                            Boat Building

                            Yes, welding the hull is very feasible. In boating, just like racing, weight is paramount so go aluminum if you can. You can even weld the aluminum with your MIG. Just use straight Argon as the shielding gas. It takes allot of practice though to lay down a pretty bead.

                            To keep the weight down even further use thinner gauge material and add some ribs. Another thing to consider is that most boats built today still float when you fill them up with water. To achieve this quality add a secondary layer of aluminum/wood/plastic on the inside of the hull filled with foam.

                            Happy boating!!!
                            Scott
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                            • #15
                              Build one for fun, but there are much better ways to get a boat in this economy. Repos and desperation sales abound.

                              Here's the best forum I've found. I don't boat, but had some particular questions they answered. Great place, lots of info:

                              http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/boat-building/

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