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Old 01-10-2005, 10:54   #1
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Building In Steel ?

Dear Forum,

I have something for everybody here. I have been thinking of building in steel? I was thinking of building either a 53 foot steel sail boat.

Considering I live in the USA. I presently live in Pheonix, Arizona. I was wondering if there other people on this forum that is presently building a boat in steel. And if so. How much did that person spend, on steel?

If they have not started building yet. But is in the getting ready to build stage. How much is the going rate for steel? I'd like to ask that question. Before I'd wear my ears and mouth off, just using the telephone.

If anyone has any questions or suggestions. Please post them here. Or email me. Thanks.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 01-10-2005, 11:58   #2
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A better choice than the Ferro boat Kevin. At least that is my opinion.
I would suggest you look online for some plans. Get the basic dimensions, and if possible, material lists for the design you want. (I personally like the Spray designs, but I know that is not very popular on the site)
Once you have a materials list, you can call your local steel supplier. I use PDM Steel here in Ca, and get the per pound price for the steel you need. They can also help you determine how much the plate thickness you need weighs per sqr ft. If you are buying a large quantity you will get a better price. As an ex navy guy, you will probably know a few marine welders. Since you are looking to hire a crew to work with you, this might be a good source. Welders do not work cheap, but if you have a place to work out of the weather, you can probably hire some durring the rainy season for a good price. The other option for materials is a steel recycler, but finding uniform sizes and shape may be more work than the savings is worth. I use SIMS Metals in Ca.
THe other BIG benefit to building in steel as opposed to ferro, is that you can build it in sections, and put it together after it is hauled to the water. This will save you a small fortune in transport costs.
Look for the other threads on steel boats here, as there is allot of good info on the upsides and downsides of steel as a boat building material.
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Old 01-10-2005, 13:35   #3
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A common expression here in NZ for boats for sale.. "if ya have to ask how much fuel it uses, ya can't afford it".
Now not being rude, but the same kinda goes for building a boat. Important point to understand and an area where most builders fall flat on their face and you see years of hard work suddenly go on the market cheap. The cost of building a boat is not in the hull. About 10-15% of the overall finished cost is taken up in building the hull. The other 85-90% is in the fitting out of the hull. So do be aware. There are two big time area's taken up with building. Firstly, 40% of the build time is taken in building the hull. Another 40% of the time is taken with fitting all the joinery. The final 20% is on the rest. And one big problem with Steel, expenses can't be drip feed into the build process. You have big outgoings at certain stages. Example, you will have a big outlay for the steel and tools and equipment to get started. If you can weld yourself, then that's a saving, but if you have to pay someone to put it together, there goes another big slice. Then the cost to sandblast and paint. IT's one big hit there and corners with time can not be cut. Once the boat is protected and covered in, the rest can be done at leisure.
Many builders that got past the expense part, got cuaght by the time aspect. They thought they could build a boat quick, but found that it took many years and their crusiing plans kept getting put further and further out into the future. When they finaly got the thing finished, there dreams had a grey beard and was tired. HOWEVER. There are also many that have built there own boat, been very succesful and are now sailing and following there dreams, so don't take the above as cold water, just go in with your eyes open.
By the way, you can pick up some very cheap hulls that the above scenarios have happend to, if you look around.
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Old 01-10-2005, 15:09   #4
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Thanks

Dear Wheeler, & Kai Nui,

I will look further into this matter. Luckily I do have a old friend of mine who knows how to weld. And even owns some weilding equipment. My friend and I go all the way back to the mid 1970's, when we were still in school. Elementary school, to be more precise!

I have looked into Bruce Roberts designs in steel. Hell, I've seen Glenn-L had a few nice designs, in steel. And they were the cheapest priced designs out there on the market. I have seen one design that Glenn-L has. It was the biggest one he has. It's a 55 footer. And the building plans ran for $500.00 US dollars. Very cheap prices in comparision with Bruce Roberts, or Dudley Dix.

So like I stated under the ferro idea. Eventhough, I did not list this on the earlier statement. I did look into steel, as the building medium first. But, the idea of cost, etc. etc. I know either method, will not be cheap. But, eventhough. I keep hearing the good and the bad about ferrocement boats. Yeah, I might get more bang for my money. But, like you all keep saying. The resale value will be practically nill.

Thank you for your responses. And I will look into this matter further. If anybody else has anything else to mention here on the forum. I'm all ears.

Oh. And one more thing I might want to mention is this. Just this past July. I came across an idea, inwhich I use old plastic tanks. Cover them in fiberglass and resin. I practiced a 2 foot square piece out. To see how strong it would be. And to my shock. It was very strong. The piece of plastic from the tank, that one of my friends gave me is around 3/8" thick. And very sturdy. The only problem with this, is this. I would need alot of these plastic tanks. The kind that holds 10,000 - 15,000 gallons of liquids. That plastic is thick. And very strong.

When I made my prototype piece. I reenforced it with more plastic, like stringers. And glued it to the plastic board. I then glued another section of board to the other. Then I safety wired the sections together. Then put another stringer on the other section of board. Then I fiberglassed the boards all at once. The end result. A very strong 2 to 2 and a half square foot plastic board, that was extremely strong.

So what do you guys think of that idea? Just post you thoughts about this idea. I kinda thought of the plastic, like the core material used on most fiberglass boats used today. I'd just wanted to hear some imput, on this.

I await you repsonses. And may you all have a nice day/evening.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 01-10-2005, 15:15   #5
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And I Did Forget One Other Thing?

Dear Forum,

When we look at building in steel. I do have a cheap idea of getting steel. How about cutting up some old cargo containers. And use the steel, from the old cargo containers. To build a steel sailboat out of that. I'd just thought I'd throw this idea into the forum as well!

Let me know what anyone thinks of this idea as well? And I look forward to reading the imput. From other people on the forum.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 01-10-2005, 16:16   #6
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The cost of a cargo container, even an old one, is far more than the usable steel you would get from it. I was going to mention the abandoned projects out there, but you seem to want to start from scratch. I still maintain my earlier advise, buy a boat, sail it for a year or so, and sell it to build what you want.
An example of the steel projects that are out there, a friend of mine is a welder. His friend was building a 100' steel fishing vessel. He is an ex navy chief engineer. The project was being built on top of a mountain, in sections as I suggested. He started the project 20 years ago. I saw it on ebay last month for less than the cost of the steel. Some make it, most do not. I wish you luck. As for the welding, since you are in pheonix, just set sucker down off of west Buckey in the summer. It will weld itself together.
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Old 01-10-2005, 17:52   #7
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?

Dear Kai Nui,

Didn't you mean, west of Buckeye, Arizona?

Yes. I will look into the abandoned boat projects. Do you know if they have websites for stuff like that?

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 01-10-2005, 17:55   #8
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What will your boat be used for and who will use it...

Since you seem to be at the stage where you are doing what us old analyst/programers used to call analysis a few comments on that process may be in order.
First, the old maxim used to be that the more time spent in analysis the less in programing, and I think the same is true for buying or building boats.
So, have you carefully analysed what you want to use your boat for , and who will use it?
By this I mean are your plans to build a boat (a pleasurable activity in itself) or to cruise a boat?
First you need to establish how much money is available for the project, how much time is available, and what resources (building sheds, equipment, age of builder(s) etc.) are available.
Then consider who will use the boat, and where it will be used. It could be a good idea at this stage to discuss your plans with potential crew.
What you learn from this process will tell you if you should build or buy, what material may suit you best, and what size and type of boat should be considered.
It is also worth considering if it would be more efficient to go to work, earn the money, and buy the boat.
While it seems to be true that one should go for a larger boat than is necessary the ones that you are thinking of are well into the upper range of cruising boat size.
Some comments on building materials:-
Ferro-cement - cheap (can often be built using an income stream from wages), poor resale value, some large boats never completed.
Steel - Medium cost, considered the most seaworthy material, high maintenance, medium resale value, unpleasant and sometimes dangerous to work with, sometimes large boats never completed, not really pleasant in sevice.
Wood - medium to high cost, medium maintenance (wood epoxy saturated), pleasant to work with, not well suited to large boats, pleasant to use in sevice.
Fibreglass - High cost , unpleasant and dangerous to work with, very high completion rate, good resale value, enjoyable to use in sevice.
Aluminium - requires great skill to weld well, expensive, proper protection difficult with the possibility of catastropic failure, moderate resale value, very seaworthy if done right.
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:36   #9
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Yes Kevin, I meant BuckeyE. Until I figure out how to make my stupid spell checker work on this site, I am doomed to poor spelling. Sigh...
As always, Chris has put the facts in perspective. And I agree completely.
As for unfinished projects, they turn up on EBAY all the time. Another resource is: http://www.yachtworld.com/projectboa...ctboats_1.html
I lived down there near 69th and Thomas about 20 years ago for a couple of years. Gets a little warm
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:39   #10
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The Reason For Bigger Sailboat !

Dear Forum,

The reason, I have been posting, why I want, a 55 to 65 foot motor/sailboat. Are these reasons right here:

#1. To liveaboard.
#2. To cruise around in.
#3. To charter my boat for business.
#4. To operate any business, from my boat.
#5. To get away from this mad, mad, mad, country called the United States. Before the damn terrorists. And other badguys out decide to nuke this country of mine.

Enough said, in that department.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 01-10-2005, 18:58   #11
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Actually, if you are considering chartering, you need to evaluate the insurablility of the boat, especially considering it will be home built. A more conventional vessel may be your only alternative.
Although I agree with the need to get the heck out of here, we probably do not agee on the reasons, but the bottom line is. It is time to leave. On this we agree.
Home built boats of ferro cement are, almost without exception, uninsurable. Home built steel boats are a close second, and if you do find insurance, it will not be cheap. Home built wood, same thing. Homebuilt fiberglass, you have a chance, but only if it is a conventional plan, and properly built, and surveys well. Even a production boat over 20 years will be expensive to insure, and if it is ferro, will probably not insure. (although I do not know of any production ferro boats. Production steel boats can be insured, but must survey well. Almost anyone will insure a production fiberglass boat that surveys well, but cost is directly related to age. As I am not in the charter business, I am sure others can give you more precise info on these and other issues.
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Old 01-10-2005, 20:31   #12
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Steel

Check out the Origami site on yahoo. It is a chat group for steel fans. The Swain 40 offers a quick and easy way to pull a steel boat together.
I am not promoting steel, just mentioning the site.
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Old 02-10-2005, 01:31   #13
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Yeah It gets Hot Here.

Dear Kai,

20 years ago is a long time. I was just getting out of high school back then. I was not born here. I was born in California. I actually hate the city of Phoenix. I do like the way the streets are setup. But other than that. I hate this place. And the damn heat.

I am checking out some websites, that have been suggested to me. The ebay website. I hated the choices they have. And a few of them were being sold due to hurricane damage.

I read on a website that was written by a marine surveyor, that you have to be very very careful when buying a boat cheap from the east coast. And especially, the gulf coast. Alot of the cheap boats for sale were damaged by hurricanes.

Right now they have (two) that I spotted. They were in the 30 footer range. And one of them had a pier pile drove right through the bottom of the hull. Ouch! The close up photo told me all I needed to know. Plus the interior photo, showed that the boat went through WWWIII.

Well, it's late. Getting tired. Thanks for your guys's responses.

Regards,

Kevin
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Old 02-10-2005, 02:28   #14
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Ganley and Roberts are both very common steel designs to come across down here in NZ. N o joke, but I have seen a steel hull sell for NZ$10.00. Thats about US$5.00. I have seen a 30ft glass over ply launch sell for NZ$5.00 No I haven't got the decimal point in the wrong place. It's just frustrated owners that the project has got the better of them in many differing ways.
But I need to ask a question Capt.K. Are you wanting to build to save money, or because you have your own ideas you want for layout, or you just love using your talents?? Honestly, if you are trying to save money, it just won't happen. You will buy an existing hull much cheaper than you will ever build one for and you will buy an existing ready go and sail boat cheaper than you will build and fit out a new one. I am really not wanting to be cold water poured over your idea's here, hey we have all dreamed idea's and still do, but trying to save money on steel by buying old shipping containers suggests to me you are tight on budget. Trust me, the cost of the steel is pitance to what the whole project is going to cost you. Just to give you an idea, for a boat the size you are talking, just the winches alone will probably cost the same or maybe more, than you will pay for the steel for the entire project.
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Old 02-10-2005, 08:40   #15
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Alan Wheeler,

To answer your question. I want to build a boat to my particular layout plan. And yes, to try out my talents. I want to really put myself to the test. I could still save money on building me a boat. Than going out and buying it brand new. Putting what I want on it. Instead of what the manufactuer put on it. Just the basic stuff. With a couple of simple other gadgets. I'm mostly concerned having radar, GPS, and depth finder. Most important!

The following skills I already have under my belt. And looking forward in learning more. If needed.

#1. Mechanic
#2. Heavy Industrial Assemblier.
#3. Painter
#4. Welder (Still learning more about this one)
#5. Ex-US Navy Sailor (9 Years in the military. With 7 years of sea time.)
#6. Very ambitous person. Always looking for ways to make more money.
#7. Security Personel (In this day and age, especially with terrorism. It's good to know how and what to look for.)

Skills that I'm looking forward to. In learning and using in order to build boat.

#1. Electronics. (Eventhough, I am a mechanic. A mechanic nowdays must know basic electronics, and computers. So I know the basics.)
(A). Learning to install conduits and breaker boxes. I find this fun to do. And running wire. Which I had done a couple of times. On cars. And once at my friends house. Rewiring a old room.
#2. Take a small business course. And brush up on my business ethics and ideas there. I want to make money. And liveaboard my boat. And run a charter business.

Simply in a nutshell. I just want to become more independant. This country of mine. The United States, is technically falling apart. I don't like pointing fingers. But, our government is not helping our people, like they should. Especially, during the most recent hurrincane down in the gulf coast, New Orleans. That especially tells me that this country cannot. Or will not want to help.

I have served my country proudly. I was even involved in the first Gulf War. Desert Storm & Desert Shield. And ever since then, I noticed how our government is treating our citizens. (True. We Americans are still treated better than most, people.) But, our days as a super power, is starting to decline in this world. If North Korea, and Iran continues to challege us. Then, later throw in China or India. And others. This world will be in utter chaos.

Me personelly. I am sick and tired of the, "Bulls*&$" that has been going on here in this country. And I did not stick my noise into the affairs of other countries business. And telling them they cannot do this or that. It's no wonder why, so many countries hate the USA. And I am tired of it too!!

Well, those are the reasons why I want to build a boat a certain way. And do it a certain way. So Alan Wheeler. Your saying that I cannot canabalize (cut apart) cargo containers for the steel. And us the steel, to build a boat? Here in the United States. I can get 40 foot cargo containers. Used ones for around $1,000.00 US dollars. And cut them up and I generally have the steel to use on building the hull, right there! That's why I posted that idea, in the first place. To see what anybody had to say about that. My friend, Ivan. Said that alot of money would be wasted in the process of cutting the cargo containers up. Now Ivan, is a business man. He is second generation in the business of the metals trade. But, the problem is this. I live in Arizona. He lives in California. I was born and raised in California. I moved to Arizona, after I left the Navy. And the area, inwhich I was born and raised at. Is nothing more than a farming town. (Perfect place to build my boat at, in the future.) Inwhich is what I plan on doing from the beginning.

Well, enough of my yammering. I just want to get this out. And I'm not mad at anybody. But, it had to be posted. To let the readers more into my ideas. And give them a more idea on what, and why, I am trying to do this.

Hey, allies of the USA. And fellow Americans. And Canadians, & New Zealanders. And the Land Down Under. If you want a partnership. And want to really build a bigger boat. I'm also all game into that arena. Together, with me and you. Maybe we could partner together. Combine our finances. And build the ultimate motor-sailboat. And I'm always looking at every angle. Just wanted to post this idea too!!

I look forward in hearing anyones reponse to this posting. And no, I not ranting mad here. I just wanted to give eveyone my full scope, of why this?

Regards,

Kevin
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