Purchase Plans for a large Scow hull

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by mtnman37879, Oct 16, 2015.

  1. mtnman37879
    Joined: Oct 2015
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    Location: Tazewell, Tennessee

    mtnman37879 Junior Member

    Howdy all. I'm new to this forum and am amazed at the wealth of knowledge here. I'm beginning a project for a live aboard 14x60 steel, scow hull sternwheeler. Yes I've read all the pros and cons of a flat bottom and a sternwheel. This is a river boat and will never see saltwater. Mostly it will be on the Tenn-Tom system. I've looked at a lot of old houseboat hulls with the thought of rebuilding and lengthening. Those ideas have been nixed. Lake boats are not riverboats, I want a more robust hull. I plan to hire a local metal fab company to build the bare hull, then park it at my place and I'll finish her at my leisure. So my question is, Where would I go to purchase a set of plans for a 14'x60' scow hull?
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Are you really set on a scow type? A flat bottom and a sternwheel will have little maneuverability. You can always have a bow thruster to help. However, in cross winds the bow will weathercock. In some scow barges they add a skeg on the bow to correct some of that problem. Ultimately, most boats are built because that is what the owner wants, so your choices are as good as any. I think that yards that build commercial barges may have stock plans and may give you a better price for a build.
     
  3. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    There's this one designed by William Garden, drawings are at Mystic Seaport. Get them for reference and build yours shorter and narrower. Most stock scow designs will be a lot higher sided than you need or want.

    Sternwheeler.jpg
     
  4. jimburden
    Joined: Oct 2015
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    jimburden Junior Member

    My favorite past time the last two years is looking for boat bargains world wide. I have seen possibly 15 to 20 small sternwheelers, some of them dinner cruise or tour boats but most house boats for sale in the central US into the south. Few have been bargains. On the other hand building a boat by using foam blocks costing about one to two dollars a cubic foot and surrounding them with thermal welded PVC plastic sheets is my latest fad idea. The barge or river boat type hull draw about two inches of water before building a cabin and it can not sink or be functionally damaged in the worst possible grounding or collision. Thinner PV sheets or tubes deform over the foam and bounce back. Punctures do not take on water and many bead foam examples I have seen float thirty years after being exposed even in freeze thaw situations. You can take 16 inch diameter by 40 foot long PVC thin wall 50 PSI irrigation tubes and vaccume computer controlled wire cut round foam billets inside them to stiffen up the walls. You can taper cut the ends with a plastic sheet onto each end to or even make pointed bow and stern the same way and get structural strength included without an interior rib and Keel structure. You can make a giant pontoon boat with two of these tubes and a spaninng structure up to about 24 foot in beam suing five inch by five inch square PVC tubes used for fence posts sold by lumber yards or better American Fence. These can be heavy base solvent glued together or screwed if you're squemish about building a large boat like a ginant plastic model you can use galvanized self tapping 3/8 th screws. The tubes can be put together with an internal coupling made from slightly smaller heavier wall tubing. This give seamless tubes in any of four different wall thicknesse up to 80 feet to 120 feet long. Look at the full Kroy industries irrigation tubing chart and the foam company in Mead Nebraska or one of their susideraries. If you build a catamarn or tri-hull pontoon boat like this and seal the ends with an air bag or flaps across both ends you can make a surface effect ship pontoon boat that fully loaded will rarely exceed six inches in flat water draft
     
  5. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    jimburden, could you tell us about your background and experiences related to boat design and construction?
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Nothing to worry about here, David. I've found (repeatedly) that professionals tend to show their colors and experience, with the way they write. Jim isn't showing these typical signs. For example a 16" diameter thin wall PVC tube is about 16 pounds per linear foot. Assuming sealed ends a single 40' tube supports about 9,070 pounds at 8" of draft. So a 40' pontoon can carry about 8 tons, which isn't especially impressive, so let's add a third toon and she's now able to carry just a smidge over 12 tons. Wow, I've been doing it wrong all these years.

    [​IMG]

    This is one of my riverboat designs, though no paddle wheel, many have thought a couple of stacks, aft of the pilothouse and a wheel out back, would suit her. It's not something I'd recommend, but I do understand the love affair. Anyway my point is, I guess I should have made it a pontoon, as this boat is river capable and doesn't come anywhere close, to the displacement the plastic pontoon model suggested by Jimburden would.
     
  7. jimburden
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    jimburden Junior Member

    The boat drawing provided by PAR is a good looking classic design and much better looking than any I ever remember seeing for sale or in the basins in Minneapols St Paul where I saw several up close. if classic style is desired this is as good.

    My boat interests are strictly ammature or inmature if PAR thinks so. I have never claimed to be a professional in any way. I make many errors in judgement. We all have a long way to go to perfect basic design and materials use towards improved user utility. Keeping costs low appeals to me and this was a cost reducing shallow draft light weight suggestion not to convert a preset plan or materials choice within a tolerated deeper draft format. This is a boat option that does not exisit anywhere I am aware of. The displacements are about half of PARs figures. He is correct as the pontoon free board is not over 50% without compressing air between the pontoons SES fashion or filling in with foam and sheeting between to reduce the draft in flat waters. The PVC tubes are available up to 48 inches and very heavy walls but the costs, weights and problems rise disproportunatly. I was never envisioning a 40 foot long boat with a heavy steel or wood cabin. 60 feet to 100 feet is more the length of larger comfortable live aboard house boats that I assume are more desireible to live on. One issue is solved in an unsinkable foam displacement boat. A fire sprinkler system in the cabins and over the whole top for near by structure or boat fire suppression will not sink or damage the boat as so many boats have been lost to fires or sunk dock side in trying to put them out from the outside. After all a boat sitting on an unlimited water water supply should have a $2,000 investment in eliminating fire hazards. Possibly two small redundant electric high pressure mist pumps and small tubes that are easier to install with conventional dry or antifreeze heads.

    There is no doubt if you want a river boat to be built like an ice class trawler to bulldoze snags you will want thicker steel. I am thinking about lighter boats that can go over the top of bars and snags. I was raised by the B.C. Burden family that boated the Missouri river between Platsmouth and Nebraska city in wood, fiberglass, sheet steel and aluminum cabin and fishing boats since the early 1930s. I grew up from the late 1940s around barges, dredges, rock barges and bouy tenders tieing up at the family property and watched them work and heard stories of problems. The most prevalent problem for me was grounding in the many shallows. I loved to go up and tie up in the back waters without though of dept. If you need to hull heavy loads and do not care to go into the shallows then steel is a good choice I dream of shallow draft boats that are as larger than deep draft boats because they are lower in cost but can travel where even canoes would bottom out if heavily loaded. If you can see the waters surface you probably should be able to go there safely and get back out. the problem is how to design such boats. No doubt the structures have to be light. Aluminum and carbon increases materials and fabrication costs so this is why Im trying to come up with a sytem to get more boat for less money. Maybe there is someone else who would like to travel the swamps and mud flats without worrying about running aground. Maybe someone who reads this can redirect me to such a go anywhere shallow draft, low cost boat thread or forum. Older narrow cabin walk around house boats of all lengths are lower in resale value than full cabin width boats. After-all many smaller classic stern wheelers had full width board walls for greater freight capacity on the lower decks which often overhung the hull sides. PARs design may have a full width cabin with a deliniated rail line after the wheel house. There are a few arch window older tour boats for sale that are built this way as canal boats in Europe and England. If reducing the draft seems to be an issue then double decking a cabin concentrates the load and makes the floor plan multi level inconvienient needing a deeper draft. If you want a harder hull skin and stiff the weight goes up if the cabin is merely a soft structure riding on a hard steel hull. Old wood river boats were flexible lower section moment hull and cabin that is not carrying much span or twisting load to reduce weight. bridging was used to mmake up the diference. The design that I was proposing is intended to repeatedly flex without much resistance. Cyclic service life and failure issues have to be improved with stronger and more attachment points than the moments of the hull and cabin parts. In deep ocean swells this is not the boat design but for rivers it goes where other common boats are unable to. swing up rudders and steering center boards control the side drifting problem and the introduction of a drag panel that serves as a speed brake panel is useable as a water and mud bottom anchor to give this idea some of the windage resistance and energy bleeding of heavier boats for greater control with less fuel use. When needed this proposal can give possitive controll like being mounted on wheels for emergency stops from the higher speed per unit of power provided. Paddel wheels are inefficienct but can be slightly improved if two side by side stern wheels can be counter thrusted for Twin propo engine steering control and have end plates to reduce tip losses. Using a diferential steering idea from many ilitary taks mae pivot stering possible but nothing beats a side wheeler for control. but the buckets are more vulnerable.

    Using the exterior cabin walls to provide the stiffness is required to reduce weight going down to an attachment Point in the middle of the outer pontoons in the proposal I was trying to describe. Pointed scow ends are possible as described. Nothing I am suggesting is for a heavier structure or to arrive at a walk around deck boat. There are many steel canal barge hulls in the Netherlands that are old and cheap with hulls similar to PERs good lokking baot. but still fairly leak free that draw between about two to three feet. A few have been shipped to the US and Canada as private boats with occasionally one coming up for sale that I have seen in the adds. Many live aboard canal boats use the cabin roof as the full length deck. The family boat I grew up with named Mark Twain had a two thirds cabin deck like this built in about 1933 as a small six berth river cabin cruiser of common design 35 feet long, My grand father cut out the bow and installed a second set of controls so he could look right down into the water ahead not that he could see anything as it was all muddy, but he could see snags and just underwater pileings.
     
  8. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    I presume you have searched existing designs and come up empty (first step) the next is a consultation with an N.A. There are plenty lurking around here and if you know what you want to achieve the time and money will be well spent. You might also post in 'projects' and 'construction' threads.

    You can get lots of good free advice here but don't be surprised that everyone sees this as a giant lawn ornament you want to spend you life building slightly faster than it rots. You have a very large whimsy budget for a guy looking to save by building himself.

    My one suggestion would be to design the boat completely now to be modular -You build the house/accommodations to be hauled and mated to the hull. tankage, and propulsion built fresh not long before it launches and not far from where it launches.
     
  9. mtnman37879
    Joined: Oct 2015
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    Location: Tazewell, Tennessee

    mtnman37879 Junior Member

    Well, about the budget, I'm selling a large tract of land, half of that is going in the boat, the other half will purchase a dockable lot on either the Tennessee or Cumberland rivers here in Tennessee (have to have a place to ride out the winters). The reason for building it myself is that way I get exactly what I want. I plan on living in her for a Long long time.
    Modular it the only way to go. The upper structure will be removable as will the 2' walkways running the length. I may even wait to set the wheel until she's ready to launch. The bare hull will be 14'x60' easily moved.
    I'm no stranger to big building projects, this one will be complete in two years. I could build the hull, I have the skill and talent but unfortunately I don't have the machinery required. So I'm contracting the bare hull build, this is why I need detailed drawings. I've not had much luck finding plans on line, hence the question "Where to Purchase".
    Propulsion is the easy part, IH DT466, Allison 545, truck rear end(modified). All from a low mileage school bus. Chained to the wheel. Bow and stern thrusters are also a necessity. Built by me utilizing outboard motor lower units in a pipe and DC motors. House and thruster electric will come from a forklift battery charged by the main engine and solar panels.
    Back to hull plans, a NA is not really necessary as there are millions of scow bow barges out there and I can scale up or down the drawings as required.
     

  10. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    So you will build close to the water and launch from your land?

    About the NA, I don't expect to tell you they are necessary. I will suggest that one be consulted. Do you know what you need to do to register this as a boat? Do you expect to insure it, finance it, or ever sell it? Do you know what your liability will be if this (big) thing ends up obstructing traffic or harming property or health? NA's also know a lot about how to make boats that last and are cheap to maintain. I believe I know a lot about building boats and far too little to attempt your project without consulting an NA.

    Your plan seems to include a lot of parts that are bigger than normal but designed for some other purpose. Do you have engineering skills?

    I know that there are lots of barge hulls. I don't see the value in building another one if they are suitable to your needs -the used one would be a small fraction of the cost to build. If you are going to build one I would assume that the builder has parametric design capability. You just need your SOR to quote.
     
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