Model Shipbuilding in Steel - Hints, Tips & Technical

Boat building is the design and construction of boats and their systems. This includes at a minimum a hull consfruction, with propulsion, mechanical, navigation, safety and other systems conetruction a craft requires.

Wood is the traditional boat building material used for hull and spar construction. It is bot, widely available and easily worked. It is a popular material for small boats of e. Its abrasion resistance varies according to the hardness and density of the wood and it can deteriorate if fresh water or marine organisms are allowed to penetrate the wood.

Woods such as TeakTotara and some cedars steeel natural chemicals which prevent rot whereas other woods, such as Pinus radiatawill rot very quickly. The hull of a wooden boat usually consists of planking fastened to frames and a keel. Keel and frames are traditionally made of hardwoods such as oak while planking can be oak but is more often softwood such as pinelarch or cedar.

Plywood is especially popular for amateur construction but only marine ply using waterproof glues and even laminates should be used. Cheap construction plywood often has voids in the interior layers and is not suitable to boat building as the voids trap moisture and accelerate rot as well as physically weaken the plywood.

Varnish and Linseed oil should not be used on the exterior of a hull for waterproofing. Only boiled linseed oil should be used on a boat and only in the interior as it has very little water resistance but it is very easy to methpds and has a pleasant smell.

Note that used linseed rags should not be left steel boat construction methods uk a pile as they can catch fire. A steel boat construction methods uk year-old waka Maori canoe caught fire in New Zealand in June when restorers left rags piled overnight. Raw linseed oil is not suited to boats as it stays damp and oily for a long time.

Mildew will grow well on raw linseed oil methors timber but not on boiled linseed contsruction. With tropical species, extra attention needs to be taken to ensure that the wood is indeed FSC -certified.

Before teak is glued the natural oil must be wiped off with a chemical cleaner, otherwise the joint will fail. Cold-moulded refers to a type of building one-off hulls using thin method of wood applied to a series of forms at degree angles to the centerline. This method is often called double-diagonal because a minimum of two consrruction is recommended, each occurring at opposing degree angles. The "hot-moulded" method of building boats, which used ovens to heat and cure the resin, has not been widely used since World War II; and now almost all curing is done at room temperature.

Either used in sheet or alternatively, plate [18] for all-metal hulls or for isolated structural members. It is strong, but heavy despite the fact that the thickness of the hull can be. The material rusts unless protected from water this is usually done by means of a covering of paint.

Modern steel components are welded or steel boat construction methods uk. As the welding can be done very easily with common welding equipmentand as the material is very cheap, it is a popular material with amateur methpds. Also, amateur builders which are not yet well established in building steel ships may opt for DIY construction kits.

If steel is used, a zinc layer is often steel boat construction methods uk to coat the entire hull. It is applied after sandblasting which is required to have a cleaned surface and before painting. The painting is usually done with lead paint Pb 3 O 4.

Conetruction, the covering with the zinc layer may be left out, but it is generally not recommended. Zinc anodes also need to be placed on the ship's hull.

Until the mids, steel steel boat construction methods uk were riveted steel boat construction methods uk. Aluminum and aluminum alloys are used both in sheet form for all-metal hulls or for isolated structural members. Many sailing spars are frequently made of aluminium after The material requires special manufacturing techniques, construction tools and construction skills. Aluminium is very expensive in most countries and it is usually steel boat construction methods uk used by amateur builders.

While it is easy to cut, aluminium is difficult to weld, and also requires heat treatments such as precipitation strengthening for most applications. Galvanic corrosion below the waterline is voat serious concern, particularly in marinas where there ku other conflicting metals. Aluminium is most commonly found in yachts and power boats that are not kept permanently in the water.

Aluminium yachts steel boat construction methods uk particularly popular in France. A relatively expensive metal used only very occasionally in boatbuilding is cupronickel. Arguably the ideal metal for boat hulls, cupronickel is reasonably tough, highly resistant to corrosion in seawater, and is because constructioj its copper content a very effective antifouling metal. Cupronickel may be found on the hulls methoods premium tugboatsfishing boats and other working boats ; and may even be used for propellers and propeller shafts.

Fiberglass glass-reinforced plastic or GRP is typically used for production boats because of its ability to reuse a female mould as the foundation steel boat construction methods uk the shape of the boat. The resulting structure is strong in tension but often needs to be either laid up Fiberglass Boat Construction Methods Data with many heavy layers of resin-saturated fiberglass or reinforced with wood or foam in order to provide stiffness.

GRP hulls are largely free of corrosion though not normally consrtuction. These can be solid fiberglass or of the sandwich cored type, in which a core of balsafoam or similar material is applied methosd the outer layer of fiberglass is laid to the mould, but before the inner skin is laid.

This is similar to steel boat construction methods uk next type, composite, but is not usually classified as composite, since the core material in this case does not provide much additional strength. It does, however, increase stiffness, which means that less resin and fiberglass cloth can be used in order to save weight.

Most fibreglass boats are currently made in an open mould, with fibreglass and resin applied by hand hand-lay-up method. Some are now constructed by vacuum infusion where the fibres are laid out and resin nethods pulled into the constructin by atmospheric pressure. Yk can produce stronger parts with more glass and less resin, but takes special materials and more technical knowledge.

Older fibreglass boats before were often not constructed in controlled temperature buildings leading to the widespread problem of fibreglass pox, where seawater seeped through small holes and caused delamination. Ukk name comes from the multiude of surface pits in the outer gelcoat layer which resembles smallpox. Sometimes the problem was caused by atmospheric moisture being trapped in the layup during construction in humid weather.

Fast cargo vessels once were copper-bottomed to prevent uo slowed by marine fouling. GRP and ferrocement hulls are classic composite hulls, the term "composite" applies also to plastics reinforced with fibers other than glass.

When a hull is being created in sreel female mould, the composite materials are applied to the mould in the form of a thermosetting plastic usually epoxypolyester, or vinylester and some kind of fiber cloth fiberglasskevlardynelcarbon fiber.

These methods can give strength-to-weight ratios approaching that of aluminum, while requiring less specialized tools and construction skills. First developed in the midth century in both France and Holland, ferrocement was steel boat construction methods uk used for the D-Day Mulberry harbours. After a buzz of excitement among homebuilders in the s, ferro building has since declined.

Ferrocement is a relatively cheap method xonstruction produce a hull, although unsuitable for constuction mass production. A steel and iron "armature" is built to the exact shape of the hull, ultimately being covered in galvanised chicken netting.

Then, on a single constrkction, the cement is applied by a team of plasterers. The cement:sand ratio is a very rich ; do not call it concrete! As the hull thickness is typically 2. Properly plastered ferrocement boats have smooth hulls with fine lines, and amateur builders are advised to use professional plasterers to produce a smooth finish. In the s and s, metgods in Australia and New Zealand, the cheapness of ferro construction encouraged amateur builders steel boat construction methods uk build steell larger than they could afford, not anticipating that the fitting-out costs of a larger boat can be crippling.

See also : concrete shipconcrete canoe. There are many hull types, and a builder should choose the most appropriate one for the boat's intended purpose. For example, a sea-going vessel needs a hull which is more stable and robust than stesl hull used in rivers and canals. Hull types include:.

Boat construction meyhods at Bheemunipatnam [19]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with shipbuilding. The neutrality of this article is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met.

July Learn how and when to remove this template message. Further information: Hull consgruction. Main article: Glossary of steel boat construction methods uk terms.

ISBN Retrieved The Austronesians: Historical and Comparative Perspectives. ANU E Press. International Journal of Nautical Archaeology. Canoes of the Grand Ocean. BAR International Series Clinker Plywood Boatbuilding Manual. WoodenBoat Books. Archived from the original on History Glossary Wood lumber.

Frame and panel Frameless construction. Category WikiProject Commons. Ancient constructoon techniques Shipbuilding in the early modern era Shipbuilding in the American colonies. Dugout Carvel Clinker Strip-built Mortise and tenon.

Boat building Sail plan Marine engineering Marine propulsion Naval architecture Maritime history Archaeology of shipwrecks.

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Final shaping of each plate can be done on the part of the hull former that it has to fit. Illustrations are provided in parts 1 and 2 of ASC, and by HTB, who suggests using Fluxite as a lubricant, though I find that this can make the forming tool, i.

NAO suggests that hull construction can be commenced with the keelplate and worked outwards from it, or with the sheer strake, working towards the keel from either side. HTB favours starting with the keel and I have found this to be the better method, starting with the complete run of plates forming the keel and then adding runs of plating on each side in turn.

In this way, only one side and one end of each plate will be soldered at a time. An attempt to solder two previously soldered areas of plating, or to replace a plate in a completed hull, can be disastrous. When only one edge is being soldered the plate is free to move. Even so, it is best to solder along the seam working towards the free end of the plate and avoid going back over the work. After shaping each plate apply flux along the two edges to be soldered and hold the plate in position on the former with drawing pins.

Solder the short seam first, running a blob of solder along it slowly enough for the solder to be drawn in under the edge of the plate by capillary action it should easily fill the entire width of the overlap and following the soldering iron with the tip of a short wooden stick to hold the edge of the plate down as it cools, When the joint is cool solder the longitudinal seam in the same way, starting at the end already attached.

The small fillet of solder can then be taken off with a chisel. In fact, where additional strength is needed even more could be allowed. When adding a strake made up of internally strapped, butted plates the idea of using a continuous strip of several plates, possibly with the joins indicated by scribed lines, might seem attractive.

However the expansion of a long strip can produce a cumulative distortion and cause problems, particularly if the plates are flat. In Describing using 0. This made the hull so thin that flat frames, as many as those of angle bar in the real ship, had to be added to stiffen it. For hull construction I use 8, 10 and 12 thou. Hull openings and portholes are more easily put in each plate before assembly.

Drilling can easily distort thin sheet and holes are best made undersize and reamed out. Since most of the ports will be of the same diameter a small reamer is a worthwhile investment if not already available, while other sizes and shapes of hull opening will be deburred and trued up during the shaping operation. Propeller shaft and rudder fittings are much easier and less risky to install as you come to them rather than after the hull is built.

Small hull fittings, such as escape hatches and the half round reinforcement of hawseholes are also much easier to deal with at this stage. Bilge keels should now be added as a part of the shell construction while the shell is still on the former, subject to the same precautions as when adding bulkheads, described below. Many small ships had a solid stemplate and it is better to fit this in a slot in the bow of the former to allow the plates to be soldered to it in sequence, rather than risk fitting a stemplate later.

These are more easily fitted but might be more difficult to shape. Like any plate with a difficult shape a wraparound stemplate is more easily shaped from brass, which allows easy annealing if required and is therefore much more malleable.

Low corrosion liquid fluxes are available, based on fruit acids try a model railway supplier. Alternatively, in difficult situations, solder paint may be used as a flux, with or without additional solder, and it can also be used with a small gas torch for some work.

However the work will need subsequent washing. They are available in diameters down to 1mm. Lower melting point solders, available for a range of temperatures, are sometimes useful when adding to a subassembly joined with standard solder but are not often needed.

Since small scale model soldering often takes advantage of the flow characteristics of the solder to produce fillets, virtually using it as a structural material, this could become a problem. Almost more important than the solder is the iron. Kashmir was built with a 40 Watt iron and a good deal of difficulty. Subsequently smaller irons became available but, while they are suitable for work on small assemblies, they lose heat quickly when used on larger work, such as adding plates to a hull.

The real advance came with temperature controlled irons. Though relatively expensive they transform model soldering. They are small, light and easy to use and the tips can be changed quickly and easily. Moreover they respond immediately to compensate for the tip being cooled by larger work, reproducing the heat reservoir characteristics of a much bigger iron, and the tip temperature can quickly be reset to suit the tip, work or solder.

A temperature controlled iron is almost an essential for fine work. For me, the invention of the temperature controlled soldering iron is right up there with that of the wheel and the Archimedean screw. Do not be caught without one. A small chisel is useful for removing surplus solder or, in restricted spaces, the sort of small tools shown in Photo 8 can be even better. These are ground from broken needle files, which seem to become available from time to time.

This is a copper braid, available in a range of sizes from electronic component suppliers, which will remove solder cleanly and easily, with no risk of damaging the surface. The braid is placed in contact with the solder to be removed and then heated with the tip of the iron. As it melts, the solder is drawn up into the braid by capillary action.

A run of solder along a joint can be produced either by drawing the tip of the iron along the joint or by placing the tip, loaded with a blob of solder, at one end of a prefluxed joint and allowing the solder to run along the line of the joint by capillary action. Either method will leave you with a blob of solder still on the iron tip which, if the iron is simply lifted off, will remain at the end of the joint.

It can then be removed with the solder wick as described above, but this will also pull some of the solder out of the joint. However, if the iron is drawn away from the joint, still in contact with the work, it will take the solder blob with it to a convenient point where it can easily be soaked up without affecting the joint. Similarly, excess solder can be pulled out of a joint using solder wick.

There will normally be a small fillet of solder left along a joint, which can be an advantage if you are reproducing a casting or a rolled steel beam as in a quadrantal davit , and the size of the fillet can be varied by the amount of solder fed into the joint.

However, a clean, sharp join might sometimes be required and, if so, the chisel will be needed. Use the chisel to cut the solder, rather than as a scraper, and keep it at a low angle relative to the work so that it runs over it instead if digging in and damaging the surface.

A glass fibre pen will remove thin films of surplus solder or clean the work, though it can also strip the tin plating if not used cautiously. The completed steel shell will need some bracing to become a usable, rigid hull.

However, the sides will be flexible and the entire shell might twist fairly readily. These faults are easily corrected by the addition of a stiff inwale running around the edge of the deck, some cross beams at deck level and, if necessary, two or three bulkheads.

Before this can be done the hull will need to be set up to be as true as when it was on the former. This might be easy or difficult, depending on the hull in question. The rest of the hull is relatively shallow, with a round bilge. This design is very prone to twist, in much the same way as a steel tape measure in which the transverse curve gives it longitudinal rigidity but is too shallow to form an effective girder section.

This hull was very difficult to support to a true shape to allow the inwales and transverse bracing to be fitted.

In complete contrast, the hull of Brissenden was very stable and held its shape well, remaining almost the same as when on the former and requiring very little setting up. Brissenden has the forecastle break well aft and the bilge is much more square, a shape closer to that of a typical merchant ship hull, and this forms a deep girder section over most of its length. This was an intentional design characteristic of the ship, providing an increased structural rigidity which allowed Thornycroft to use lower grade steel than was necessary for conventional destroyer hulls of the period.

It is interesting that this was one of a number of design advances of the Hunt Type 4 which was adopted for subsequent designs, and became virtually standard in small warships. The change also allowed personnel to move from one end of the ship to the other under cover, which was impossible in conventional designs in which the engine and boiler rooms took up the entire enclosed space amidships.

The squarer hull section also reduced the traditional destroyer tendency to roll and to heel sharply on turns which the model of Kashmir certainly does. Brissenden also had particularly large bilge keels and it is interesting that her sister ship, HMS Brecon, was fitted with stabilisers. The stabilisers also occupied space which, in Brissenden, was used for fuel bunkers, increasing her range.

Structural stability is provided mainly by a strong and rigid inwale, about 3mm thick and 10mm. It can be seen in Photo 9 and Drawing 6. The lower shelf is fitted first. It is cut in sections about mm long, taking the shape from the drawing of the deck edge, though this will need to be adjusted slightly where the angle between the deck and the hull side becomes acute, making the curve shallower.

It is soldered inside the hull using a template which is long enough to span the widest beam and is shown in Drawing 4, to set the distance from the top edge of the sheer strake and the angle to it.

The slot holds the shelf in position for soldering. The upper strip is fitted in the same way, this time cut to the true shape of the deck edge, using another template which is similar but which sets the angle of the deck camber as well, Drawing 5.

A deck camber template is shown in Photo This particular example is double thickness to provide for a small, spring loaded, aluminium clip which holds the plate in position for soldering. At intervals of about 50mm small separators are spot soldered between the strips.

The solder fillet between the upper strip and the deck edge will run in easily from the outside of the joint provided that the two components are clean and prefluxed.

Joins in the lower strips may be lapped, but those in the upper strip should be butted, with a small butt strap on the underside. After the gap between the two strips has been thoroughly cleaned the hull can be laid on its side and resin poured into the space between the strips. Theoretically, any resin would do but something fairly strong is preferable. I used epoxy casting resin on Kashmir and this is very strong but takes several hours to set.

A better compromise is polyester or polyurethane, both of which are fast setting and adequately strong. A disadvantage of polyester is that the surface exposed to the air remains tacky, though it is possible to take advantage of the high viscosity of the resin to overfill the space so that the meniscus is outside it and the surplus can be filed off to give a neat finish, Drawing 6.

Obviously it is possible to fill only a short section at a time, working around the hull and supporting it as necessary. On completion the hull will be much more stable and transverse braces can be fitted at deck level or, more precisely, just under the inwale.

For these a 6mm square U beam folded from 0. Bulkheads can now also be fitted but this must be done carefully to avoid heating the hull plates sufficiently to soften a seam. If this happens then the seam will reset with the plate heated and expanded. Since it will no longer be possible to return the hull to the former the resulting bulge will be at least a problem, and might be disastrous.

As previously noted, it is possible to eliminate this kind of distortion in a completed shell, but it is difficult at best and carries a risk of making matters worse. The safest method of fitting a bulkhead is to spot solder the edge in the centre of a plate, away from the seam, leaving the iron in place only long enough to make the blob of solder flow. This, repeated on each plate, will tack the bulkhead firmly into position. Working quickly and carefully it is now possible to fill in the gaps between the solder tacks with more tacks, a blob at a time working at separated points and not trying to get a continuous solder line.

It is then possible to run each blob carefully into the next. Alternatively, once the bulkhead has been tacked firmly in place the edge can be bonded to the hull with a fillet of epoxy resin and this is probably the safer approach.

The small aluminium clips shown in Photo 11 are invaluable for this, and for holding parts in place while soldering. The upper three are as supplied, while the lower ones illustrate how easily they can be modified to suit particular requirements. On warships with guardrails the spurnwater is a strip of wood around the deck edge, usually just inside the stanchions.

It is normally virtually continuous except for a gap at the stern and this can be turned to advantage in a model. In a working model it is, of course, essential to have some access to the inside of the hull and it is often difficult to decide on separation points for sections of the superstructure, particularly if guys and stays must be allowed for.

By using the spurnwater as a separation point the entire deck may be made removable, complete with all standing rigging, and with an easily concealed join. This can be seen in Photo 9 and in Drawing 6. There may still be some items bridging the spurnwater, for example the sponson supports shown in Photo 12, but these are usually fairly easy to provide for. The deck is constructed on a former in the same way as the hull and the plating is similar except that the longitudinal edge of each run of plating will usually be lapped over the next running down the camber towards the deck edge.

This can be caused because sometimes two different paint systems meet in this area. For instance, perhaps the topsides are painted with epoxy resin while below the water-line epoxy tar is used.

As they are both epoxy you may think that they are compatible. They often use different solvents and the epoxy resin needs to be taken well below the water-line. Allowed to cure and the solvent to evaporate for several weeks before being sanded and overlapped with the epoxy tar. Take the paint manufacturers advice, and stick to it. What about sand blasting? There are several materials that can be used to blast the steel.

Bead blasting is employed in large machines that plates of steel are fed through to pre-blast it before building. These machines normally also spray the steel with a holding primer.

On the outside the weld seams will really need re-blasting and it is best if all of the outside is 'wash' blasted by standing back with the blaster and slightly roughening refreshing the blast primer prior to final painting. The seams and plate of any internal tanks will need treating in the same manner. The other internal seams will be fine if they are carefully wire brushed.

Sand blasting, as it's name implies uses some form of sand to prepare the steel. It normally produces a reasonable profile, depending on what sort of sand is used. Grit blasting uses a very hard substance such as 'crushed copper slag' and produces the best surface. This should be to SA2.

See Yacht photos When building a steel yacht from scratch it must be decided whether to order bare plate and grit-blast after construction, or to have the plate blasted and primed with a holding primer before delivery. Working with bare plate is dirtier than with pre-primed plate, but you don't have the problem of having to 'stripe in' the areas of damaged primer at the end of each working day, or the worry of how long the primer will protect the steel, a consideration if building the hull is planned as a long slow project.

With bare plate the whole hull and deck, inside and out, will need grit-blasting and priming. Doing all the work yourself, hiring the equipment and buying the sand will cost considerably more than having the steel supplier pre-blast and prime it. The inside of a hull built from pre-blasted steel can simply be cleaned and painted but externally around each weld, re-blasting is really the best way to achieve long term protection.

I have never found 'striping in' the areas where I have damaged the primer by cutting or welding to be a problem, I just allow a few minutes at the end of each work period for this job. In practice if the steel has a good coat of primer it will last for several months in the open, before there is any sign of rusting. Check with the primer manufacturer what the maximum over coating time is, as some primers need painting within 6 months or a year.

If this is the case some primers can be re-activated by painting on a second coat of primer. This ensures that subsequent coats of paints adhere well. Don't forget to order extra primer when ordering the steel, probably about 25 Liters 5 gallons will be sufficient. What about 'filler'? The use of filler on steel yachts has acquired a bad reputation due to several reasons. In years past poor building methods leaving deep hollows to be filled, the use of polyester resin filler and poor application methods have often caused the filler to fall off.

With proper building techniques only a small amount of thinly applied filler should be needed in the area of welds etc. Above the waterline polyester seems fine but below the waterline epoxy filler should always be used. This can entail painting the area to be filled first, then filling and fairing before painting the whole yacht.

With the correct materials and procedure the use of filler is acceptable. The answer is a resounding YES! There are very few skills used in building a yacht that can't be utilized by the amateur. For instance the welding required to assemble a steel yacht is minimal. The whole hull can be 'tacked' together and when assembled then a professional welder can be employed, for a few days, to solidly weld all the joints.

How much will it cost? This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on how much of the labour is supplied by the builder or the family. Without any labour charges it is surprising how inexpensively a good yacht can be built. For instance in I completed an ocean going yacht for myself that I subsequently sailed from England to the Azores, The Canaries and back to England, encountering several gales and two storms.

This cost represented less than a third of the ultimate re-sale value of this yacht. Either by building yourself or by 'managing' the build you can make substantial savings. A recent 'Spray' constructed by Fay marine was 'managed' by the owner.

How easy will it be to find people to do the work if I manage it myself? There are several materials that are popular for yacht-building. Traditional timber or plywood construction can be difficult and expensive as there are not many really skilled craftsmen left. GRP is popular for mould produced production yachts but generally makes for an expensive hull. For the one off yacht GRP is fairly expensive and is a messy difficult process.

Steel shipbuilders are prolific and easy to find at the moment as the worlds fleets of commercial shipping shrinks. Steel has been a major product in the 20th century and there are many people experienced in it's use and in the last 30 years the tools needed to work with steel have become easy to obtain and use. How long will it take to build? Another difficult question to answer as everyone works at their own pace.

Different designers quote vastly differing numbers of hours to build yachts of similar sizes. Often this is because of the difference between the designs. A hull with only one chine will be much quicker to construct than a multi chine version. The problem here is the looks of the vessel and the re-sale value. The single chine boat will usually be less pleasing to the eye, sail less well and sell for less.

Talking to home builders I have generally found that it takes three to four thousand working hours to put a 35 to 40ft yacht in the water. This means that a couple working two evenings a week and weekends could have a yacht afloat in about eighteen months. In practice it usually takes a little longer due to holidays etc. This is a very rough guide.

Only you know how hard and fast you will work. Go and talk to other builders and try to envisage how you will tackle the project.

Will it be as good as a yard built yacht? There is absolutely no reason why the home builder can't produce a yacht that is equally as good as a production vessel. Many people find that by building or managing the building themselves they obtain a yacht that is exactly what they want. Many amateur builders pay more attention to the details than is the case with production yachts, producing high quality boats.

A production yacht is usually built to a price, it will be aimed at a certain price bracket, meaning that often the gear aboard is kept to a lower standard than is possible. The home builders can choose for themselves where cost savings should be made and where high quality gear is wanted. A good example in these days of 'Marina hopping' is the anchor winch.

Often quite large sheet winches are fitted to the yacht but the anchor winch is woefully inadequate. Fine if the yacht only spends it's life in marinas.

Potentially a disaster if the unsuspecting owner is caught in an anchorage with a rising wind and expects the winch break the anchor out. Must it be surveyed? When a yacht is home built in the UK it doesn't have to have a survey. This will have to be checked in the country where you are building.

However, it may well be a good idea to have the yacht surveyed for three basic reasons; The first is your own peace of mind, a surveyor should be able to point out anything you may have missed. Your insurance company will probably want the vessel to have a survey. Finally, when you come to sell your yacht a prospective purchaser will be pleased to find that the vessel was surveyed during the building.

To save on the cost of surveys, some builders just have the hull surveyed when the hull is complete but not fitted out. The surveyor, insurance company and potential purchaser will appreciate this as everything will be easy to examine and a survey at this stage should be inexpensive but well worth it in future dealings. Where will I find information?

Boat building information is easily available. There are discussion pages on the web where questions can be posted. These will often be answered by some of the worlds leading designers who seem to look at these pages on a regular basis.

There are many books that cover all aspects of yacht construction, in all materials. These are normally available from your library. If you have real problems with information about steel yacht building that are not answered then e-mail me your question.

Please be frugal with the questions, I receive many, it may take me a few days to reply. Can I increase the plate thickness? I am constantly approached by builders who are thinking of increasing the thickness of the plate, either all over the hull or just below the water-line.

The thought is usually to increase the thickness by 1mm from the 3 or 4mm plate specified by the designer, to make the yacht stronger. This has two adverse affects. The first is that the yacht will be overweight, in some cases by so much that the amount of ballast has to be reduced. This is often coupled with the other effect which is that by thickening the plate the centre of mass of the yacht is raised, reducing the stability.

In an effort to overcome this some builders over ballast their yachts and raise the water-line, while others just accept that the yacht is tender.

On one 40 foot steel yacht, the builder decided to increase the deck thickness from 3 to 4mm as this would help to reduce the welding distortion. Good idea you may think. Steel yachts are incredibly strong! Most 30 to 40ft yachts could be built from thinner plate. The reasons why thicker metal is used, is the difficulty of welding thin plate, also to resist denting while alongside quay walls etc.

Which in real terms means that an extra tins of food can be carried for those long passages. Should I weld all the frames to the hull Plating? If you weld the frames to the plating this will give the yacht a hungry horse look showing every rib. The frames usually only need welding to the hull skin where they meet the chine bars.

Longitudinal stringers which are always stitch welded along the length of the hull, join the skin to the frames. Any horizontal lines on the hull don't offend the eye the way a vertical line does. On the subject of frames, an enormous amount of time and effort can be saved, by pre-drilling the inboard edge of the frame pieces, with a 4 or 5mm hole every 6 inches or so.

This can easily be done on a pillar drill before assembly. These holes can be used to screw the frame pieces onto plywood, which helps reduce distortion while welding them together. Later on when fitting the timber inside the hull it saves lots of awkward drilling.

How can I form the chines? There are several methods of forming the chines. Round bar, T bar, butting plates together and flat bar on edge. They are all successful apart from the flat bar on edge which bends, twists and sags between frames and won't take up a nice curve. When fitting the chine bars to the frames, only join them with a tiny spot of weld until the hull is complete.

Otherwise they tend to kink around the frame rather than gently curving. Can I make my own deck fittings? Most people building their own yacht are doing it because of finance, they want to save money.

On a trip around almost any marina you can see otherwise perfect steel yachts that are spoilt because the builder tried to save too much on the deck fittings. Making your own cleats, stanchion bases and guard-rails from mild steel will save lots of money.

If not, interior wise, there would be moisture intrusion into the seams, bad news. Have you guys ever seen a lapstrake hulled steel boat? Like I said above, I saw one once in a steelboatbuilding book. But other than possibly ice-work, I think a proper steel boats much more than adequate strength wise.

The same would go for a repair where someone welded plate over a bad section instead of properly cutting the section out and insetting a new piece, a matter of fact, plate over plate would be much worse I would think.

TGoz TGoz. The overlap method was common for a decade or so after the move from riveting joins to welding. The odd hull is still produced that way I've surveyed a few welded hulls built to the overlap method. Either alternate under over plating, or lapstrake or jogged seam where the overlap is heated with a torch and hammered over the lower plate till it fits snug.

In all types both the inner and the outer plate edge are then fully welded to the plate below. The boatyard saves a lot of time in fitting since you can have a large tolerance on the edges. The problem is the internal void along the overlap and if the welds don't seal completely it corrodes. Generally it seems to be ok. When they do rust the rust puffs the seam up quite visibly.

Repair is easy if you can get at the inside at the trouble spots. All the best. MikeJohns , Sep 19, Thanks Mike. Thanks guys for the input. The boat was built around It is lap jointed not joggled or over under under over or what he said. Since the interior is pretty much non-existant visual inspection was easy. All seams are welded inside and out. You can see each lap strake from the inside and no rust is visible below the water line.

As you get above the water line the inside looks to have been tarred or something. The bow section is doubbled for no apparent reason. The bow section is rust free on the inside and the outside has paint. None of the seams are faired; just very nice welds. The guy was a welder who built this one up. I just figured lap joints were easier to do; but my concern was water in the lap. I could see no evidence of rust.

The bilge had no water at all. The boat was in the water and running. The only rust I could find was was in the butt welded deck plate where one side door has been leaking for some time. This boat was never really finnished and I have not found out why.

It may be because the original owner builder lost interest. The last two owners were going to finnish her; but got interested in bigger projects. The tops sides are aluminum. The inside trim work is all stainless.





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