Steel Boatbuilding near Baltimore, MD?

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by kevinz, Aug 21, 2017.

  1. kevinz
    Joined: Mar 2017
    Posts: 4
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    Location: Baltimore, MD, USA

    kevinz New Member

    I'm exploring the idea of building a steel sailboat. I live in Baltimore, Maryland, and wondered if there's anyone within a hour's drive who I could visit and ask question of concerning their experience building a boat in steel. I think I would prefer an amateur builder or small shop, but if someone wanted to invite me into their commercial steel boat-building operation, I'd jump at the chance!

    I'll bring the lunch and/or beer! Anyone I can visit with?

    Thanks for considering this.

    -Kevin
     
  2. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 330
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    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    I suppose it begs the question "how fast do you drive" :)
    If you have a list of specific questions you might want to post them here. General questions are hard to answer and for those I would strongly suggest picking up a copy of Tomas Colvin's book - it's a fantastic resource. Some things are a bit dated, but you'll get the idea. Kasten Marine has some good articles online.

    Here is our backyard project:
    Building PepeBerrou – Building a dream, keeping living http://boatmutts.ca/

    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  3. kevinz
    Joined: Mar 2017
    Posts: 4
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    Location: Baltimore, MD, USA

    kevinz New Member

    Mark, thanks for the reply. Thanks, especially, for the link to your project. I read through all the pages. Thanks for all your efforts to document and share your experiences.

    I've read Colvin from cover to cover at least twice so far. But, I wonder how much of his advice is still sound. I don't think lofting a boat is still necessary, for instance. You and your wife didn't seem to loft your boat, but instead relied on CAD. You also had an NC firm machine your frames; this wasn't available to Colvin. I would have sworn that it would be impossible to weld complete frames together without laying them out on a flat surface; you all seem to have welded them in mid-air. So, I'm trying to get a sense of how folks build steel boats today, and it seems like the most efficient way, especially in the beginning when my questions aren't well formed, is to visit with someone and ask them questions.

    I have lots and lots of questions. Most of these should really be in their own thread:
    • How much room do you need? What are the essential tools needed, and which are the ones that aren't essential, but pay for themselves? What's important in a boat-building structure. I'll probably have to rent shop space to build my boat.
    • How much time should be allotted? I'm thinking a year of full-time work to build and finish the hull, a year to complete the interior and rigging and a year to sew the sails. Is this realistic?
    • What are the costs? I'm planning $20,000 per year for each of the three years. Is this realistic? I know about trade-offs between cutting your own frames and having a firm NC cut them.
    • Is finding a steel supplier and NC machining firm a couple-day job of searching around the web and making phone calls? Baltimore seems to have at least a half-dozen steel supply companies (one of the advantages of working in a big city). Will they work with small, one-purchase buyers?
    • What's the real skinny on steel boat designers and naval architects? Do some design boats that are easier for amateurs to build? Are some easier to work with than others (responsiveness to questions, general pleasantness, attentiveness to small builders and not just multi-boat firms, etc.)? How do you choose the design to build? I have a one-page description of what I want in a boat, but probably hundreds of designs could fulfill my requirements. How do you choose a designer and architect?
    And, lots more questions like these.

    Thanks, again, for your suggestions and thoughts.

    -Kevin
     
  4. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 330
    Likes: 68, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 527
    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    Hi Kevin,

    I'll keep this a bit short.
    -Murielle does all the web page stuff - so it's her effort documenting things
    - Only read Colvin twice ? my copy is falling apart. :)
    -you are correct thinking about the lofting, we didn't, the NC cutting gets you mm accuracy. This of course means you need good plans.
    -plasma cutter is a must have
    -safety gear is important - it's a bit of a nasty workplace sometimes.
    -Murielle designed / lofted our boat, so we only committed funds in a phased approach to avoid losses if it all went south. In hindsight it would have been better working under some sort of structure (coverall).
    -We didn't source pre blasted steel, and just did this ourselves before building. It might be easier to find in your location and would be a good thing to do if you are working indoors.
    -Price - this depends on the boat !

    Murielle has contact info on her website, or you can leave a comment on any page and we could chat on the phone / skype sometime. It sounds like you have an idea of what you want to do.... so we can just try to talk you out it ... ;)

    Mark
     
  5. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 330
    Likes: 68, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 527
    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    Hi Kevin,

    We certainly could bring input to many of your questions. This is our second build and we have learnt a lot on "home building" as much from choices we would make again as from things we would do differently, but also based on many other projects we have watched progress, succeed or not...

    I was actually thinking of adding a section on our website about tools, fun and endless subject (multiple grinders, best of clamps, tons of safety gear...) ...all that I would like to add to the website, but so busy getting that boat done.

    As for your questions regarding cost and time, it is directly related to the boat you chose to build. Your one year of budget would not buy either our steel or our sails.

    I did build the ribs on flat surface but not on the floor as it is not flat enough to our liking and ergonomically not as nice to work on as bench height. I built 3 big welding tales with adjustable feet and, for each rib, I positioned them and leveled them using a laser level as my working plateform. That would be in the section of "what I would do again".

    Cheers, Murielle
     

  6. M&M Ovenden
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 330
    Likes: 68, Points: 38, Legacy Rep: 527
    Location: Ottawa

    M&M Ovenden Senior Member

    You'll find the answer to this question in Arthur Beiser's "The Proper Yacht". I've lent out my copy, so I can't look up the quote at the moment.
     
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