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Old 05-04-2009, 00:01   #46
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This was a carefully considered choice after discussions with the builder (a German craftsman who has fifty years experience of building in steel) and metallurgists in the steel trade. The consensus seems to be that its merits are more apparent/useful where the steel is exposed to the atmosphere, as you say. I must say, I cannot see much difference between this and a salty deck but the topic seems to touch a raw nerve in some people. We felt that it would be useful in limiting the corrosion that would develop with paint/ barrier breakdown - as happens with normal wear and tear as has been alluded to in this thread.

This yacht is very much the builders final work of real size and I think he was happy to think that it would last longer than he would and if Corten adds a few years then so much the better.

There is a view that the material is a little harder to work. Might be true for a fumbling amateur like myself (done a couple of steel boats myself in younger and more foolish days) but not likely to bother a tradesman. The builder thought that was a bit of a joke and has certainly not commented on any problems.

Certainly, in a salty atmoshere, the difference is very clear. The boat of mild steel next door by the same builder was much more clagged with superficial rust than mine.

Cost was only a few thou extra and invisible in the scheme of things.

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Old 05-04-2009, 15:59   #47

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Steel boats

I prefer stick welding as it is the most forgiving and the most affordable. For a one off, you can't justify wire welding . I have built three dozen steel boats and I can put a 36 foot hull together in three days , for a lot less than laying up a fibreglass hull. It is not labour intensive if you use more modern methods. Most of your detail is welded down for a fraction the cost of buying it and bolting it down on a fibreglass hull.
Do a search under Origamiboats and pick the first one (yahoo groups) for a good discussion on the most modern steel boat building methods.

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Old 05-04-2009, 22:56   #48
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Do you want to be a sailor or a boatbuilder?

If you want to get out on the water in the near future, I recommend getting a good used boat that is close to your "perfect" vision of what you like in a boat & get moving. If boatbuilding appeals to you, steel will be the easiest material to build from. I've seen a lot of people lose their interest part way through their build & know of a few whom have been building for 6 or more years. Lately, there have been a lot of used "plastic" production boats listed for sale on each coast of the U.S., for much cheaper than you could build one.
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Old 06-04-2009, 13:15   #49
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It seems to me Brent has found a good balance. Reading through his posts, it seems he has put on allot of sea miles since 1972, and has still had time to build 3 dozen boats.
I agree with the logic of steel boats, and stick welding. Most of the most talented fabricators I know use stick welding on their more creative projects. And, I would sure be more inclined to sail high latitudes in a steel boat than a fiberglass one.
Cattle die kinsmen die all men are mortal.
Words of praise will never perish nor a noble name.
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Old 06-04-2009, 15:24   #50
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If I was going to fabricate a boat out of steel, something of which I have no intention of doing, I would use flux cored welding wires rather then MIG or stick. Flux cored wires are available in gas shielded and self shielded varieties.

The beauty of flux cored wires is that just like sticks, you can get different types for different applications and unlike MIG they don't suffer as extensivley from the problems of cold lapping that can occur with MIG welding. I also think that flux cored welding is easier to transition to then MIG welding for the stick welder.

In my opiniion, and I once was an egg-spurt in this field, self shielded flux cored wires are the easiest for the amateur welder to use of all the mainstream processes. Unlike sticks, you wont have the extent of problems with undercut, slag inclusions, arc strikes and even access and unlike MIG you wont have the phenonemon of the fantastic looking weld that falls apart when tapped with a hammer (especially when joining materials of dissimilar sizes), porosity problems when the gas shield gets blown away or the nozzle clogged with spatter and you can weld on less then pristinely prepared material.

Also, some of the more exotic steels require welding with "low hydrogen" electrodes. Hydrogen precipitates out of the cooling weld metal creating stresses that can lead to fracturing in harder steels. An often overlooked fact is that low hydrogen stick electrodes don't retain their low hydrogen properties for very long once exposed to the open air (absorbtion of water vapour from the air) and need to be kept in "hot boxes" until immediately prior to use in order to remain "low hydrogen". Welding wires, on the other hand, are always low hydrogen and don't require any special care to retain the low hydrogen properties.

From a weld metal chemistry view, it was interesting to read about pitted welds in a previous post. I've forgotten most of what I knew about weld metal chemistry, but from what I recall MIG weld metal in general has a high silicon content compared to the f/c wires and stick and some f/c weld metals have a higher aluminium content then MIG or stick. I wonder if any one here knows how a variation in weld metal chemistry versus parent material would be affected by electrolysis??
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Old 06-04-2009, 23:44   #51
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With all due respect, Reefmagnet, I'd recommend stick(SMAW), rather than either FCAW or GMAW, for the "one-off" builder, due to the difference in start-up costs. At work(shipyards/drydocks) I run a suitcase with FCAW, sometimes, SMAW for tacks & small length welds. When working on others' project boat builds, I run either FCAW or SMAW, though I have no problem with the use of GMAW, if, by a qualified welder.

While Low-hi rods do require protection from moisture, they are not as finicky as many believe. In high-stress weldments, they are, to me, preferable to 6010/11, to avoid cold-cracking & embrittlement, as well as, tensile strength. A small rod oven can be rented easily enough, or one can build one. In fact, I have seen instructions for building ovens on the internet.

I always say, "To each their own. It doesn't matter to me how someone else builds their boat." To be honest, I wouldn't recommend building a boat to anyone who wants to go sailing. There are so many used boats available on the market that can be bought for much less than it costs to build a quality boat. There are very few amateur (first-time) builders whom have set a build period and achieved it. Most believe that they will finish within a couple of years. Those whom actually complete the project seem to take 6 to 10 years, on average. If that is what the author of this thread wants, go to it. If what he wants is to get out on the water, however, I suggest getting the boat closest to what serves him best & go sailing. In my area, Vancouver, I looked at a 1983 37' Alberg yawl, present asking price $57,000(Can). Though I will be building a larger boat, with a crew, in an area where labour is cheap, I am considering buying a boat for the trip over. I have seen too many cheap boats, off-shore capable, listed for sale in places like California to ever consider building my own for the trip & I already own the necessary equipment to build with FCAW.
That's my 2 bits worth.

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