newbie-need advice with steel hulled boat

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by CaptainAHAB, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. CaptainAHAB
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: minnesota

    CaptainAHAB New Member

    hello, i always wanted to live on a houseboat. found this forum looking for info to my problem.

    at it happens the Mississippi goes right by my school,
    and a guy at the local marina wants to sell a 1960's steel-hulled
    houseboat. it more like a small yacht-a real keel and hull, not the flat or raft-like type.

    inboard Chevrolet V8 engine!

    only 3900$!

    but everything but the composting toilet and gas furnace is missing from the house-portion.

    but they were electric, and i have gas powered stuff from a old RV.

    anyway it was used year around-its extra insulated ( it gets down to -40 here sometimes)

    and the real issue-there is water sitting underneath, by the ribs of the hull
    on the bow-end.

    and small pencil-eraser sized holes that daylight can be seen thru!

    about 5-8, all in about the same spot in relation to the ribs!

    my budget would allow buying the boat, but not the sandblasting and
    pro-painting bill.

    but i have a cousin who works in welding and painting who can help somewhat.

    1) can i just grind the paint off, then weld steel sheets on?

    2) weld on new plates from the inside?

    3) plug the holes with those "instant steel epoxy caulks" like this place sells?

    4) epoxy rubber/ plastic sheets to bad area?

    5) caulk holes-then give the bad area a thick layer of fiberglass?

    i haven paid for the boat yet because want to decide how fixable it is-if anyone can think of a temp fix i could prob do a more involved fixing next summer, but going for a bioscience degree-and in the long term the houseboat could save me lots of rent money here at school....but dont want to shovel money into a lost cause.

    but the boat does look really cool-has a old style captain wheel up front in the cabin, and a lil hidey hole bedroom inside the bow-and the V8 engine is huge! looks like the keel is a I-beam, and u can tell the hull is pretty tough..prob 1/4 inch or more thick steel :)

    been thinking of later building giant pop-bottle filled outrigger pontoons
    for added stability and ocean use.

    for now it only needs to survive freshwater river salt water!

    ANYWAY is there any alternatives to fix those puny holes, and reinforce the thin spots? i have done oxy-acetylene welding in the past.......

    and great to meet everyone and find great forum :)
  2. welder/fitter
    Joined: Jun 2008
    Posts: 407
    Likes: 32, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 423
    Location: Vancouver

    welder/fitter Senior Member

    Welcome to the forum!
    You might find that these are questions better answered in the metal boatbuilding section. Pictures would be a great help, so we could see the extent of the issues. By your description, you'll want to replace plate, not just fill the holes. I'm assuming that this boat is up on the hard, not in the water. you'll also want to inspect the entire hull below the waterline; frames & stringers as well as the shell plate. If your cousin is a very experienced welder, have him/her check out the rust issues & give you his/her opinion. If it is a 60s hull, you don't want to spend much money on it & if it's gutted it's not worth more than the autowreckers would give you for the engine & the scrap metal recyclers would give you for the rest. We are talking about 40 to 50 year old steel, here, right? Personally, I don't have to see pictures to know that I wouldn't buy it, based on age alone.

    Look at it this way; aside from the buying price, you'll have to spend money on materials & equipment to repair it. Then comes moorage, utilities/fuels costs, (perhaps) paid parking for your commuter vehicle, miscellaneous future repairs, etc. . If you will still save money over the alternatives by doing this, or at least break even, then it might be an interesting experience.

  3. CaptainAHAB
    Joined: Sep 2010
    Posts: 3
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: minnesota

    CaptainAHAB New Member

    the pics online are misleading, there from it when lived in in the water ( one uses the mirror-trick to make the room look twice as big) and before tons of stuff got stripped out.

    its up on dry land now....pretty much its empty, but the wood paneling is there.

    the dodgy way it was advertised kinda make me nervous as well.....

    but here is pics of the boat, after this weekend i should have my own pics of the hull.......
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