The Latest

You can read Part One of this blog here

Part Two is here

Feb. 2, 2018

Installed the fantail deck edge angle. I had to notch the 1/8″ X 1″ angle to match the curve of the boat.

All notched and rough bent to shape.

Notched every 2″.

Edge angle in place and to contour. before welding the notches up.

Finished forming and installing the aft P & S top rails to the bulwarks. There are several pictures here and this is the detail… In proper form, I formed both port and starboard rails to match the developed sides. However as I got near to the aft quarters, the curves got excessive for my roller to manage without deformation. So I opted to make a third member that went around the stern, and connect the two side pieces.

Starting the curves, shallows first.

Matching the curves, left = right.

In a splicing like this, where there is a complex and compound curve, I made one side a standard perpendicular cut to the ends of the matching components. But on the other end, I “45ed” the mating ends, and left the splice  1/2″ longer than I thought it needed.

3rd member cut slighty long.

Notched the stern post to receive the top rail.

fitting the 3rd, fantail member.

90ed sleeve.

45ed sleeve before halfing.

Then I made a sleeve from a scrap of the conduit, to make a mating guide for the squared end. This will also add reinforcement to the strength after welded and reduce distortion. On the 45° end, I took a piece of the drop I cut off that end (which had the desired cut angle), and split it to give me only the inner half. This was tacked into the inner mating point to give the same mating reinforcement as the other side. It sounds more complex than it is…

“floater” sleeve in place.

Then as I began the finish fitting, I started grinding to fit the 45° end, and kept a reasonable amount of pressure on the third member to keep it touching the side member. In this case, it was the starboard side member.

Once I was satisfied with the fit, I aligned the rotational positioning, and tacked it in place. And, moving from the 45ed end, to the 90ed end, I tacked it every 2″ or so with a small 1/4″ tack-weld. After that, it was just a matter of short 1″ stitch welds and periodic squirts from my spray bottle to keep the parts cool enough to prevent pulling or skin distortion.

45ed end alignment.

Ready to tack down the skin.

You will note that the 90ed end, also noted as the “floater” end was tight at the beginning of the operation, but once the last piece was fully welded in place, there was the obligatory 1/8″ of gap for filler welding to finish the joint.

“Floater joint” ready to weld after the outer skin is fully welded to the top rail.

Then I cut and welded in the inner structure so I would have a more finished look to the outer parts of the tug. This will also make it easier to seal up the boat from inclement weather.

Inner panel structure getting welded in place.

Finished up fitting and installing the aft motor bay hatch lid, and installing the deck supports so the .125″ Aluminum tread plate won’t be so springy under my feet.

1/8″ & 14 Ga. support members all in place.

Rough cut and fitted the raised fantail deck plate prior to painting.

Then it was on to cleaning out the back half of the bilges for primer and paint. That took a day with the scrap metal barrel handy, and the shop vac with a new filter… I did not realize how much gonja had built up in the bilges while I was focused on the other welding and construction.

I used a combination of a coarse rotary brush in a drill, and an even coarser shell brush on one of my 4″ grinders (without a guard so be watchful). More finish grinding, more vacuuming, etc, until it was what the military calls, “clean, dry, and serviceable.”

Monday Morning the 5th, I started the priming with a super grade of marine type “Mare Island Grey” epoxy primer. This stuff is 50% solids. That is a lot more than your typical automotive grades. A word to the wise here, … bundle up before spraying this stuff! It will get in every place not sealed from it!

Here I will take a moment to discuss an experiment I did that worked out very well. In priming and painting the forward bilges, I had significant difficulty spraying under the deck framing, and in those “hard-to-reach” places. So I was actively looking for a simpler and easier way to insure every surface was coated.

I went to my Local Lowes, and bought a cheap garden pump sprayer. It was only $9.95, and would hold about a gallon.

Cheap garden sprayer.

Slight wand modification.

Once assembled, I removed the wand, and with the delicate finessing of my propane torch, I got a section near the nozzle up to the desired 170°-185°. At this point, most of these thermal plastics become maluable. I carefully added some bend to make the nozzle now point about 100-135° from the handle. That is something over 90°, it is not critical.

It worked!

The primer I chose for this job, is a very heavy epoxy that had an activator that was right at a quart for the gallon. I know everybody has their favorite, but I chose this for its chemical properties and success in the commercial world.

My primer of choice on metal boats.

Filled with the reduced primer, and pumped a couple shots of pressure. IT WORKED SUPER!!! I was able to squirt primer EVERYWHERE I could not see! I needed to keep pumping it up so the spray pattern would be enough, but I ended up squirting a full half-gallon on all the undersides without so much as a drop on me or the walls of the shop.

Another half-gallon in the spray gun, and I was done before noon.

Entire back half primed before noon.

By early afternoon, I had waited enough time to have the grey set up, and it was time for the white bilge colour. I did the last spraying of that gallon by 6:30 PM. It was a full day of painting, but the results were wonderful. No bald spots, no missed areas.

Note: A word about Marine painting I have learned…
I see a lot of people that struggle with getting a decent finish on their project. I can tell you, that back when I was in Autobody college, they hammered into us, the finish, from start to finish could be no thicker than 12 mils thick (and preferably 6-8). We had to prime, seal coat, base coat, and finish coat all within this thickness. We were hammered to make it slick, but make no dry spots or runs. Top coats had to be 3 mils thick or less. That is fine generally and for auto painting.

I have found with my experience as a painter/blaster for the US Navy up at Sub-Base Bangor, We had to make a similar surface finish, but the “boat”, had to withstand months of harsh climate in the coldest seas, and the roughest of conditions. We found, that the best protected parts of the hulls we did, were those that we, 1, properly cleaned & etched, 2, heavily primed, and 3, sufficiently painted. This might sound a bit “primaryish”, but the builder needs to concentrate on the fact that there is no substitute for enough material to accomplish the job. Don’t skimp on the paint film after spending so much time to build it yourself in the first place.

We were taught, that the “thinner”, or “reducer” was NOT a part of the finished paint, like in a car. In a car, after the painting was done, only some of the reducers were gone, but there was still artificial thickness from embedded, slow escaping solvents. And, in a car, there are hard impacts with other car doors and other things that required that the finish be extra hard and thin. The environment of a boat is far different. There needs to be enough paint on the surface to withstand the constant abrasion of the water and water-born particles, (trash, logs, weeds, marine life, etc), and still provide the slick impervious finish to protect the structure it is coating.

I used this knowledge to make sure this project would be well protected. I shot multiple coats of primer or paint, to protect the steel under it. So my suggestion is to not skimp on the coatings. If you get a hanger or run, that is OK. It can be sanded out later, or in the case of a run or drip, can be taken out immediately after spraying, with the sticky side of some masking tape. All the marine paints I have used over the years have a slow enough cure or dry time as to level out after “taping” a run. The end result will be a bright and slick finish to be proud to say you painted.

So now, “Oie matey, them bilges be white”! “Now fer sum decks ta swab”!

Almost need sunglasses to look at that.

WOW! I think I can start installing stuff in a couple days!

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One Response to First attempt at making a steel boat, the Goliath-Pt 3

  1. Chris W says:

    You are one very talented man! Kudos to you on a excellent construction job so far…

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