Requesting Small Sternwheeler hull design and analysis help

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by phrogjlf@yahoo, Nov 18, 2014.

  1. phrogjlf@yahoo
    Joined: May 2006
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    I apologize if you're offended, though I'm not quite sure how I may have offended you. Feel free to elaborate, and I will certainly try to explain what I missed, in my frustration with getting suggestions, except something close to what I'm going for.

    If I wanted something else, I'd be trying to build something else. If pontoons and cats could get here, that might be an option. If used boats weren't beyond my means, it might be a different story. If I could afford a Naval Architect, I'd be paying one.

    Usually I have either about 1 ft at the shore, or 8-20 ft of mudflat, between the shore and the waters' edge. It fluctuates. A relatively flat hull will distribute the weight, when she's aground. A low deadrise gives me wiggle room, where a flat bottom sticks in this muck. If I had grass and weeds to slide on, a flat bottom would work. I have a silt/clay muck, instead.

    As shallow as it is, we have weeds that foul props. Paddlewheels don't snag as often, even in marshes, because they push the plant, not twist, and they rarely extend below the hull, which allows much shallower water passage.

    They've been around for a long time, both for work and for pleasure. The term 'towboat' comes from pushing a 'tow', not from pulling. A tow was an assembly of barges, or even logs rafted for the mill. They were pushed by sternwheelers, even boats like what we now have as floating casinos and hotels, while carrying passengers.

    Once again, I apologize if I hurt anyone's feelings, but I really don't think this is nearly as difficult as it's being made into. If nobody wants to run this through their computer, fine. I'll start with what I have and see where it gets me. Worst that can happen is one of those unfinished projects. At least this thread has helped me coalesce the idea and condense it into a complete idea, not some weird 'what-if'... At the end of the day, and at the end of the project, I'm still the guy that has to buy the materials, do the labor and live with the results.
     
  2. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If you can't lift over 20lb, forget about building a boat. It is hard work, which all of us doing it know. 20lb is what my tool belt often weights.
     
  3. phrogjlf@yahoo
    Joined: May 2006
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    LEGALLY, I can't, as in for paying-work... OSHA kinda regs. I've hauled 3/4" plywood, routinely get the 50# bag of dog food, Once in a great while I've done the 80# bag of cement. I have to be careful how I do it, with stuff like sheets of plywood and the 80# bag of cement. the 50# bag of dog food, I throw on my shoulder, if I feel up to it, otherwise I have the boys bring it in.

    Won't be needing a loaded tool belt, since I'm not going anywhere with the tools. I've been a carpenter, I know what a tool belt weighs. I figure a 24 oz ripping-hammer, tape measure, chalk box, speed square, pencil, nails and screws sounds close to 20#... Been up more than a few ladders, across more than a few rafters, hung off the side, while nailing sheathing on the 2nd story,... Humped shingles and rolls of roofing felt. Even laid some cinder-blocks/haydock-blocks and tied up to 2" rebar (form carpenter on an overflow dam). Done it in the cold and rain, done it without a shirt in 100*+ heat. Been a tanker (Armor Crewman) and wrestled with little-Joe

    (not me, but he's holding Little Joe)
    [​IMG]

    Blew the disk at Ft. Knox ('84), then again in W. Germany ('87). Latst scan result says 'Partial Bony Fixation of the Lumbar Spine'... (Bone-spurs, fusing around the bad disks)

    It may take me a bit longer than a healthy young buck, but I ain't dead, either. 1st step is a temporary shop... 1" X 3"-s and Visqueen., with plywood, over pallets for a floor. Roll out the propane shop heater and Ol' Man Winter will be a minor nuisance.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I can relate to all the injuries. There isn't a tradesman over forty without a whole collection of them. Have you considered a jet drive. Paddle wheels do snag. Imagine the paddles of a kitchen mixer in giant size. A jon boat type hull will have the least draft.
     
  5. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    Yessir, I did finally work around to a jon-boat hull. It's basically the size ot 2, as wide as I need it, but still slightly better than a 2:1 Length to beam ratio. It has just a little deadrise, so I can wiggle loose from the muck we have. A flat-bottom builds a suction, whether it's a canoe, kayak, or jon-boat. See post #28...

    Another problem is the lack of transition, up to the transom. and proportions. I don't know how to scale the bow curve. Looks too far back, to my eyes. I also found a decent sternwheel profile that I think fits the general outline, from transom-to-bow, along the keel. I think the curve needs to be moved forward, but I don't know how to fiddle with it.

    Personal opinion, not experience, here, but a jet-drive is going to have the intake dropped in the muck, at least where we are... I foresee problems...

    Nice thing about a sternwheeler is that they do not extend below the hull. You'll scrape bottom and still not be too likely to hit the wheel. I believe I might be able to build so that the wheels can be lifted clear of the water. I also plan to try those plastic deck-planks, for the buckets (paddles), in an effort to overcome the tendency to get unbalanced, when the bottom of the wheel sits too long in the water. By splitting the wheel into halves, I get some added maneuverability and can use 2 smaller motors, rather than one large one, that needs a chain-drive. I have a few options I'm looking into, in that department.
     
  6. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Jeff, I booted at Ft. Knox (well before you) and am well versed with "little Joe", also having intimate knowledge of the degenerative disk issues.

    I'm not offended, but anyone that thinks they can use paint and cotton duck, with a half century life cycle, is way behind what I can consider rational. I've installed, repaired and replaced these types of sheathings many dozens of times and there's just no way, you can even think about this type of service (less then 10 years is normal). This coupled with other "ideas" and comments suggest, it looks to me, you need a lot of research into the materials, for example truck bed liner. I've been involved with one of the major formulators for these products for a number of years, performing in field testing. It's not a magic goo in a can and for the most part simply falls into one of three chemical concoctions, which are mostly vehicle "slight" formulations of paint. A few show promise, but don't hold your breath. The same would be true of paddle wheel propulsion systems. If you're that bent on it, no logic or reasoning will convince you to ignore the interweb hysteria from some, usually undocumented and uneducated ramblings. Given the cost of fuels, if there was anything close to the efficiency suggested by some of these "folks", don't you think every major player the in shipping industry, would have stern wheelers all over the world. Simply put, it's one of the worst propulsion methods, in spite of what some interweb nut jobs may have mentioned in a blog somewhere.

    An NA or designer can spend a live time of study, experience and testing developing a low cost, easy to build, inexpensive to operate, efficient craft. They'll admit they got lucky and fell back of previous experience with the "model". I know I have, but you're looking for the holly grail with your first shot out of the gate, again suggesting you need more research and study about the various engineering disciplines involved. Hence my failed attempt at a logical spank down, in my previous post and my apologies.
     
  7. phrogjlf@yahoo
    Joined: May 2006
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    My sincere apologies, once again. I did find ref. to a Chris Craft with the original fabric, or I would not have mentioned it. I do NOT consider paint and canvas a viable option, and aircraft dope, as adhesive for the fabric is an even worse choice.

    That said, I DO have an aversion to fiberglass and intend to use newer fabric and epoxy replacement techniques, that are being used in marine environments, commercially. Not so much as a hull reinforcement, but as a better wood protection than paint, with the better sealing properties of epoxy, then use good marine enamel over that, unless someone with experience thinks there's an even better solution worth investigating.

    I don't think the sternwheel is the most efficient propulsion, and never intended to imply that.

    My attempt is at building a boat I want, that I can get in and out of here with, that I can also get unstuck from the muck. I want her to look good, when finished, but I plan on using as as light a construction as I can, for everything except the hull, some framing, and necessary attachments. Everything that sits on the deck, and above will be framed light and use either door-skin and foam infill panels, or other light structure. I have an advantage in that department, in that I have also studied theatre, set design, and construction. Infill wall panels will be designed to be popped-out for pleasant and hot weather, where mosquito net will suffice. The roof will probably be the corrugated fiber stuff from Lowe's/Home Depot, with the aluminized bubble-wrap heater insulation and a ceiling of thin melamine wallboard, or some such.

    I have no fantasy of it being a yacht, or a live-aboard. Being able to untie and take off for a few hours is fine and the power and drive systems chosen are light and intended for light use. Being able to travel with enough gear to camp for a night, or so, is well within what I'm doing.

    Going back to the 2-jon-boat ref. If I used the same material to build 2 jon-boats, for the same hull displacement, I should be able to load all the structure materials into one, the passengers and camping gear in the other, then operate each, given 1/2 the battery and one of the trolling motors.

    It sounds like a lot, but it's a big jon-boat, with a light superstructure and barely enough room to piddle-fart around in. The entire cabin structure space would barely make a decent walk-in closet. Personally, I've lived in less space, by myself and it's to be my private space, out of a crowded house, not some loaded bachelor-pad, or glorified man-cave.

    None of this is cheap, but it can be done at $150 at a time, for the most part, given the free labor and skills I have. I believe in using brain-sweat, over brawn. I've tried to think through everything, in as much detail as possible.

    I'll get everything except the sternwheels and their drives done, add sandbag equivalents for that, then adjust the batteries, as ballast, and put as much flotation foam in as I can, readjusting the batteries as needed. Most of the weight will be down in the hull.

    I'm figuring on about 6 hp, from either both trolling motors, or both wheel motors. In a pinch, I could probably use both for a short burst, if absolutely necessary. Maybe 5 knots on still water, most of the time.

    It sounds expensive, even from where I sit, for our budget. Cheap as a floating dock would be to build, given the same features, for the same purpose, it would actually cost more, right here. Environmental impact studies, utilities, emergency personnel access,... I asked.

    If I had to buy everything upfront, I couldn't.
     
  8. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I designed a faux stern wheeler (50') some years ago. They wanted the look of the paddles, but needed some efficiency and especially maneuverability. I employed 3 outboards, hidden under a deck box, just forward of the two wheels. The wheels turned with the thrust and motion of the boat, though the outboards could be steered, greatly improving maneuverability and efficiency. I even had wheel cranks coming out of the sides of the engine boxes, so the look was complete. The outboards could be raised, limited draft at their slip, which in Florida is always a concern. Draft was in the 12" range with the engines up.

    For Jon boats to be efficient, they need to be fairly narrow and light. getting them light is easy enough in this size, but you'll have to live with the limited elbow room. From a cost point of view, it would be easier with the fake wheel and an good used outboard, down in a well, covered with a box. You can put some exhaust stacks on top of the box to complete the look if desired. If you do this, I'd use the stacks as air intakes for the outboard.
     
  9. phrogjlf@yahoo
    Joined: May 2006
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    I've considered the fake wheel, even being able to use one to turn a light generator, in the current, as a trickle-charger. For the sternwheel(s), I am looking at using an/a-pair-of ev hubmotor(s), from either scooters, or motorcycles, if the price comes down, then may still be able use it/them as generator(s), in regen mode. It IS the look, more than the power, as long as the props stay above the bottom of the hull, like most sternwheel rudders do. I would still rather go electric, but she isn't even up to the first sheet of plywood, yet... That could change.

    Ballast should remain relatively unchanged, light hubmotors vs hubs, light outboard vs 2 trolling motors...

    Push comes to shove and I need to move her fast, I expect the transom to be able to handle small outboards, in place of the trolling motor/rudders. If I set the slave cylinder right, then use linkage to the trolling motors, I could set the cylinder right for one small outboard and use Pitman arm/tie-rod linkage for the trolling motors/rudders, simple Model T type linkage.

    (I guess it's still called the slave cylinder. I'm planning on the double-cable setup, not the hydraulic)
     
  10. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    Tired. Forgot to ask, do you have pics? I'd love to see them, sometime. I'm is several steamboat/riverboat/sternwheeler/paddlewheeler groups, even one for just the whistles... :p

    When I got out of the Army, I was very probably one of the last active-duty people qualified on M-48s, M-60s and M-1s at the same time. Lucked out and got the M-48 qual., because Brigade needed a qualified and licensed driver for the display tank to get to maintenance and back.

    phrogjlf@yahoo.com
     
  11. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    Wall Panel and roof insulation...

    Since I expect to use light, removable, insulated panels for the walls, and roof/ceiling units. (remove and use mosquito netting, when necessary), and I'm a long way from making them, I have plenty of time to consider options.

    Basically I will need to make my own, thin, light SIPs, to dimensions and shapes that correspond to the cabin design. That means foam, adhesive, edge framing (1" X1", or 2" X 2").

    One option is DIY Mico-Foam panels. They would actually be stronger and lighter, IF I can do it with what I know and have already researched (less adhesive than bonding to sheet foam).

    Grow your own...?

    Over the course of about 2 weeks, I would stuff and grow, stuff and grow mushroom mycellium. That does NOT involve mushrooms, just the initial inoculum, some growth-media (spent grain, lawn-clippings), and a way to keep them warm, w/o over-heating, then drying them out, heating up to kill the mycellium, and sealing the panels with paint.

    There IS an expensive kit, but the information is out there, if you know what to look for.

    http://www.ecovativedesign.com/

    The mushroom type they use is a common, edible mushroom, and kits for growing as culinary mushrooms, are far cheaper and I can use yard-clippings to increase the volume of the material.

    End result, depending on the paint and adhesive (around the edges), is hypoallergenic, light, sturdy, compostable, edible (if you're Ewell Gibbons), and naturally fire resistant.

    A second, still compostable, option is to fill the panels with glued-up corrugated cardboard. Light, cheap, readily available (often free), easily made fire-resistant (Borax solution), but, generally, less sturdy.

    An additional optional covering is the epoxy/fabric method I plan to use on the hull (to protect the wood and help seal it better)... Significantly stronger, slightly heavier, much more durable. Use the right Epoxy and a natural-fiber fabric and it is STILL compostable...!

    In essence, I'm building light, slightly insulated doors, with some sort of glazing.

    Which ever I use will be an experiment. Wall panels will be fitted with some simple latch mechanism, to secure them in place. Their main purpose is to close off the interior, for privacy, protect the interior from less desirable weather and some semblance of a secure structure, when unoccupied. I can use foam tape to help seal the edges, when they are in place.

    Top and bottom edges can have a lap, to help shed rain and condensation to the outside and help keep water out.

    Short of building a heavy, floating fortress, No amount of structure is going to be all that secure...
     
  12. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    Since I already plan on the twin trolling motors, would it be feasible to do a triple outboard steering configuration, with a small outboard between the trolling motors? Cuts any need to tote a generator, allows either/or, or even both, for power, if absolutely necessary... The trolling motors can be mounted almost up against the wheel-arm/sponsons, to give clearance to the outboard.

    Given a slight bump-in, into the cabin area, with a panel that opens, I could use a vertical-stow type mount, like I think I remember for yachts, to get the motor up, out of the water, when not in use, or to work on it... Trolling motors would normally stay down, as they will also be the active rudders, assisting in maneuvering, since she'll be so wide.
     
  13. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    If you install the biggest twin trolling motor setup you can (105 lbs. of thrust each), you're going to be lucky to see a few MPH. Yeah it sucks, but welcome to the world of trolling motors which are proped to push at this speed. You can fool around with different props, which are really hard to find, but mostly it's a power verses weight thing and with a couple HP of electrics, this is what you get. 3 MPH is about the speed most folks walk at, so it's pretty slow and now reserve for windage (which you'll have lots of) contrary winds, contrary currents, chop and wakes.

    Electrics can be used (motor, shaft, prop, not trolling), but costs will be very high, even compared to custom building a set of wheels, then there's the storage issue, which is one of the big drawbacks to electric. Currently electric isn't viable for most applications, but the day is coming, given recent advances. They're still way over what gas costs though.

    The new Minn Kota is a 2 HP trolling motor, costing $3,000, at which price you can buy a new 30 HP Mercury gas outboard. You pick you poison. There's the German offerings which are powerful, but make the Minn Kota look like a steal.

    Honesty, you're best off with gas. A garden tractor engine, some belts to a shaft, maybe a go-cart transmission, so you can have reverse and neutral. You can drive a wheel directly (not a good idea) or better would be a gear set (more V belts) to drop the RPM down at the wheel, increasing torque at the same time, so you can use a relatively small engine to swing a big *** wheel.

    As to the trolling motors and outboard idea, well sure but why, you wouldn't be using them at the same time. BTW, trolling motors make lousy rudders and rudders make lousy steering devices. Yeah, they've been used for thousands of years, but the difference between vectored steering compared to a rudder, is night and day. The only time you use a rudder is if you're forced to use a rudder.
     
  14. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

    Wow, that sucks. I thought they were more powerful and efficient, now, than when I was a kid... Torqeedo (Germany) has the only ones that sound worth a flip, but it's outrageously expensive...

    Golf Cart motors start at around 5-7 HP equivalent, while even an exercise treadmill has about a 2.5 HP equivalence.

    Maybe use a heavy-duty saw worm-drive on either side of the wheel, even add a planetary reduction from a treadmill to each one, and have 2 motors drive one wheel, from both sides... Guess I have some digging to do, to see if it's possible to collect all that...
     

  15. phrogjlf@yahoo
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    Location: Texas

    phrogjlf@yahoo JL Frusha

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