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Old 14-12-2011, 22:59   #586
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

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Originally Posted by xymotic View Post
OK, so here's my dilemma. I'm self-taught at pretty much everything. I can pick up a book and learn how to weld, but I always doubt myself and wonder if I could do it better. So how to I get a basic welding class without taking a year(s) long get certified and get a 'career' community college course?
I took a weekend welding class (at The Crucible, in the Bay Area) and then practiced. It's more fun to practice if you are building something cool (sculptures, furniture, kids toys, planters, whatever). It's a fun hobby on it's own.

I do not think you need to be certified or take career type classes to be good enough to repair a boat. Just weld a lot, and cut some of your welds in half to see how it looks inside. I also believe certification is only done in the context of a job.

There are also some pretty good video series on YouTube about technique. WeldingTipsAndTricks, Kevin Caron (sp?), Brazil Welds, and etc.
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Old 14-12-2011, 23:34   #587
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Originally Posted by PaulyG
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At the end of the day stick with what you know, I have a steel yacht because I am a Boilermaker
Or what you have the tools to fix and want to learn about.

I was invited into a steel boat partnership. I liked the boat but the chain plates looked like flowers - completely delaminated. So much I was afraid to sail the boat for fear of losing the rig. I passed.

Someone else bought it outright for around $25k. At last count he had about another $30k in welding done. The last tragedy was after like a 6 month haulout he splashed. The only area he didn't actually do any hull repair / plate replacement was around the rudder post in the bottom of the hull because access was too difficult.

Guess where the boat started leaking 4 weeks later?

Steel boats scare the bejesus out of me because They are so hard to inspect unless you really know what you are doing.
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Old 15-12-2011, 00:39   #588
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

The weak points in steel boats are the stanchions and hawsepipes. Steel has its own merits, pro' s and con' s as any other building material.
Fact is that steel is for the pro. So our friend the boilermaker is a ready example. He won' t have any problems with steel.
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Old 15-12-2011, 01:24   #589
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

Not sure I really agree with this. My stanchions are two simple loops with a pipe pounded into them. Strong as sh*t, and I mean, pretty easy to fix, and there is NO WAY for a leak to go into a core.

I've got a couple leaky hawsepipes as well, but the 'problem' seems to be that the PO tried to fiberglass a tub to seal it rather than actually just hitting it with a grinder and a new pipe (and paint)
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Old 15-12-2011, 01:50   #590
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

two good books that i read on the subject (steel away by lecain w smith and metal boat repair and maintenance by scott fratcher) suggest that your repair will be fine as long as the welds are good. in fact it may end up stronger than original. i'd make sure i coated the everything with some quality epoxy like ameron. if you can get a spot blaster in there and clean the metal back to clean steel before you do that then it will last for decades. otherwise you will need to check back every few years and recoat with new epoxy as the rust underneath comes back.

another point - do you know why it rusted? try and find the reason, i.e. the water ingress that caused thwe rust in the first place. fix it. otherwise your new steel will suffer the same fate.

when i stripped my hull back i found numerous rusty spots caused by things like a shower and a bath tub that were not lined so the water leaked through the insulation to the hull, no limber holes, so it sat there for years and ate the steel. i had aleaking boiler, and a leaking water tank, and a leaking black tank, and a leaking anchor locker, all of which let water in...and rust was the result. i have fixed all of them so hopefully it will be dry going forward so my steel will be safe.

fix the source of the problem as well as the result!

good luck.

ps those books i mentioned are invaluable aids to a steel boat owner
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Old 15-12-2011, 03:00   #591
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

@Xymotic

You answer my remark already. The hull/hawsepipe connection is a weak spot on any steel hull. It has nothing to do with the present state of your boat' s system. It is a remark in general.

During the rebuilding of my boat all hawsepipes were renewed and welded again.
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Old 15-12-2011, 04:20   #592
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

I would not have anything other than steel, no i am not a Boilermaker (pro?) but i am a bloody good welder, so letís put that fact to bed....

The fact is if you are capable of learning, and more importantly have the desire to do so, then it's a piece of p**s to build and maintain a steel vessel......

Conversely the same goes for any material you choose for the vessels construction, apply yourself and it's not a problem......
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Old 15-12-2011, 04:39   #593
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

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Originally Posted by IslandHopper View Post
I would not have anything other than steel, no i am not a Boilermaker (pro?) but i am a bloody good welder, so letís put that fact to bed....

The fact is if you are capable of learning, and more importantly have the desire to do so, then it's a piece of p**s to build and maintain a steel vessel......

Conversely the same goes for any material you choose for the vessels construction, apply yourself and it's not a problem......
True. There's a fellow in the boatyard I'm at that purchased a real beater of a steel boat and literally taught himself to MIG weld in a couple of weeks and has been going hell for leather ever since welding in patches. Not sure if I would join him as crew for a blue water excursion, but I think his boat should hold together when all's done.
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Old 15-12-2011, 04:45   #594
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

There is nothing exotic about a steel yacht. Why should there? Yachts of steel are built in Holland since the use of iron, later steel in general boatbuilding.
All the major yachts have steel hulls/alu superstructures. Nothing new.
The Dutch and the Germans are the best steel builders in the industry and the former shipyard I worked with produced abt. 50 steel rivercruisers p. annum.
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Old 16-12-2011, 06:26   #595
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

Ex-Calif said:

Quote:
Steel boats scare the bejesus out of me because They are so hard to inspect unless you really know what you are doing.
I don't agree with your statement at all. I've owned two steel boats so far and I'm sure I'll own another before I take my last sail. It's no more difficult to survey a steel boat than a glass boat and in some ways easier. Steel is an easy material to work, welding equipment available the world over as are qualified welders. Preventive maintenance is the key to any boat made of any material. Glass boats have their own litany of problems, so there is no one "perfect" material. Steel boats are very strong and very durable. No more difficult to inspect and with modern coatings no more expensive to maintain.

Regards,

Thomas
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Old 16-12-2011, 19:02   #596
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yachts66
Ex-Calif said:

I don't agree with your statement at all. I've owned two steel boats so far and I'm sure I'll own another before I take my last sail. It's no more difficult to survey a steel boat than a glass boat and in some ways easier. Steel is an easy material to work, welding equipment available the world over as are qualified welders. Preventive maintenance is the key to any boat made of any material. Glass boats have their own litany of problems, so there is no one "perfect" material. Steel boats are very strong and very durable. No more difficult to inspect and with modern coatings no more expensive to maintain.

Regards,

Thomas
No problem disagreeing. And I won't defend any kind of boat construction over another. As I said. Steel boats scare the bejeesus out of me. Me personally. You might be fully comfortable as are a lot of folks on this thread.

The main concern I have is that many steel boats disintegrate from the inside out. The material that the hull is made from turns to iron oxide and disappears.

The 3mm hull you are looking at from the outside could be a 1mm hull covered with paint inside and out and held together with oxide.

Not banging steel boats - this just happened to my friend and almost happened to me, should I have bought into the boat with him. If one doesn't have the skills to assess a steel boat one needs to find someone who can.

BTW I personally love the idea of steel boats. Not too many tankers and tugs made from plastic...
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Old 16-12-2011, 19:22   #597
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

A nice thing about steel is that you can see damage. When steel rusts the rust has a much greater volume than the metallic steel. So, steel rusting under paint always announces itself as a blister, clearly visible on the paint surface. Obviously, you need to be able to see the surface to see this.

Any boat, built of any material, needs to either be built so that the interior can be inspected well or, if it cannot be inspected, needs to be done so well that it can be counted on to be trouble free. And this applies to fiberglass, wood, aluminum and steel. They all have their issues.

Old boats, with the interior covered with ceiling, insulation, etc are an unknown until inspected. If you are building/rebuilding and paint the interior properly, which means blasted to clean metal and then several coats of a good epoxy, the interior will last a lifetime. All the sayings about steel boats rusting from the inside out are only true for boats that haven't been painted properly on the inside. Think about it - interior paint is protected from UV and is generally well protected from chipping and scratching. When it fails it's generally because it wasn't done right in the first place.
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Old 16-12-2011, 19:36   #598
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A nice thing about steel is that you can see damage. When steel rusts the rust has a much greater volume than the metallic steel. So, steel rusting under paint always announces itself as a blister, clearly visible on the paint surface. Obviously, you need to be able to see the surface to see this.
Agree, unless one of two things happens.

Over years and years and years, surface rust is ground or blasted away and new coats of paint are applied and no one realizes how thin the plate is getting.

Or two. When prepping for sale a nice new shiny coat of paint is applied to all the bilges to purposefully cover stuff up.

There are good and bad stories with every construction material. My buddy cerrtainly did not expect $30k worth of plate work. He is a pretty good marine guy, had a survey but clearly no one knew how to evaluate the hull.
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Old 17-12-2011, 02:46   #599
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

This will develop rapidly in a "material vs material" discussion. That steel returns to it' s former state when not properly protected is a fact. This process is optical visible.

Delamination is not. I will give you an example of boats infested by delamination: Some very unwise designers, not realising that the polyester resins (ortho & iso) are a far cry from waterdamp tight, created sandwichconstructions under the waterline and topsides, using BALSA. Via the hollow tubes of the glasslaminate but also through the gelcoat water permeates into the laminate. A process that takes years and years, sometimes visible and then we call it osmosis.
More often, it is not visible nor discovered and the process continues in the run of a year or twenty-twentyfive. The inside core of the sandwich starts to delaminate slowly as the wet balsa start to give away - rot so to say.

This process takes place in all places where a sandwichcore/balsa are applied, or any other woodmaterial.
Typical boatexamples are the Nicholson 45 series (a few in the UK awaiting now a hefty restauration of 30.000 - 50.000 GBP investment) the Norlin series from the '70' s, specifically the 37/38' s and factually all boats of that age with sanwich/balsa cores.
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Old 17-12-2011, 11:59   #600
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Re: Steel Boats and Welding

Humpff I'm sorry but all this hysteria is just that. If a steel boat is properly built, the interior will have been covered with multiple layers of epoxy paint, and that covered by sprayed on closed cell polyurethane foam. The steel is thus protected from rust forever unless there is mechanical damage, and that is pretty obvious to detect. As has been stated several times, when steel rusts under the paint you get blisters and then rust stains, both of which are visible. Worry all you want about interior ruse, but on those dark nights at sea, when you can't see your hand in front of your face, I want my ride to be made of steel. If I hit something, more than likely I'll bounce off, maybe get a dent in the bow, but nothing more. Do that in a glass boat and you sink in 30 minutes or less. I once had a drunk fisherman run into my boat while she was in the slip late at night. Stove in the bow of his wooden boat and had the Coasties not been there with big pumps (this happened about 100m from the CG Station) and the marina's lift operator not lived just a few blocks away, the wood boat would have been on the bottom. My paint was barely scratched! No touch up required!

Regards,

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