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Old 21-12-2015, 10:38   #1
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Bumps on a steel keel

Hi,
I am new guy here. So welcome everyone. I have been saving for two years and next year I am planning to buy a cruising boat.

Out of many options I also have a possibility to buy almost ready hull (along with engine, rigging, equipment and even wood for interior) - 40foot long. I investigated the hull and it looks very professionally welded (it was welded in a steel mill) and then it was sold to a private owner. The task of a private owner was to fill out fin keel of that boat with 3 tones of lead and he did... however something went wrong (lead was too hot perhaps) and after pouring that 3 tones of liquid lead inside the fin keel it affected plates that form that keel and they changed their shape on sites. Basically there are small and medium bumps on that keel now. In your opinion how serious can be that issue? Is it something that in a future will compromise safety and/or performance? Can it be fixed without replacing that keel?

Looking forward to some help here.

Piotr
Sorry I could not provide you with pictures :/
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Old 21-12-2015, 10:51   #2
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Piotr.
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Old 21-12-2015, 12:05   #3
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Welcome Aboard, Piotr,

There are some really savvy boat people here on CF. Sorry, I'm not in that league. However, when you can post a PM, you might try <minaret> or <Maine Sail>.... You really need someone with enough engineering background to tell you whether the steel is okay, or weakened by the heat and stretching of the metal. Interesting problem you have, sir.

Sometime when it's convenient, you might add your approximate location to your avatar, because knowing where you are helps the posters tailor their advice to you.

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Old 21-12-2015, 13:41   #4
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

The keel is one of the crucial parts of the boat and so you do not want any trouble in this area.

Since the only way to inspect what went wrong may seem cutting the keel open (?), I would simply pass by this one and look for an identical hull that has not been botched by someone.

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Old 21-12-2015, 13:50   #5
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Steel often "oil cans" from heat . maybe the lead was poured to much at a time and the mass effected the plating. (if that's what you mean by bumps) I wouldn't view it as a major problem on a steel hull, but it is a bit unsightly.
Usually a "mill" makes steel plate. They don't weld it into products.
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Old 21-12-2015, 14:01   #6
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

So for one low-low price you get a half-completed boat.

And oh, the keel doesn't look quite right.


RUN!!!!
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Old 21-12-2015, 14:20   #7
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Hi Chris,
the price is not that cheap actually and the hull has a proven origin (it was acquired by a a one of sailing association before it got to the private owner and all works were supervised by a ship state agency). It is just that that action of pouring liquid lead caused folds.
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Old 21-12-2015, 15:21   #8
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Hello and Welcome Aboard CF Piotr!

I am no expert on metal boats, but I have a few suggestions:

1. Post a set of photos of the problem area here in this thread. Instructions for posting photos here on CF can be found in the FAQ here or in a very good short video on YouTube. The title of that video is something like "posting photos on cruisers forum."

Without seeing the surface, it is hard to form an opinion on whether the keel is serious or merely cosmetic.


To show an uneven surface well in a photo, place a straight edge against the keel to show the surface contrast. Use light from an angle to the surface if possible.

2. Given that the current owner is not finishing the project, nor did the original owner, the perceived cost of fixing a possible flaw may be a big warning to pass on this boat.
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Old 21-12-2015, 16:22   #9
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

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Originally Posted by plpioko View Post
Hi Chris,
the price is not that cheap actually and the hull has a proven origin (it was acquired by a a one of sailing association before it got to the private owner and all works were supervised by a ship state agency). It is just that that action of pouring liquid lead caused folds.
Oh it's not even cheap?

Thats even better.

Its your money - if you wanna spend big bucks on an unfinished boat with a weird lumpy keel that was poured by an amateur, hey, go nuts.

I've bought a lot of project boats in the past, and it is very, very easy to gloss over all the hard work involved. You're telling yourself "Oh I can do that, I can do that, that's no problem. I've thought this through, I know how hard the work is, and I *want* to do it." You can make a real convincing argument that you've thought it through.

But then you find yourself, years later, sitting in that bilge, completing some repetitive, annoying, BORING task, and think, man, I wish I was out sailing.

Perhaps if you shared what makes this hull so redeeming in your eyes.
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Old 21-12-2015, 17:34   #10
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Ever seen a blacksmith heat up a piece of steel and bang it on an anvil? Like in the movies or something?

As long as you don't take it over a white hot heat and burn the carbon out of it, you can do that over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again without affecting the mechanical properties.

It's metal fer crisakes. Not a magical mystery material meant to be afraid of.

The keel might have oil canned and it might be a little lumpy but I wouldn't worry about it falling off just because it wasn't pretty looking as long as it was designed and built correctly.

Lead melts at about 620F steel melts around 2750F. Do the math.

I hate it when the panic police shoot their mouths off about things they know nothing about. There is a reason they make fairing compound.



Looks white hot in the video but it's not, more like a yellow white to white. When it's hot enough to burn the carbon out of it you call it sweaty, because you can see the carbon burning out of it.
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Old 21-12-2015, 17:51   #11
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Ever seen a blacksmith heat up a piece of steel and bang it on an anvil? Like in the movies or something?

As long as you don't take it to a white hot heat and burn the carbon out of it, you can do that over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again without affecting the mechanical properties. It's metal fer crisakes. Not a magical mystery material meant to be afraid of.

The keel might have oil canned and it might be a little lumpy but I wouldn't worry about it falling off just because it wasn't pretty looking as long as it was designed and built correctly. There is a reason they make faring compound.

Lead melts at about 620F steel melts around 2750F. Do the math.


Very good points on the temperature. Phase changes in steel will be in the 900 F or above so you might be seeing heat induced oil-canning. Metal gets hot/ expands/lead cools and locks in the bulges. Remember also that each weld joint will have been heated well beyond 2000. Seal & fair it. As a note on this process, a yard mate has a home built steel hull 78 feet. The keel is filled with iron scrap and lead shot and then sealed on top with an access port. The port is for filling with sealant or oil to prevent corrosion and then closed off.
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Old 22-12-2015, 09:47   #12
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Not a big issue. Unless your a racer, it will not affect the boat other than cosmetic. Steel ripples, buldges, and changes shape over time. Look at naval ships's sides sometime. At this point the lead is probably "welded" to the steel and is immobile so just leave it alone.
You did not say what type of steel is in the hull.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:20   #13
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

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Originally Posted by Delancey View Post

I hate it when the panic police shoot their mouths off about things they know nothing about. There is a reason they make fairing compound.
Didn't think I was being panic-police, or "shooting my mouth off". You yourself are coming in a little hot, though.

I didn't say the keel would fall off. Just that its weird.

OP- buying a bare hull with potential keel problems means before you get to sail, you first have to become an accomplished boat builder (i'd say thats really only a mild exaggeration). I can see that being a really rewarding path for some, but most folks would rather start off a little closer to the finish line. Just something to think about.

As I said, maybe there are some further redeeming qualities about this hull I'm not accounting for.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:30   #14
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Most folks are not familiar with steel hulls, only plastic ones. Steel, especially corten steel is ideal for hulls. Strong, easy to repair, and acts as a ground to lightening strikes(think faraday cage). However, the hulls tend to be less than perfectly smooth, have flat spots, and obviously bumps and bulges. But for the ultimate safety at sea, can not be beat. If its not corten, then a coat of epoxy and then a coat of poly will keep it from rusting. In any case need a barrier coat between the steel and any bottom coating.
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Old 22-12-2015, 10:50   #15
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Re: Bumps on a steel keel

Welcome Piotr,

I would just remind you that if you were to buy a fully functional sailboat, you would still always be repairing or modifying something. There is plenty of work to be done, even on a brand new boat. As one of the earlier posters pointed out, working on completing an unfinished boat is NOT cruising, which seems to be your ultimate goal.

I would advise you to get a fully functional boat as your first cruiser. Then, when you learn a bit about where you want to go, and what you like in a boat, maybe take on finishing an attractive "kit" boat. I do not claim to be an expert, so my advise is worth what you pay for it.

I wish you well in whatever you choose to do.

Cheers, Bill
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