Steel builders East of the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by GoSlow, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. GoSlow
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    GoSlow Junior Member

    Are there any recommendations for good quality, financially sound US or Canadian shipyards east of the Mississippi capable of building a 70' displacement hull and superstructure from steel. Close proximty to available trades for completion of the project would be beneficial.
     
  2. captain seaweed
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    captain seaweed Junior Member

    Go Slow
    Try Washburn and Doughty in E. Boothbay Me. They're busy building tugboats for Moran but if you ca get them interested in your project they are the best.
     
  3. GoSlow
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    GoSlow Junior Member

    I'll give them a call. Thanks.
     
  4. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

  5. Rusty Bucket
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    Rusty Bucket Junior Member

    Sounds like a shrimp boat to me.

    Hey Goslow, Although there are probably 50 or more ship yards on the gulf coast between west Fla and Texas that have specialized in that size steel boat for decades. This would be a very good time to get a new one built but if it were me I'd look into a used steel shrimper. Fishermen are flocking to the gulf coast to buy thse boats at a steal and they can be converted pretty easily. Check out "Boats and Harbors", it's a trade weekly to the commercial boat building trade, lots of ads. Good luck, rusty
     
  6. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    You will soon find that most metal boat builders do not want anything to do with building yachts or boats meant for recreational purposes. That is because yacht people are too finnicky--too hard to please. Also, most shipyards are not set up to do the upscale finish work that most yacht people like. So to find a good yard that does yachts and recreational craft in metal is hard to do. Custom Steel is good.

    Eric
     
  7. Rusty Bucket
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    Rusty Bucket Junior Member

    I musta' missed something?

    Gosh.... I didn't see anything about yacht or recreational use. How do you know he's not building a tug boat? I thought he asked for a hull and superstructure to be finished by a third party. Mobile Al., Jacksonville Fl., Savannah Ga., are all easy drives from Atlanta and you're gonna send him to Nova Scotia? I guess he did say east of the Missippi. Check out PassageMaker magazine, there were quite a few adds for small commercial yards that followed the money into the trawler yacht business. I still think he ought to convert a steel shrimp boat. Rusty
     
  8. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Sorry, I may have jumped the gun with an assumtion that GoSlow wants a recreational craft rather than a commercial craft. GoSlow, can you fill us in here--for what purpose do you want your boat?

    Eric
     
  9. Rusty Bucket
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    Rusty Bucket Junior Member

    TradeWinds Bar?

    Hey Eric, Is the Tradewinds bar still open in downtown St. Agustine? I used to hang out there back in the 60's and 70's, I grew up around Palm Valley and South Ponte Vedra beach, got throwed off the stage at that music venue they built in the sand dunes south of town, met up with the band later at the tradewinds and they seemed cool with it, bought me some drinks, I guess not that many people get up and dance on the stage at a Nitty Gritty DirtBand Show but hell it seemed like the right thing to do at the time! Maybe my favorite boat of all time is a 60's DESCO shrimp boat, are there any of those still around? Used to be a few of them tied up around Usinas' fish camp. Regards, rusty
     
  10. GoSlow
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    GoSlow Junior Member

    Sorry for the delay. Eric, you're correct I'm interested in building an expedition yacht. I am familiar with Custom Steel and will make that contact. More recent concern is protection against rust. I'm sure coating technology has greatly improved over the years but it would seem chips, dings, anything that breaks the paint will be a maintenance nightmare. the durability of steel is attractive but I am now questioning the practicality if one doesn't want to be married to the rust remover and paint rig. Any thoughts.
     
  11. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    GoSlow--Yes, paint technology has come a long way, and everyone uses the very durable polyurethane paints like Awlgrip and Stirling. Sherwin Williams is now breaking into this market--durable marine paints. A steel boat is going to rust primarily from the inside out, so in the hull bottoms on the Moloka'i Strait yachts, for example, we use a paint called POR 15 (P-O-R stands for "paint over rust"). This is a very thin, rubbery black paint that covers the steel and adheres like the dickens. That prevents any water in the hull from getting at the steel. The steel of course is primed beforehand. Above the waterline, the inside of the hull is coated with about 1-2" of polyrethane foam. This, as you may know, also sticks like the dickens--try to take it off!!--and this keeps the moisture in the air on the inside of the hull from getting at the steel.

    On the outside, of course, all the surfaces are primed before painting. And if you want to take it one step further before finish coats, have the steel cleaned with Chlor-Rid.

    http://www.chlor-rid.com/

    This is an amazing product. It is a watery clear liquid that cleans the salts off the steel--I mean it really gets into the microscopic profile of the metal and chemically removes the salts. It is the salts on the metal that combine with oxygen that creates the oxides that form rust. If you get rid of the salts, oxygen cannot play a part in the creation of oxides and rust is prevented. If the steel, or aluminum, is not cleaned at the mill, it can be washed at the boatyard just prior to painting. It doesn't matter if the steel is primed--use it anyway. It is pretty amazing technology.

    After priming and washing, a yacht hull is faired with a fairing compound like Awl-Fair, which is then sanded, primed, and painted. That's if you want a yacht-like gloss finish. If that is not important to you for an expedition vessel, then go directly with the top coat primer directly onto the primed steel, and then finish with the finish top coat in the color of your choice. Lighter colors will not show the irregularities in the finish nearly as much as the darker colors.

    Finally, in any areas where you know there is going to be chafe, such as hawse holes and rubrails, fabricate these out of 316L stainless steel and weld them right to the hull. Bring any finish paint down over the weld and onto the stainless. This works well.

    Rusty--Yes, the Tradewinds Bar is still there. On Thursday nights they have open mike night. I play guitar myself,contemporary folk and comedy, although I have never really sung publicly. I did go to one of the Farmer's markets here a week or so ago and sang outside. When I did not show up this week, some of the vendors asked me to come back. So I might go again next week, and I think sometime, when I get a bit more polished, I might try the Tradewinds open mike night, just for giggles. By the way, we have just opened the newly remodelled St. Augustine Amphitheater here on Anastasia Island, and the acoustics there are really good. Little Richard played there a few weeks ago.

    Eric
     
  12. GoSlow
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    GoSlow Junior Member

    Eric, I appreciate the information. The other concern is just from general chips and dings on the decks. I was aboard a large expedition yacht a few weeks ago that was about 18 months old and the crew seemed to spend considerble time addressing rust. Anything that breaks the paint requires almost immediate attention. A chip on the deck from dropping the hose or a cell phone or who knows what and the next day a rust stain is halfway to the scupper, obviously somewhat exaggerated but you get the point. They crew seemed to always have painting chores in the engine room, inside the water tanks, just all over. Anyhow, not something I want spend an inordinate amount of time on in my retirement years while cruising. While there are great reasons to build a blue water cruiser out of steel, the paint issue is worrisome. It sounds as though the POR could do the trick in areas that don't visibly need a high level of finish. Can the polyurethane foam be sprayed on top of the POR and does that provide a sort of double coating to combat the rust? Also is there any need to have more than 1"-2" of foam for a better insulation value?

    Thanks
     
  13. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Certainly, there is always the continuing threat of dropped tools and dings on the paint coating, and yes, they should be attended to very quickly. It is a fact of life with a steel hull. You can minimize the threat with better quality paint jobs, but you will never eliminate it.

    I don't know that I would put polyurethane foam on top of the POR 15. I'd do one or the other. And I would not put the foam in the really wet areas of the bilges--that just makes the foam wet and it will likely start to mildew and stink. Keep it up higher in the hull and it will be OK. Also, make sure you have good ventilation on board to keep fresh air flowing through it--that will keep mildew and smell away.

    If you want to put more foam in, that's fine. Thicker does provide more insulation value. It will also add weight to the boat, but not that much. On my recent motoryacht designs, I have found that I can put excess weight into the structure by making the keel, bottom plating, and bottom framing heavier than necessary for strength so that I don't have to add lead ballast later. This benefits stability, strength, stiffness, and adds a lot to corrosion allowance, particularly on the bottom, and overall this makes the boat last longer. Just so that you know, the classification society scantling rules always add a corrosion allowance, usually based on a 20-year life span, because they know that on metal ships some of the hull will waste away to corrosion. So they add a little bit into the requirements just to make sure that towards the end of the life of the ship, there is still strength there. It is not uncommon for ships to extend their lives with plate and structure replacement. This follows through on yacht design and construction.

    If you are really concerned about the upkeep on a metal boat, then you might want to consider composite or wood-epoxy construction. These might not be as impervious to major impacts as a metal hull, but at least you won't have the continuing paint touch-up that you might experience on a metal hull. In the case of a major failure on a composite or wood hull, you would likely need a protected environment in a boatyard to make repairs. This is more important in a composite hull, less so with a wood hull. Wood is available everywhere and ways can be effected relatively easily to repair a wood hull temporarily to get you back to a place where proper epoxy lamination can take place. Wood and composites also have excellent insulation qualities.

    Those are the pros and cons in a nutshell.

    Eric
     
  14. ted655
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    ted655 Senior Member

    Greenville, Mississippi
     

  15. SteelTrawler
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    SteelTrawler Junior Member

    Rust concerns on steel boat

    I have been looking around some older threads and apologize for the delayed comment but felt compelled to share a photo with GoSlow and the rest of the group.
    I was on board this steel boat on a windy day when the flustered skipper slammed the floating dock with enough force to damage the planking of the dock. The picture was taken months later with the boat on the hard. If you look closely you can see a tiny speck of rust in the center of the damage where the gray epoxy coating has been breached. This needs to be repaired by touching that speck with a grinder then repairing the epoxy coating and paint. I think Eric would suggest that washing with Chlor-Rid before repair would be advisable, and I agree with him.
    I was impressed with the toughness of the coatings and can only imagine what repair may have been required if it was a wooden or glass boat.
     

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