Fitting out a steel hull with wood?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by cluttonfred, Jan 15, 2021.

  1. cluttonfred
    Joined: Mar 2014
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    cluttonfred Senior Member

    Does anyone have any good sources, whether books or something online, for best practices in fitting out a steel hull with wood interior and/or superstructure?

    I am considering commissioning a steel hull along the lines of Tom MacNaughton's Hero 33 concept -- Freighter Houseboat -- but I am having a hard time finding a good reference for how best to fit out such a hull.

    I am thinking about not just the woodwork but also questions of insulation and ventilation particular to steel hulls.

    I am not fond of spray foam insulation and I think the very rectilinear shape of something like the Hero would make it much easier to do everything with rigid foam panels and plywood with solid wood trim.


  2. rangebowdrie
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    rangebowdrie Senior Member

    Rigid foam only traps condensation,, the boat rusts from the inside out.
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Here is a wonderful article written by Danny Greene for Cruising World 30 years ago about how he outfitted his 34' steel ketch Brazen - her interior is completely modular, and in the article he notes that he can strip it out to a bare shell in a day.
    You might have to save these copies to your computer, and then enlarge them in order to read them easily.

    Danny Greene Brazen P 1.jpg

    Danny Greene Brazen P 2.jpg

    Danny Greene Brazen P 3.jpg

    Danny Greene Brazen P 4.jpg Danny Greene Brazen P 5.jpg

    Danny Greene Brazen P 6.jpg

    Danny Greene Brazen P 7.jpg
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  4. kapnD
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    kapnD Senior Member

    Bajansailor, thanks for that link!
    The concept can be applied to any type of hull, allowing flexibility and access to hidden spaces so common on boats today.
    Also modular building is tremendously easier than building in place.
    I’ve had to attack some beautiful work with the sawzall due to “built in” interiors.
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  5. jehardiman
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    jehardiman Senior Member

    The classic method is to install a wooden ceiling bolted to the frame faces and attach all joiner work to that in a very similar method to wooden construction. Any insulation is kept off the actual plating and against the ceiling, leaving an airgap from bilge to shear strake (there are vents in the topmost ceiling piece) so natural circulation keeps condensation down, and any drains to the bilge.

    One should tread carefully here, as many nations' Customs Officers take a poor view to built in, ultimately accessible, "hidden compartments".
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  6. Barry
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Barry Senior Member

    These books have some/limited information about fitting out a steel/aluminum boat

    Boatbuilding with Steel Klingel
    Metal Boats Roberts-Goodson
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  7. Trevor Richard Hunt
    Joined: Jul 2021
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    Trevor Richard Hunt Junior Member

    Slight off topic question, but does anyone know the rough cost of a professional steel hull built of around the 25 to 30ft LOA know roughly how much it would cost using 4mm Cortron or similar plates, BUT only for the hull of a classic lifeboat design, so no topsides. Also kind of tempted to galvanise the plates.
    My present lifeboat build is an alloy one, but the final production version will be steel. Early days as I still need to finish the build and test the boat, although the hull design is well known offshore ships lifeboat during the 60's.

    Attached Files:

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