Starting a new project... Sternwheeler!

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by Crazy, Feb 29, 2012.

  1. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

    Hey everyone! I just purchased an older barge platform that was previously set up as a party barge. She has no engines but the hull seems sound. She's too big for my home port to yank and do a full and proper hull inspection, but I can deal with that later down the line if some attention is necessary to the hull.

    My intentions are to build this into a sternwheeler utilizing dual wheels with hydraulic drive if there isn't a better/easier/more efficient way. I still have a great number of things to figure out, but I wanted to at least get this out there and get some feedback. I've seen a number of suggestions for the drive system, but all come from owners of much smaller sternwheelers.

    As she sits, she's in pretty rough shape. My intent is to strip everything down to the bare steel deck and rebuild from there. My idea is to make it appear like the REALLY old river boats - Mark Twain style.

    Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions? I have a LOT of time before the project even begins. Probaly a couple of years before I'm ready to yank her, clear the deck and begin building. I have a lot to design before then, however.

    Take a look at the attached image, this is what I'm starting with - She's a steel barge hull. 25ft x 70ft. If you had this, what would you do and how would you go about it?

    -Crazy!
     

    Attached Files:

  2. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 52, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    The paddle wheels should be fake, and you should use propellers to actually drive boat, they are much more efficient. Check the steel to see how she is doing on her battle against corrosion. I have owned barges, one was so corroded that we filled her with foam just to keep them afloat. Had to use for storage because she wouldn't pass inspection. Converting a barge to a self propelled commercial ship may not be a simple as you think. Check you local authorities.
    On hull and structure, I would work with surveyor and engineer first before you do anything. Then I would work with a guy that does stage props on interior and exterior facade. I have seen them build sets that look so real in no time from nothing.
    Good Luck
     
  3. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 8
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

    Dauphin,

    I completely forgot to mention this isn't for commercial use. It's intended completely for my own personal private use - It will be my home, though I may charter later on.

    As for using props... I specifically want to use paddlewheels because they're quiet and unique - not many people have paddles - dual paddles are even rarer. Sure, they'll increase my LoA, and thus increase my slip fees -- but not significantly enough to justify dropping their use. And sure, the overall cost of them may be more than outfitting for props, but that's fine too - this isn't going to be something I spend only a few months on -- this is a project that will take me many years to complete and I'll enjoy building her.

    Also, this barge isn't a square hull. She's got a fairly gentle slope in both the bow and stern, which also lends itself to the use of paddles.

    In other words... I'm pretty set on using functional paddles. :)

    I also forgot to mention that the hull does have a very slow leak and it takes several months for any significant accumulation in the hull - this will be fixed and sealed up once I can pull her out of the water.

    This was a "safe" purchase for me since the scrap value is quite a bit higher than my purchase price - so if it turns out to have major issues that I can't see right now, I can at least recover what I spent and come out ahead money-wise.

    Anyway, how should I go about building the structure? Should I frame everything up in wood? Or should I use steel beam construction? I'd like some options... but, in the end... I'd like her to LOOK like she's an all-wood vessel, an OLD riverboat...
     
  4. KnottyBuoyz
    Joined: Jul 2006
    Posts: 829
    Likes: 55, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 685
    Location: Iroquois, Ontario

    KnottyBuoyz Provocateur & Raconteur

    Looks like a fun project. I'll enjoy watching this one. :)
     
  5. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    You can join this bunch for next to nothing... http://www.americansternwheel.org/ Go to a few festivals and get lots of help.

    Here's a good site... http://users.wirefire.com/gemort/ It takes about 5 pages before you get to the contents.

    If you look around, there are some sternwheelers in your area. I remember seeing one in Hastings, I used to do work on a large one in Wabasha. There's the commercial tour boat Julia Belle Swain in LaCrosse, they might have some contacts.

    This can keep you occupied for hours and give you ideas. You can click and get full page high definition photos of all the thumbnail pics.

    http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/We...titycurrecno=1&entitytempjds=TRUE&numrecs=12
     
  6. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 1,743
    Likes: 170, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2078
    Location: California

    troy2000 Senior Member

    If you're hell-bent on stern paddle wheels, I'd say you lucked out on the configuration of your hull. At least you won't be trying to make the wheels work behind an abrupt transom....
     
  7. SamSam
    Joined: Feb 2005
    Posts: 3,817
    Likes: 153, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 971
    Location: Coastal Georgia

    SamSam Senior Member

    That's right. This site gives a bunch of small, side view lines drawings showing upswept hulls at the stern that allow water to easily feed the paddlewheel. Plus it shows various rudder shapes and arrangements and also cabin and upperworks profiles. http://modelplans.steamboats.org/paddlewheelers.html
     
  8. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,570
    Likes: 375, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    Paddle are unique, but hardly quiet. They slap the water and drip producing a fair racket. Also, sternwheelers have a single wheel in the stern. Usually they were run by a chain. Hydraulics, besides being inefficient, create the possibility of an environmental disaster if there is any leak. Either a chain drive or electric, if you want the motors at the shaft, are better.
     
  9. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 1,743
    Likes: 170, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2078
    Location: California

    troy2000 Senior Member

  10. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
    Posts: 2,164
    Likes: 52, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 575
    Location: Florida

    mydauphin Senior Member

    There is bio-happy hydraulic fluids. Been using then for years after I lost equipment in a Barge and almost got heavily fined.
     
  11. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 13,570
    Likes: 375, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 2031
    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    If you pour Crisco in the water they will fine you
     
  12. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    Herring-bone paddles are much quieter, especially if properly tuned.

    -Tom
     
  13. troy2000
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 1,743
    Likes: 170, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 2078
    Location: California

    troy2000 Senior Member

    I seem to remember reading something about them being less efficient, and more finicky about being adjusted to the proper depth.

    Lessee... google, google, google.... ah, here we go.

    I have no personal knowledge or experience with them; I'm just passing on what americansternwheel.org says. As long as I'm at it, here are a couple more quotes I found:
     
  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
    Posts: 19,133
    Likes: 471, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 3967
    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Paddles are not particularly efficient and are quite noisy, especially when you count everything all together, machine noise from power transmission, the engine, the paddles themselves, vibration, etc. Much louder then a 4 stroke outboard or well insulated inboard engine box.

    Given your hull, you'd be better off in many regards with faux paddles (free spinning wheels) and more conventional drives. The wheels will move, as the boat moves, seeming real enough, which is all that counts right.

    I designed a riverboat like this some years ago, which used outboards, hidden in wells, just forward of the wheels. It has the efficiency of it's Honda outboards, yet looks like a stern wheeler. She was a 50' vessel.

    On your boat, twin inboards would be the logical route to go, with rudders just inboard of the wheels. The wheels do present some drag to the equation, but hay, it's a barge so efficiency is really a relative thing.

    Lastly, you'd be foolish to continue without a very complete survey. You should have done this before you purchased this thing, but now that you own it, you absolutely need it. How bad could it be? Well I've inspected steel craft with plating so thin, that you could dent it with you finger and pumps that barely could keep up with the leaks or so much corrosion, that it was difficult to tell if I was looking at flat bar or angle stock stringers. 70' vessels are substantial and complex enough, that you just need to have it professionally surveyed, it's not an 18' bow rider after all.
     

  15. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
    Posts: 1,634
    Likes: 65, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 851
    Location: Mexico, Florida

    Yobarnacle Senior Member

    In my opiniom, the side wheelers were a more attractive design, though certainly less efficient. The fake paddle boxes are actually accomodation and don't increase LOA.
    I reccommend keep it as a barge, but make it look like whatever fancies you.
    For actual propulsion, pick up a small yard tug. A 6-71 with conventional shaft, prop, and rudders, and flanking rudders will do. Truckable or trailerable with tilt down house to store on the hard. Less slip fees that way.

    By all means get a survey including audio of shell plating. There is some reason it was sold cheap. Find out why!
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.