Starting a new project... Sternwheeler!

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

  1. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

    Whew, quite a few replies since I could get back and really read them all. :)

    First... At this moment, I really am set on functional paddles. So, the quest will be to figure out how to make it work will be an interesting exercise. Perhaps an exercise in futility, I'll admit -- Perhaps in the end I'll end up going with props, but... That decision really is a ways off yet.

    Second! Thank you for the links. Many of them I had been reading before, but there were a few I hadn't seen yet. Those are proving entertaining and educational. It's nice to see some decent pictures of the REALLY old paddlewheelers!

    About the herringbone wheels... I've seen pics of folks who have created them. I've also seen the warnings about reduced reverse capabilities... Is there a way to make a "self-reversing" herringbone wheel practically? Another exercise in engineering. :)

    I have been rethinking the hydraulic drive system... I think it would give the smoothest paddle movement, but as was pointed out... Hydraulics aren't terribly efficient and do create a bit of an eco-hazard... So I am thinking about a more mechanized solution... Ideas would be welcome since this seems to be the one area that is least documented... At least for more "modernized" drive systems using an internal combustion engine instead of the traditional steam engine.

    And, finally... I talked to the guy again in a little more detail. He had the hull checked out by a survey outfit and the *HULL* is sound, aside from a few minor welding repairs that need to be done when she's pulled out next. The structure that currently sits atop it is toast. It can't be saved, and I wouldn't even if it could - it's all wrong for my vision of this boat...

    I went below decks and gave everything a closer inspection... Unfortunately, the bulkheads have all been cut through. Access hatches were cut, but not re-sealed with pressure doors... So, that's something that I'll need to correct when I yank her out of the water too.

    I also got a better explanation of why he's not only selling, but selling so cheaply... He's had this thing for 2 years and has been trying to sell it since he bought it... Certain things in his personal life (which I won't divulge here) have prevented him from following through with his own vision (remarkably similar to my own!) and he's being forced to sell at a loss just to unload it and free up the money currently being spent for slip and upkeep (such as it is). He's actually taking a pretty hefty loss on this boat because of it.

    His loss, potentially my gain... The hull itself looks as if it's been replated. The underside plating simply doesn't look as old as the rest of the boat, but he can't confirm that since it wasn't done by him.

    The hull does need a good cleaning and painting inside to curb the corrosion that's already begun, however. That alone will be a solid summer's worth of work - I don't have to pull her out of the water for this part though, so I can take my time.

    Hopefully, I'll be able to begin ripping the nasty bits out of the structure in the next couple of weeks and begin prep for this summer's move to another dock in the same marina. New flooring, insulation and walls will be put up to prep her for this coming winter (I know, right? Winter isn't even over yet and I'm already thinking about NEXT winter!)

    So... There's a little more info and explanation. I'll start taking more pix and get them posted up as things happen. This year will be pretty slow though... Next year is when I plan for the real work to begin!
  2. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 8
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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

    Minor update... Upper deckwork has been removed. Still stacking all the old planking on the bow... Next up... Re-seal the roof then begin tearing apart the interior.

    This is phase one... Just make it livable and usable as a home.

    Phase 2 is repairing the hull where it needs repair.

    Phase 3 will be when I rip the existing structure off and begin rebuilding it into a usable, self-powered vessel...

    Let the fun begin! :)
  3. KnottyBuoyz
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    Location: Iroquois, Ontario

    KnottyBuoyz Provocateur & Raconteur

    Pictures please!
  4. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
    Posts: 8
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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

    Soon as I get back in town... Had to go out of town before I could get pix, and it was dark by the time we finished stripping the deck planking... heh...

    I'll start an album on Flickr or something and keep it updated.... Just gotta get back home first. x.x :)
  5. Crazy
    Joined: Feb 2012
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    Location: Minneapolis, MN

    Crazy Totally Whacked

  6. Clyde2001
    Joined: Feb 2015
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    Location: Pepin, WI

    Clyde2001 Junior Member

    For what it is worth, and not being a professional designer or "expert" by any stretch of the imagination, just for what it is worth...........

    Hydraulics do work well on a paddle-wheel. Had a 50 foot stern-wheeler for 12 years and used a Kubota 36 hp diesel driving an Eaton variable displacement pump with Eaton 600 series motors, chain coupled to the wheel shaft. This set-up gives you forward and reverse and speed control all in one lever.
    Worked fine. Fuel consumption was something like 1 gallon per hour at 8 mph. Not the fastest thing in the world, but if that is your goal, I would just build a jet-ski.
    Paddle wheels are not all that noisy. Only time you would really notice the bucket slap was going under a bridge.
    Word of caution is that they don't steer all that well and tend to be a lot of work in a wind. Split stern-wheels on a boat your size might make sense.
    Hope the project goes well!

  7. PaulTGarrett
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Pinellas Park, FLA

    PaulTGarrett Junior Member

    Read through this thread to see the design that I came up with for my sternwheeler. I haven't finished it yet due to money but the hull is at least partially complete.

    As far as some suggestions, your hull is the bare minimum length/width ratio suggested from a number of sources. Don't worry too much about hydraulic drives on split wheels, that's what I'm using. Keep all the hydraulics inboard and use a final chain drive out to the wheels. No, hydraulics are not the most efficient means of power transfer, but they are easy to construct and easy to maintain.

    Read over my posts on the thread I suggested for your wheel design. My design plans were completely my own but I did have a marine Architect look over them and give them his approval before construction started.

    Good luck on your build! Maybe we'll pass each other on the water sometime!
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