Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 03-09-2011, 17:55   #1
Registered User
 
martinjrichter's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 71
Steel or Wood Construction - Why ?

Ok so I have looked at a zillion boats on the net and at the dock. For the most part I rejected out of hand anything made of steel or wood. Wood because it is alot of work and steel because ?

So remind me why I don't want a steel or wood boat. It appears that there are quite a few good deals out there in steel or wood. Secondly, the price is appealing (if they pass a survey).
__________________

__________________
martinjrichter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 18:15   #2
Moderator
 
Boracay's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Pelican Bay, Great Sandy National Park
Boat: Steel Roberts Offshore 44
Posts: 5,175
Images: 18
Not steel...

The main problem with steel is that its high maintenance (wood might be similar). You can leave it for a couple of weeks or maybe even more, but you've got to keep the maintenance up. Leave it too much longer and it'll come back to bit you in the %@^^.

The key items are electrolysis and corrosion. Keeping the underbody paint in good nick, the electrodes always present and accounted for and the electrical system under control is always necessary. I've found more frequent slipping, a good touch up system for the exterior and interior paint and the occasional check with a voltage meter totally necessary.

The other aspect to a steel boat is that many were amateur/owner built and lack the poise and polish of a quality fibreglass boat. The upside to this is that more attention may have been paid to making sure that the boat systems are functional and repairable.

So, not as nice as fibreglass, but, as you've noticed, usually a lot cheaper for what you ger.
__________________

__________________
Rust never sleeps
Boracay Blog.
Boracay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 18:18   #3
Registered User
 
zeta's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Murrells Inlet, SC
Boat: mt34dt
Posts: 308
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

I would buy the best boat for the money and intentions.

-sitting at the dock not being used very much--plastic

-cruising--boat that flipped my cookie regardless of hull material
__________________
zeta is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 18:58   #4
Registered User
 
Blue Crab's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Hurricane Highway
Boat: Cal 29
Posts: 3,882
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by zeta View Post
I would buy the best boat for the money and intentions.

-sitting at the dock not being used very much--plastic

-cruising--boat that flipped my cookie regardless of hull material

Not me. If you are a serious guy and can weld than steel could make sense. If you are a regular workaday guy, wood is a four-letter word. This is the exact question where if you have to ask ...
__________________
Blue Crab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 19:15   #5
Certifiable Refitter/Senior Wannbe
 
Wotname's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: South of 43 S, Australia
Boat: Van DeStat Super Dogger 31'
Posts: 7,331
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Having owned both steel (1) and wood (2) I would say that both are OK if:
1. You know what you are doing or are happy facing a steep learning curve.
2. You want to do the hull / deck / cabin maintenance yourself rather than pay others
3. You have suitable facilities in your area for such maintenance

Wood in this context is taken to mean traditional wood construction but if you are talking about epoxy encapsulated wood techniques, that is a completely different ball game and IMO, the best of all hulls - however others have different views

Boracay's assessment is spot on IMO.
__________________
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
Wotname is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 20:53   #6
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,150
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Most of the worlds commercial vessels are steel. I think that says a lot.
__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-09-2011, 22:03   #7
Senior Cruiser
 
IslandHopper's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Bundaberg Queensland/Lake Bolac Victoria, Australia
Boat: 45ft Ketch
Posts: 1,199
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Pick a material you are familiar with and can work with, for me that is steel. I have no problems working with and maintaining a steel boat, for me it's easy because i know it, i have worked on them all my life and would not have anything else....

Yet i know people with steel boats that pour $$$$$ into them because they don't know what they are doing, they think they do and tell you as much, but they are only fooling themselves....

If you cannot work with the material that your boat is made of then make sure you have a fat wallet, or don't buy one at all....
__________________
IslandHopper is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 04:09   #8
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Having owned both steel (1) and wood (2) I would say that both are OK if:
1. You know what you are doing or are happy facing a steep learning curve.
2. You want to do the hull / deck / cabin maintenance yourself rather than pay others
3. You have suitable facilities in your area for such maintenance
I would add:-

4. The PO(s) not having been broke / lazy / ignorant / a f#ckwit.......or all 4 (and I would probably makes this points 1-5 ).

Both materials are something that work well if you keep on top of them over many years.....and you like that sort of thing. But if you are more of a wet sponge wipe down now and again sort of Owner (nothing wrong with that) then GRP / Fibreglass is (IMO) the more forgiving material.....nothing perfect of course.
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 04:12   #9
Armchair Bucketeer
 
David_Old_Jersey's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 10,013
Images: 4
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Most of the worlds commercial vessels are steel. I think that says a lot.
I think that is as much about ease / cost of construction as the size increases, and being able to customise. Plus a higher liklihood of bumping into stuff
David_Old_Jersey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 05:21   #10
Registered User

Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Newport News VA
Boat: Egg Harbor sedan cruiser 1970
Posts: 829
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

commercial steel boats may last 25 to 35 years then need to be recycled.
Wood you can keep going indefinitely, with a lot of maintenance.
A lot of how long a wood boat can last has to do with if fresh water gets to it, the type of wood or treatment in the wood.

Steel lifespan - Boat Design Forums
__________________
sdowney717 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 05:24   #11
Registered User
 
Artif's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 261
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by David M View Post
Most of the worlds commercial vessels are steel. I think that says a lot.
Most commercial steel boats are built with a 25 year lifespan in mind.

Most of the worlds 100 + year old boats are wood.

As for which is better, that depends on your perspective, plastic is less maintenance but poor for the environment.
Wood is repairable, better for the environment if made responsibly and can last centuries IF maintained.
Steel is in the middle somewhere, requires maintenance and will last quite well.
__________________
Artif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 07:33   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Boat: Columbia 41
Posts: 522
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

"Most of the worlds 100 + year old boats are wood." I think that is misleading. What percentage of the present gross tonnage was actually launched 100+ years ago? It is almost always a tiny fraction, the planking, frames and deck having been replaced many times over during that century.
__________________
Sam Plan B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 07:48   #13
Registered User
 
Artif's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 261
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Plan B View Post
"Most of the worlds 100 + year old boats are wood." I think that is misleading. What percentage of the present gross tonnage was actually launched 100+ years ago? It is almost always a tiny fraction, the planking, frames and deck having been replaced many times over during that century.
Misleading!!!!!!!!! That was kinda my point.

My uncle is still working his 115 year old wooden fishing boat, never been replanked and as far as I know no frames have been replaced, and it regularly wins races in its class in the local regattas, against plastic versions of the same boat.

My 60 year old Danish Trawler has had couple of planks replaced but again no frames.

I'm pretty sure 60+ year old steel boats have had "some" work done to them as well.

As for gross tonnage, think of the 1000's of years of wooden boats have been built. All the wooden boats from dugouts to tall ships might just out weigh the steel stuff.

__________________
Artif is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 08:12   #14
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: Washington, DC
Boat: Columbia 41
Posts: 522
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Consider the following from the HMS Bounty II thread:

"Recent Developments: Tall Ship Bounty was restored, initially at the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard in 2002, with replacement of 100% of the vessel below the water line including the bottom planking, garboards and 95% of all frames. A new rudder was also fabricated and installed. The work was overseen by the USCG and Bounty’s own naval architect. The boat is constructed of double futtock white oak.

"Subsequently, in Phase Two in Bayou La Battre, Alabama in 2005 all square sails along with all standing rigging of the ship were replaced.

"In the Final Phase in 2006 the Bounty arrived in Boothbay Harbor again to have all ribs on the vessel replaced and new stern post inserted. During this time the vessel was replaced 100% from the waterline up and 100% of frames and bulwarks, as well as the stern gallery, stern post and beak being replaced. An additional Brest Hook was added. Approximately 80,000 pounds of lead through out the bilges was removed and a 65,000 pound keel shoe installed which added an inch and a half of freeboard. A new interior layout was introduced including the great cabin, a new galley, an increase in the number of cabins from six to ten and more storage space. The result of the three phases was to return Bounty to the original glamorous ship that Marlon Brando loved so much.

"All running gear is new, and she has new props (54 x 42) and 3 shafts. The John Deere engines were new in 2004 with Twin Disc, 6.1:1 gearboxes. Fuel is in 4 steel tanks and is over 4000 gallons in capacity. The ship has two water makers capable of making 1500 gallons each per day, and two 1000 gallon water stainless steel tanks. She has two 35 KW John Deere generators, one is new in 2007 and the other was rebuilt in 2007. She is hauled every year to have her bottom painted."

The HMS Bounty II was built in 1961. This kind of extensive rebuilding was uncommon in the age of sail. Most vessels that required that kind of work were sent to the ship breakers instead. That is why I point out that the gross tonnage of a wood vessel 100+ years old is a tiny fraction of what was actually launched when the vessel was new.
__________________
Sam Plan B is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-09-2011, 08:22   #15
Moderator Emeritus
 
David M's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: San Francisco Bay
Boat: research vessel
Posts: 10,150
Re: Steel or Wood construction? Why or Not

Quote:
Originally Posted by Artif View Post
Most commercial steel boats are built with a 25 year lifespan in mind.

Most of the worlds 100 + year old boats are wood.

As for which is better, that depends on your perspective, plastic is less maintenance but poor for the environment.
Wood is repairable, better for the environment if made responsibly and can last centuries IF maintained.
Steel is in the middle somewhere, requires maintenance and will last quite well.
Many but not all commercial steel vessels are obsolete after that amount of time not because the steel hull has rusted through but because the design and the technology at the time they were manufactured now makes them noncompetitive. The two Maersk sisterships that I did my internship on were built in 1984 and are still in operation today, 26 years later.

Steel hull sailboats do not have to compete.

The training ship I was on at the maritime academy was 60 years old at the time and it still had plenty of steel left on the hull. This was enough to keep its ABS classification and stay compliant with the CFR's.
__________________

__________________
David

Life begins where land ends.
David M is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fiberglass vs Steel Hulls larryb Monohull Sailboats 24 21-08-2016 00:31
Steering Cables - Steel or Stainless Steel ? sailorchic34 Construction, Maintenance & Refit 46 14-01-2014 17:46
Steel Boats and Welding SaltyMonkey Monohull Sailboats 634 04-05-2013 02:54
Are You Scared of Wood ? CharlieCobra General Sailing Forum 116 18-03-2013 17:45
Rocna Recall - China vs Canada Quality Comparison Hogan Anchoring & Mooring 201 15-12-2011 08:53



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 11:43.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.