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Old 09-01-2011
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new to steel boats

Hi All.

I just bought an old steely. I know nothing about them, but the deal was too good to pass up. I got enough 'stuff' with the boat to justify the price of the boat, and if the hull is in decent shape at all I think I will have really made out.

But, like I said, I dunno.

I haven't had a chance to haul the boat and actually really inspect the hull. The PO was doing a refit and then passed away, and some of the things I'm seeing have me wondering

Wiring, was definitely NOT his forte.

And in a few places he has 'repaired' the steel like so:



It seems like he cut out the rust, screwed a piece of stainless in its place and then used a fairing compound to cover.

I intend to learn to weld and simply replace stuff like this, but I'm curious what some of you think of a repair like this? OK for quick and dirty? or totally micky-mouse?

Last edited by xymotic; 09-01-2011 at 11:31 PM.
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Old 09-01-2011
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Your biggest concern right out of the blocks is going to be the hull. You need to get here hauled and check out what is there. From your other thread she was was buily in 1938 ? That is pretty old for a steel boat, you might (and I do emphasise might) find the plates are getting a bit thin. This is important to assess, before you spend any money elsewhere.

As for the quick and dirty repairs ? Weird. At least to me anyway.

Good luck.
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Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Your biggest concern right out of the blocks is going to be the hull. You need to get here hauled and check out what is there. From your other thread she was was buily in 1938 ? That is pretty old for a steel boat, you might (and I do emphasise might) find the plates are getting a bit thin. This is important to assess, before you spend any money elsewhere.

As for the quick and dirty repairs ? Weird. At least to me anyway.

Good luck.
Thanks TDW, exactly my thinking as well. If I have to replate the entire thing, I will likely strip out the engine and sell the steel for scrap.

(but never say never, if the bulkheads and stringers are good I **MIGHT** take the plunge and try to redo her I really do like the boat.)

Right now I'm kinda just daydreaming about what to do to the interior. But you're spot on, I am not spending a dime til she's hauled and gone over with a fine-toothed comb
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Old 09-02-2011
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If you do decide that she is worth keeping then a welding course will pay for itself many times over. Also a portable welding rig for TIG, MIG and stick welding can be bought fairly cheap. The newer rigs are small, lightweight and can do a variety of welding types and run on 120v. You'll be surprized how many people need things welded when they are out cruising. It's a good way to make friends and help yout cruising fund. Best of luck with the survey. Make sure the surveyor is well aguainted with steel hulls. Get references.
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Old 09-03-2011
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Originally Posted by landmineop View Post
If you do decide that she is worth keeping then a welding course will pay for itself many times over. Also a portable welding rig for TIG, MIG and stick welding can be bought fairly cheap. The newer rigs are small, lightweight and can do a variety of welding types and run on 120v. You'll be surprized how many people need things welded when they are out cruising. It's a good way to make friends and help yout cruising fund. Best of luck with the survey. Make sure the surveyor is well aguainted with steel hulls. Get references.
so the fubar part is that: i'm already emotionally attached. I don't wanna be 'that guy' the boat killer who threw away a 70 year old classic.

but please do tell re welders. I know about miller sth for example, but no mig and won't do 1/4 plate. diesel gen rigs are HUGE so I'm thinking of making a 'weldernator' rig but i'm not smart enough for that yet.

Last edited by xymotic; 09-03-2011 at 01:08 PM.
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Flux core MIG may be what you wind up with. It's easy to learn, no slag to chip off easy to get wire for. Any welder can show you how quickly and with a little practice you are good to go for what you are using it for. There is a Lincoln 3200HD on ebay for about $150. Very good machines. I am partial to Lincoln machines but Miller and Hobart are also very well made. Just stay away from the "Made In China" junk. They quickly become expensive paper weights. Google "120v welding machine" and check out a few. Most welding supply stores will let you try a unit to help to decide what madel is best. Just don't let them talk you into more of a machine than you need. After all. They ARE salesmen.
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Yes, I'm thinking a 110v mig that can just barely do 1/4" plate will be what I wind up with. I'd like something I can take with me and make a permanent addition to the boat.

Maybe a Small inverter TIG rig later if I decide I like it and need to do nicer welds on SS.

Will MIG wire corrode and get messed up in a marine environment like stick welding rods do?
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A can of Zinc spray paint amd you're good to go. Every weld shop in the world uses it to protect all welds in all weather. Learn to do good tig welds on stainless so that the welds look gold or ice blue when you stop. Grey means your afterflow is set wrong. When you can make your welds look like they were bent in a pressbrake instead of welded, you're on the right tack. TIG welding aluminum is an entirely different ballgame. Different gas, different tungsten and a different machine with water cooled hoses as well as a new technique. If you know a welder who does TIG and MIG welding in a shop, bring him a six pack when he has some time and have him show you and have him check your welds. Like I said, a portable welder onboard is a great way to help your cruising kitty and make friends. A friend turned his v-berths into a shop with a welder and a sail sewing machine. Where ever he goes he is the most popular guy there. LOL
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Best advice I can give you is join the Origami metal boat newsgroup on Yahoo. The repairs made on your boat were done that way because the guy couldn't weld, OR the plates have thinned so badly that welding is extremely difficult. Someone brought me a fire tanker truck with a 'little' leak to weld up once. The plate was rusting through from the inside and I was able to push an awl through the tank in about thirty places that just looked like a little rust spot! I managed to weld them all up, but what tough job that was. Striking the arc almost always blew a large hole that I then had to fill.

There are some neat clamps used in auto body repair made by Eastman. They would be excellent for cutting out rusted areas and fitting plates back in flush. I once fixed the entire bottom of the cab on a large truck once by cutting out one little section at a time and fitting and welding in a new piece, before doing any more cutting. I was able to completely replace a very complex piece of formed sheetmetal that way.

Gary H. Lucas
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
Best advice I can give you is join the Origami metal boat newsgroup on Yahoo. The repairs made on your boat were done that way because the guy couldn't weld, OR the plates have thinned so badly that welding is extremely difficult. Someone brought me a fire tanker truck with a 'little' leak to weld up once. The plate was rusting through from the inside and I was able to push an awl through the tank in about thirty places that just looked like a little rust spot! I managed to weld them all up, but what tough job that was. Striking the arc almost always blew a large hole that I then had to fill.

There are some neat clamps used in auto body repair made by Eastman. They would be excellent for cutting out rusted areas and fitting plates back in flush. I once fixed the entire bottom of the cab on a large truck once by cutting out one little section at a time and fitting and welding in a new piece, before doing any more cutting. I was able to completely replace a very complex piece of formed sheetmetal that way.

Gary H. Lucas


Thanks for the insight. Those clamps sound really handy, I'll definitely check em out.
these? Product Reviews - Panel Holding System - Clecos

I'm pretty sure he just couldn't weld. Looks like at least 3/32 if not even 1/8th pretty close by.

It brings up another noobie steel question though.

I think this was a winch base:


so I plan to cut this out and weld in a new plate. Then fair it up with some splash zone or 3m fairing putty.

My question is 'what then' when I want to mount the windlass (or whatever) to the deck.

is it generally better to bed it and bolt it to the steel and rely on the bedding to keep the steel dry; or, should I do like I would with a cored FG hull, and over drill the holes, fill with epoxy and mount the device into a starboard backing plate and completely isolate the through-bolts from ever hitting the steel? Any tricks to doing that really securely and strongly?

Last edited by xymotic; 09-04-2011 at 12:02 AM.
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