1960 Whitcraft House Boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by ebes54, Jun 24, 2008.

  1. ebes54
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Winona, MN

    ebes54 Junior Member

    Hi All,

    I'm new to the thread and the prospect of houseboat owning. Currently I'm looking at a 36' 1960 Steel Hull Whitcraft. The boat appears to be in decent shape considering it's pushing 50 years old.

    However, given the age there are some issues that need to be dealt with.
    1.) There is rusting occuring on the deck. Most of it is surface rust that would not require a great deal of work with to eliminate. However, where the deck meets the wooden top section of the boat there is more significant rust damage and a couple small spots where it is rusted through. I haven't seen the interior of the hull and I think that will be more telling when I see that. If the interior is relatively dry I think I can resolve the rust issues. Is there somethign that I'm missing? I can see a spots where the current owner has the hull caulked.
    2.) The wall on the starboard side is loose and it appears that it is detached some what. If I push on it it wobbles. This concerns me too.

    If I decide to buy the boat my repair plans are as follows (most of them I hope to do over the winter months while the boat is in drydock)...
    1.) Remove all wooden trim, sand and water seal the walls, and recover the entire boat exterior with milkboard. Replace wood trim with aluminum trim
    2.) Weld a 3"x3" piece of 1/4' thick angle steel around the base of the top section to seal off the rust damage.
    3.) Examine the underside for pitting and rust and repair/replace as needed.
    4.) Paint the entire hull with a rust stopping paint (top and bottom). I'm not sure what/how to do this so some pointers would be nice.
    5.) Fix the starboard wall (not sure how yet)

    In the future I would consider doing the following...
    1.) Add a lift for a dingie or PWC
    2.) Remove the existing Chrysler I/O motor and outdrive, have the hull welded shut and put a generator in the engine compartment.
    3.) Add a transom and outboard motor to the back to replace the original motor

    I haven't been in the boat yet, but looking through the windows it looks like the interior is very nice. There wouldn't be a lot of work to do there.

    I can budget for the projects listed above. If there's anything else critial I'm forgetting please tell me so I can know what to look for and ask about.

    Does anybody know how hard it would be to seperate the top section from the bottom section to get better access to the interior hull?

    Any tips and advice is much appreciated.

    Best Regards,
    Chris

    P.S. I'm having trouble finding a value on this boat. Does anybody know where I can find this?
     
  2. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    Hi Chris,
    Ask around town you may be able to talk to someone who was working at Whitcraft in the 60’s. They were built in Winona back then.
    Gary
     
  3. ebes54
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Winona, MN

    ebes54 Junior Member

    Gary,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes I know Whitcraft's were made in Winona back then. My grandfather actually worked there for a time, unfortunately he passed away in 2001 so I won't be able to consult with him. It is possible he wired this boat 48 years ago. I'd love to get an original blueprint of the boat. Did Whitcraft get bought out by another company or just go under?

    Another correction, the boat has a Volvo Penta engine not a Chrysler.

    I was on the boat last night and the interior hull is dry which is a good sign. The nose appears to have been replated recently and everything electrical is in working order except the horn and I think that owuld be an easy fix. If I can resolve the rust through I think I could get many years of enjoyment out of this boat.

    Thanks Again Gary,
    Chris
     
  4. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    They were bought in the late 60,s or early 70’s. As they started getting over 40’ there was less of a market on the upper Mississippi. They were built somewhere in the south but I don’t know for how long.

    I would worry the most about the soundness of the hull. Once the rust gets to a certain point no amount of welding is going to help. Another thing be careful when adding any weight. These boats have been added to many times and are often much heavier than there design weight. I’m sure you have seen them pushing up river with a bow wave that would make a big tow envious.

    Forum member Peter Eikenberry (Ike) http://www.boatdesign.net/forums/member.php?u=13610
    may be able to help you with finding more info on the company.

    I hope the river goes down and it quits raining so you can get out on the water.

    Gary
     
  5. eponodyne
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Upper Midwest

    eponodyne Senior Member

    Actually, Winona and Lake Pepin are upstream of the worst of the flooding and it hasn't rained here in a week or more.
     
  6. ebes54
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Winona, MN

    ebes54 Junior Member

    Well folks, I bought the boat last night. I maybe spent a little more than I should have, but oh well. I'll post pictures this weekend of the repairs I need to do soon and then I'll explain my plan for the entire boat.

    Wish me luck!

    :c)
     
  7. tuttlec
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    Location: e.machias, ME

    tuttlec New Member

    houseboat

    hi

    good luck on your project. what are your dreams for it. i will follow your progress on the forum. or leave an email address

    have studied houseboats over the years. might slowdown,and liveaboard.

    i can't offer much intellegence, but do have a deal of common sense boating. since early 70's have taught trad. & contemp. boatbuilding - high school and junior college.

    i am minn born - early 40's where the miss. & st. croix rivers join. have river ratted on barge tugs, stern wheelers and power skiffs of all sizes from st. paul to la crosse.
    now live remote coastal maine downeast/north bush-like. a stone throw to new brunswick. have explored the coast from portland to calais.

    daydream an epic voyage. trouble is fuel costs and berthing one can afford enroute. sorry i digress.

    the best of luck to you. dream with care for dreams come true
     
  8. duluthboats
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Location: Minneapolis,MN, USA

    duluthboats Senior Dreamer

    That sounds great; I will be looking for your updates. I’m glad to hear the rain is letting up as I will be back for a weekend of canoeing in a few weeks. I have an idea of the work ahead but I’m still a little envious.
    Gary :D
     
  9. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    On the hull itself, the problems occur on the inside from the waterline down. You probably don't have access because of the wood floor and walls of the cabin, but what happens is the river water keeps the steel relatively cool so when high humidity happens, which is almost constant since it's a boat sitting in water, condensation forms from the waterline down. The small rusted through spots on the deck are the small end of a funnel for putting water inside your hull. Most boats as old as yours have been replated a time or two.






    If "milkboard" is that fiberglass panel stuff used to line restaurant kitchen and bathroom walls and probably milking parlor walls, It's made for interior use and would leak rainwater. You have to be careful about mixing metals and setting up galvanic action, where one metal corrodes the other.
    Whatever you do has to sealed so water won't penetrate not only this summer but for years down the road.
    As stated above, the problems are mostly on the inside. The thing with pits is, depending on the thickness of the steel, which is probably around 1/8" on your boat, a pit can eat halfway through in one bite. Enough pits in one area or repitting over a previous pit can leave pinholes or structurally weak areas.
    Get 2 or 4 opinions from people in the area that "should" know what they're doing. It doesn't hurt to get opinions on the people you are getting opinions from, and I'm not talking about just the paint. I'll PM you a name and number from someone in Buffalo City that might get you going in the right direction.


    They are probably more or less "inseparable". The interior is probably attached to the hull in ways that defy description and common sense.
     
  10. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
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    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    The Private eMail (PM) part of this forum is not working at the moment. I wiil try again in a while.

    I think it went through, let me know if it did.
     
  11. ebes54
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Winona, MN

    ebes54 Junior Member

    I'm going to close the deal with the boat owners tomorrow night, we had some scheduling conflicts and a holiday to contend with. I am in a little bit of a quandry thought, yhe bank (I'm financing the purchase) needs an estimated value. Is there anyway I can get this w/out a marine survey?
     
  12. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Location: Washington

    Ike Senior Member

    I don't know much about Whitcraft. There is nothing in the USCG database. You might want to post on the Houseboat Magazine forum http://www.houseboatmagazine.com/fusetalk/forum/index.cfm?forumid=1 or Houseboating World forum http://www.houseboatingworld.com/

    I sincerely doubt you will ever find original blueprints, or even electrical schematics because very few companies even had them, let alone keep them after the went out of business. Even today only the large volume manufacturers keep records of blueprints for their older models. The best thing to do is get your self a good multimeter and start tracing out circuits. Write it all down and make circuit diagrams. Note where the wire comes from (power source), where it goes, the color of the wire, the wire size, and the size of the circuit breaker or fuse.
     

  13. ebes54
    Joined: Jun 2008
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    Location: Winona, MN

    ebes54 Junior Member

    I've decided to use wood exterior walls on the boat. I'm going to use exterior wall cedar.

    Can anybody recommend a good paint for the deck. I'm not allow to do extensive sanding or sandblasting because of lead contamination so I needs to have a rust inhibitor in it.

    -C
     
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