Molehills into mountains

As I said in the last post, I found a bunch of pinholes in the starboard side rubrail. Some light tapping with a hammer really opened them up. So out came the oxy-acetylene torch to take off the old half round iron pipe and prepare the area for a new section of mild steel half round pipe.

So here it is after ripping off 5 feet or so and sandblasting the area.

There are more holes farther forward so more cutting. You can see all the spongy crap that accumulated inside and held all the moisture. These outlets are the discharge from the deck drains. All the snow on deck is melting!

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Not having a great week

Besides the cold and snow, it has not been a great week.

I knew there was a small hole in the original iron rubrail on the starboard side, so I dragged the scaffold over to have a go with the welder to put a patch on it. The more I poked around, the worse and more numerous the holes became. As this is the low point in the hollow rubrail, all the crap has settled to the bottom. Add some moisture in there and it became a sponge, rusting out the half-round from the inside out. The pinhole turned into a massive failure:

I’ve started to rip the whole section of it off now. More pictures coming of the resultant damage. Just when I thought this kind of repair was coming to an end.

Oh and one of my welding units failed. The internal 240 volt fan motor died. Its a Airco 3DDRS-24-B Bumblebee welder, which I see is long out of business. Someone on the interwebs says that these were made by Miller, so maybe I can get a replacement fan from them. Luckily, I have another second Bumblebee welder still working.

++ Update ++ I was able to order a fan for a Miller SRH-444 DC stick welder and it fit in exactly. It turns out that these Airco welders were manufactured in the Miller factory. On popping the cover to my unit, it even has a Miller Gold Star sticker inside on the frame.

And I got my jury duty obligation this week too. I had already requested and gotten a deferment when I needed to do the Iggy and the Stooges show in Sao Paulo last November, so it was time to pay the piper. Sitting indoors in a heated room for a couple days seems like luxury!

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Back to the bow

Here is the “Before” picture to this story below:

I was going over the bow stem and I noticed what looked like a seam in the iron that looked pretty raggedy, so I decided to put a new pass of weld on top to smooth it out. Well wouldn’t you know that that one little thing started a whole cascade of problems. So after 3 days, I ended up removing the old bow stem cover and replacing the whole shebang.

The original wrought iron plates were mated up on either sides to the keel and riveted through. Somehow in 1887, before the advent of electric welding, they had managed to braze or gas weld a half round cap onto the front of the keel and it looks like they poured lead into the void. This nice rounded edge, after 123 years of plowing over waves and pushing through floating debris had become paper thin.

So I started to weld over the scabby weld and the heat caused the moisture inside the half round to expand and steam started to come out the pinholes in this paper thin iron, exposing all its faults. After an examination that this was not repairable, I made the decision to cut off the entire half round back to the keel.

So I had a nice 5 foot long piece of 4 inch wide by 3/4 inch thick flat stock. She is going to be a real icebreaker now! I was able to weld it at the bottom to the new steel I had installed earlier to box in the keel. It is flat instead of a more hydrodynamically superior rounded shape, but I dont care. I was able to get an excellent penetration weld between the keel iron and this flat stock and build up the weld to catch the vertical side plates as well.

And using my new bow thruster tunnel (!!??!!) , I was able to use a chain hoist to cold bend the steel into place. Very low tech! I have a piece to 2″ schedule 80 pipe that I can split lengthwise that will cap the forward edge of the keel above this flatstock. More pictures of that step tomorrow.

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More keel cooler piping

Here is the return leg of the 2 1/2 inch keel cooler piping getting installed. Unfortunately, the connection for the upper keel cooler is above the finished deck plates, so I have a potential air pocket trap in the piping at this end. You can see the 1/2 inch brass plug I temporarily have in this fitting I welded in. I am going to install a small bleeder valve here later to let out any trapped air.


A 2 1/2 inch tee with a threaded plug is at the top of each leg. I also installed a thermometer and welded in fittings for the connection of temperature sending units.


The orange plugs are to keep dirt out of the coolers until the final installation.


And here is the supply leg for the same cooler awaiting sandblasting and priming!


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Shipyards in Tottenville

I am restoring my tugboat in the metal shipyard side of Tottenville Marina in Staten Island, NY and I have been interested in learning more about the history here. I have heard that there has been a shipyard in this location for a very long time. I recently was loaned a great book by my friend, John Leary, a local Tottenville resident who stops by to check on my progress. The book is called “Tottenville: The Town The Oyster Built” and it was put out in 2008 by the Preservation League of Staten Island and the Tottenville Historical Society (ISBN 9780615264349). The book details the history of the town and its ties to maritime history and has some excellent old maps that help locate the various shipyards throughout time. So I thought I would do a little sleuthing to see what exactly the history of this land under my boat was.

Here is a bit of the map from 1853 showing the immediate area:

Funny that there are two houses labeled “Fisher” right where my tugboat is now. Most of the houses are set back from the Kill, which was probably a good idea except for the one Fisher house that is right on the beach!

The first shipyard in Tottenville was founded by Jacob S. Ellis in 1857 to the east of Totten’s Dock. I bet this is why the street out front is now called Ellis Street! If you look at the Google map attached at the bottom here, this shipyard must have been located in what is now an abandoned wooded lot to the west of the current Port Atlantic Marina.

Below is the map from a few years later in 1859. The train tracks (now used by the Staten Island Railroad) have come through and you can clearly see the boundaries of both the Ellis and now the Journeay’s shipyard right next door to the east of the Totten’s Wharf.


By 1912, there were three main shipyards in Tottenville – A.C. Brown and Sons, Cossey and J. S. Ellis and Son.

A.C. Brown’s shipyard is easy to put on a map as it was located on the north side of the foot of Amboy Road, which still exists. So that shipyard is off this localized google map to the southwest.

So that leaves Cossey’s to place on the map. Cossey’s shipyard existed from 1905-1926 and they mainly built drydocks and barges. Harry D. Cossey had bought “three contiguous lots along the Arthur Kill waterfront and the site ran 500 feet along the Staten Island railroad line and extended out 900 feet to the bulkhead”. There is no other landmark mentioned. I wonder where this was located exactly? Could it be where my tugboat is located now? In a Weekly Record of Marine Trades from October 5, 1918, I see an article on the building of a drydock for Todd Shipbuilding and it says that Cossey’s is located at the foot of Henry Street. Now only to find Henry Street on a map as it does not seem to exist anymore…

Here is a photo of Harry Cossey and a link to his bio:
HD Cosey

And here is his death notice in the New York Times from 1919.

So we haven’t settled on where Cossey’s was exactly located, but here is are some cool old photos I found online of the immediate area. From, here is a picture from 1965 of the area around the shipyard. It looks like this was taken from the top of the passenger crossover at the Atlantic stop on the train. That elevated car overpass seen in the next two pictures no longer exists. Could that overpass be Henry Street? The Outerbridge Crossing (in the background) was finished in 1928.


And here is a later undated (but later) shot of the same view from


John Garner, the current owner of the property, bought it in 1977. He later expanded by buying the property nearby to start the metal boat repair yard where I am located at the anchor symbol below. I will try and take a shot from the same spot tomorrow from the overpass…

View New York Central No. 13 Locations in a larger map

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Final keel cooler installation and beginning piping

So I got the third keel cooler for the future generator (see my previous post on finding this on Craigslist) in the recessed box in the hull! I had to wait to get the 3M 101 polysulfide sealant that is recommended as my local boating store was out of stock. Once this cooler was gooed in and bolted tight, it was time to get the guard on that I had sitting up on deck for the last year. I built this guard out of 1 1/2 inch solid round bar that I had left over from making the stanchion posts. I painted it and the box with a few coats of black antifouling paint:


Thanks to my brother, Tim Fischer, for the gift of the 3/4 inch 316 stainless bolts and lock nuts. He got these for me for my birthday last year and I have been waiting ever since to use them on this project.

Here are some pictures of the recessed box when it was being made many moons ago:

Roll 2 - 1765

Roll 2 - 1830

Since the inlets and outlets for the keel coolers are now known inside the boat, I have started to run the piping for them. The connections to the GM 6-110 diesel engines are 2 1/2 inch and so are the connections to the keel coolers, so it only makes sense to run 2 1/2 inch piping. This is also recommended by Fernstrum, the company that makes the coolers, to maximize the coolant flow through the system. The one hiccup, is that my pipe threader only threads up to 2 inch pipe, so I have had to order 2 1/2 inch fittings that are the butt weld type. So each fitting is going to be welded on, which takes a bit more time to do.

Here is a picture of one of the first finished sections after being welded and awaiting sandblasting and primer:


Where the piping meets the engine, I have flexible high temperature silicon hose adapters and I have left a 2 1/2″ threaded tee with a threaded plug near the engine. I used a threaded tee so that I can possibly remove the plug and add a modine heater in the engine room at some later date. I also welded some 3/4 inch threaded weld-on pipe fittings so that I can add a temperature gauge, a temperature sending unit and a thermal expansion tank.


I am installing these pipes under the engine room deck plate to keep them out of the way. As some of the piping runs are kind of long (and heavy!), I am using weld-on steel flanges to join the piping sections together.

Note to self – I need to calculate the volume inside the piping, keel cooler and engine to be able to get the right sized expansion tank and enough antifreeze….

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What was NYC 13 doing in the 1960’s? Getting into collisions!

I am still mystified that I can’t find many old photos of my boat. I guess I need to hire someone to start scrounging through the museums here in New York City. As she spent all her years pushing railroad equipment back and forth in New York City, you would think she would have had her picture taken. Anyone have any good leads on where to begin? I hear there is a special library in a room at Grand Central Terminal that is filled with New York Central Railroad history….

So while sniffing around the internet, looking for old tugboat photos, I found this very interesting bit of history on the web about NYC No. 13 here on the US Coast Guard website:

On February 22nd, 1967, the 82 foot US Coast Guard cutter Point Highland towed the disabled tug Hay-De and a barge following a collision with M/V Hellenic Halcyon. Hay-De was the earlier name for New York Central No. 13 when she was owned by the Kosnac Floating Derrick Corporation. The collision occured 10 miles north of Smith Point. At the time, the cutter Point Highland was based out of Crisfield, Maryland. Crisfield is in an area I know well as it’s very near the Wicomico River and Deal Island, MD where the lightship Frying Pan sank and spent many years underwater.

Wow – this collision info leads to lots of questions – Who ran into whom? How did it happen? Why and how was the Hay-De disabled?

A google map search turns up many “Smith Points” in Chesapeake Bay. There is one right on the Virginia and Maryland boarder, across the Chesapeake Bay from Crisfield, MD which seems like a likely candidate.

View Larger Map

The Hellenic Halcyon was a C2-S-B1 cargo ship launched on December 14th, 1943 at the Moore Dry Dock Company in Oakland, CA. Her original name was SS Golden Gate and she was sold in 1946 and then renamed Copiapo. She was again renamed Hellenic Halcyon in 1966 and scrapped in 1973. She was 400 feet long (measured between perpendiculars) and could carry 9,150 tons (DWT). 81 ships of this exact type were built by Moore at this location and others were built at Federal Shipbuilding in Kearny, NJ and at Consolidated Steel in Wilmington, CA. At 400 feet long, she certainly would win a battle with a 90 foot tugboat.

Here is a picture of what a C2-S-B1 cargo ship looks like:

C2-S-B1 Cargo

I started looking for details on the collision as things like this will result in a legal filing of some sort!

Googling the ship names, I found a workplace safety lawsuit from 1957 from a longshoreman who fell when decending the last rungs of a ladder into a cargo hold aboard the SS Golden Gate while it was docked in Seattle, WA. There was wheat dust and kernels on the deck of the hold causing the deck to become slippery. Stevedore Shaun Maloney, fell and injured his right wrist and he was awarded $22,300 in damages as the ship owed him a “reasonably safe place to do his work”. Ruling here.

There is another later slip and fall case by another longshoreman against the vessel SS Copiapo when he fell in 1963 on some newspapers covering an oil spill thereby injuring his shoulder. Details here.

But I can’t find any more mention of this collision on the web. Perhaps it was settled by insurance and never went to court. But I certainly would want to learn more! Does anyone reading this have access to Lexis/Nexis for a deeper search?

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Craigslist find!

So, I’m back from Minehead, UK after a grueling week at the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival there. I saw very little music over the 5 days here, other than the band I was tour managing, My Bloody Valentine. Such is the glory of working in the “music industry”.

I was wrapping up the accounts at home and doing a bit of goofing off by trolling on ebay. I have a list of special bookmarks for searches that I like to repeat – looking for specific things that I like to track and find. “Volvo P1800″, “Fiat 850″ (both cars I’ve owned in the past), “Enerpac SP-35″ (a hydraulic hole puncher I have my eye on), “New York Central” (for all the various train memorabilia) and “Keel Cooler”. One of the big mechanical pieces of my tugboat puzzle is a keel cooler for a future generator. A keel cooler is a radiator that sits on the outside of the hull that uses the colder temperature of the seawater to cool the warmer water from the generator.

I had bought the header and ends to a Walter’s 4 tube keel cooler on Ebay awhile back and I thought I had made a fantastic find. Walter Machinery is located in nearby Jersey City, NJ, so I thought it would be simple to bring my parts in to show them what I had and pick up 4 new tubes to create a working unit. Well it turns out that althought the header and the turn around end I had bought looked brand new and looked like they had never been installed, these parts were very, very old. So old that when I showed the guy at Walter’s what I had, he was stumped. Turns out that this was a first generation unit with fluted rubber seals that did not work very well and easily leaked, he told me. Walters did a redesign and went to a O-ring system that they use to this day. They had no fluted end tubes to sell me – I now had a $60 marine bronze sculpture of a keel cooler header. Like an idiot, I had even been so eager as to drill the 3 inch hole in the box I built to install this unit already! So that hole has been calling to me to be filled ever since – I can look down and see the ground below all the time I am working on my tool bench inside the boat.

Nothing has been turning up in my eBay searches in regards to a keel cooler for a year. So I decided to get aggressive and start searching harder. I started doing google searches for “craigslist keel cooler” and there were a few more promising leads but not many. But I struck gold on Tuesday when I found this – “Fernstrum Gridcooler – Heavy duty keel cooler for ship hull – $425 (Petersburg, KY (1 mile off of I-275))” on Craigslist. The ad mentioned it was 84 inches long, 7 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches deep. An absolutely perfect size. Unfortunately, the cooler was in Petersberg, Kentucky! After agreeing on a price, the seller, Jeff Hartline, mentioned that he had another one exactly the same, and he asked if I would like to buy both.

I looked into getting an LTL carrier to do the shipping, but one of the coolers had lost its original shipping box. And it seemed best to do a cash transaction and to see them and measure them exactly in person before the sale. Since I was going to have to rent a vehicle, buy gas, and drive 10 hours each way to collect this, I decided to purchase both. My recessed box can only fit one, but maybe at some point I will add another recessed box on the starboard side of the hull and use this other cooler as a heat exchanger for refrigeration or air conditioning for the boat. Hmmmm….

So here is a shot of the installed 1/2″ thick plate box I recessed into the hull. These two larger coolers are for each of the two GM 6-110 diesel propulsion motors. This generator cooler will fit in nicely in between these other two. The tabs with the holes are for a guard that will be bolted on that will protect the coolers a bit.


So with the help of an unlimited mileage Avis rental hybrid SUV (29.5 miles per gallon), I drove 1498.4 miles in the last 48 hours. I used some of my Hyatt rewards points to get a comped hotel room in Columbus, OH and catch some sleep and a shower along the way. They wouldn’t fit in the rear compartment of the Escape, even with the rear seats down and on a diagonal. So I propped them up on the center console and strapped them together and to the interior of the car with ratchet straps so if I had a quick stop, they wouldn’t fly through the windshield.

Here is the unboxing of what I bought!:



Ta Dah!


Speaking with the seller, Jeff, he told me how he acquired these. He was the high bidder on a lot through the website,, which is a site I look at quite alot, but I have never bought anything from. Jeff restores and collects military trucks and he was looking for some parts for one of his vehicles. Sometimes with this site, you might win an auction of an entire lot of thousands of various parts and items, all in one bid. The items are all listed by government requisition number with very few photos, so you never really know what you might get when you unbox everything! Well, luckily for me, Jeff decided to sell these on Craiglist rather than take them to the scrap metal dealer and I happened to see his ad!

Santa has come early to Tottenville!

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Getting crazy with the primer

So while I have been in the forward tank so much lately installing the bow thrusters, I decided to start putting a bit of Amercoat 235 light grey primer on top of the green Dimecote inorganic zinc primer. Just to brighten the place up!




Doesn’t that really make the rivets and ribs look great? Wow – it is starting to look like something! I got the primer out because I mixed up a gallon to use outside to paint the inside of the bow thruster tunnels that I had just sandblasted. Now that all the TC bolts are welded up in the hull, I realized I could paint the inside too – so I started. It looks white in the pictures, but the color is actually light grey.

Here are some shots from the outside of the primed tunnels.



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Mounting the saddles


It was a gorgeous day out in the shipyard on Sunday with a stunning sunset.


I spent most of the day finishing off the guards on the starboard side bowthruster penetrations and installing the saddles. I used 5200 sealant and bronze hardware to mount the bronze saddle to the steel tunnels. I made sure to put a nice dollop of 5200 on the threads of each bolt before I inserted it. The next step is to sandblast the inside of the tunnels and primer coat them so I can install the actual gearing for the thrusters in through the top of each saddle. I dont want to sandblast with the gearing installed as I’m worried about getting blasting grit into the shaft seals.


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Shipspotting on the web

I came across this great website – real time tracking of all the ships that have the new AIS (Automatic Identification System). Click on any ship icon above to get more info on it and even track where it has been. Go to for the full screen version. Very neat.

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Port side bowthruster guards

Now that the flanges are finished, I thought it might be a good idea to put some sort of guard on both sides of the tunnels. I toyed with the idea of welding tabs and then bolting in these horizontal bars, but that seemed like excessive work. I decided in the end to just directly weld in these 3/4 inch thick by 2 inch wide flat bars into the tunnels. I calculated that I can slide the propellors in through the center space between the bars and then rotate them to get them on to shafts. This way I can weld, sandblast and paint the tunnels with the bars inplace and then install the units in through the top of the saddle.


The bars are parallel to the keel and the expected final fore and aft trim of the boat. I did this in order to minimize hydrodynamic resistance when the boat is eventually moving through the water. It is 4 inches between the bars – enough room to still stick a sizeable piece of wood through, which isn’t ideal. I am hoping most wood and other debris will be floating and these tunnels should be well underwater. I guess I’m more worried about rope which could get sucked into the blades and tangle up the works. But these bars at 3/4″ thick will definitely take some punishment if I should hit anything.


I was able to talk to someone at Wesmar in the parts department this week. I have ordered all the missing parts for the second unit. They also solved a few mysteries I have been thinking about. There are zinc anodes that go on the end of each shaft! When dryfitting the blades on the shafts, it seemed like the nut screwed on too far and didn’t really seat the propellor onto the keyway and the shaft. The zinc explains that.

They also told me not to use a gasket between the saddle and the steel tunnel, unless the spacing of the center of the propellor was off from the center of the tunnel. The ID of the tunnel is 13 inches and the prop diameter is 12 inches leaving a 1/2 inch gap all around. They recommended just using 3M 5200 series polyurethane marine sealant between the saddle and the tunnel and then bolting it up tight. Same for the connection between the saddle and the unit. I went to McMaster-Carr online and ordered 3/8″ bronze bolts, flat washers, split lock washers and nuts for both units.


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Welding on the flanges

So I want to beef up the area where the tunnel tubes meet the hull plating so I am installing a doubler flange on each penetration. I had cut the tubes so they extended roughly 1/2 inch past the hull plating on each side. I then took some 3/8 inch thick plate and cut an elliptical doughnut ring. The inner ellipse is 15 inches wide but 17 1/2 inches tall for the forward tunnel. The stern tunnel is canted back even farther so that ellipse is still 15 inches wide but 18 1/2 inches tall.

Here is a picture of the finished port side forward penetration –


And from another angle –


I debated whether to remove the TC bolts in the flange area and then bolt through the flange through the same hole in the hull and frame. Instead, I just cut the flange plate around the bolt heads and welded them into the flange.

It is nice that these flanges overlap the frames underneath – that will make it much stronger in case I was to take a hit in this area.

Here is the starboard side forward penetration –


Next is to do the same process with the stern tunnel and make some sort of guard to keep flotsam from clogging the propellors.

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Blast and primer the tunnel tubes




I primed the tubes and prepped the area where the flanges will be welded on using an inorganic zinc primer called Dimetcote.

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Cutting in the saddles for the bowthruster

Boy has the weather changed quick! 40 degrees F today with overcast skies and sprinkles. Just a taste of what is to come.

Today I cut in the saddles for the bow thrusters into both tunnels. First is to make a template on paper of the cut (taped up on the steel in the top right between uses) and transfer it to the steel tube. The oxy-acetylene torch is used to make the rough cut:


Then to use the grinder to smooth up the edges:


Then I fit the saddle to the tunnel and marked up the twelve 3/8″ mounting holes using a centering punch. When I do the final installation, I will use a gasket between the steel tunnel and the bronze saddle.


Here is a shot of the saddle with the bowthruster installed. If you imagine the tunnel is a clock, I decided to mount the thruster at 10:30. This is to allow for a height restriction in the forward tank and to allow for easy access to the hydraulic motor that will power this.


And here is a shot down the length of the tunnel with one of the two stainless steel props dry fitted to check for clearance:


Then I repeated the process to the other tunnel. Next step is to sandblast and primer coat the outside wall on both tunnels before putting them back into the hull.

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Double piercing – more bowthruster installation

So here is the first tunnel cut flush to the hull.


And here is what it looks like inside the forward tank looking down through the manhole. Everything looks to be lined up and square with the internal frames.


Now to start the next one. This one has to be a minimum of 14″ forward from the first. As it is Sunday, the yard is pretty quiet and I will have full use of the yard’s forklift all day which will make this one much easier than the first.




My camera battery died at this point, but I was able to cut the new one flush to the hull and get both tunnels removed from the hull and up on deck to my workbench. Next is to cut the elliptical flanges that get welded to the hull and cut and drill the tubes for the bronze saddles that hold the bow thrusters. I will have to sandblast and Dimetcote the outside of the tunnels before they get reinstalled in the hull. The inside of the tubes will be blasted and coated when we do the final blast of the entire hull.

So I have gotten a few emails about the historical significance of the tug and why I am I then putting bow thrusters in her. They certainly did not have bowthrusters in 1887. That is a good and valid point. But I figure that they will never been seen from the outside of the boat, as they will be underwater and the space in the forward tank will not open to the public, so they will be entirely hidden. They certainly will allow me to dock and undock the tug much easier and more safely, given that this is a single screw vessel. I really want to take this boat out on the water and use her rather than have her be a static dockside display.

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Piercing the nose

So I have been saving up to put in another steel order. I have four main projects that need more steel:

- the bowthruster: I need 14 inch pipe to make the tunnel
- the pipe raceway: I need two 15 foot long sections of flat plate and lots of angle
- the keel cooler: I need 2 1/2″ piping to connect the engines to the units mounted in the hull
- And lastly, I want to put a bulkhead inside the domestic watertank

So I placed my order with Colonial Steel in the Bronx and it came on Thursday.


These are the plates. I got two 1/4″ thick plates that are 8 feet x 20 feet and another that is 3/8″ thick. I will have to cut these down to size. I will be able to use the leftovers for the stair treads and other projects. These plates have a inked spec on them that says “Essar Steel Algoma”, which through a quick Google search turns up that they were made at the Essar Algoma steel mill in Sault Saint Marie, Ontario Canada.


And here is the 14″ pipe (.500 inches thick!) and all the angles, pipes and flats I ordered.

So I wanted to get right to installing the bow thruster tube. It weighs about 72 pounds/ foot so I will need the forklift to get it in place. I am going to set it on top of my scaffold and block it up to the right height.


Once it is at the proper height, level and square to the keel I can trace the cut onto the hull. The cut is not a circle! It is a slight ellipse as the hull is curved. I found it is easiest to push the pipe up to the hull and use the pipe to guide my torch head. Then you know you are getting the right shape. Wow, weight of the pipe is deforming my scaffold…


Then I push the pipe into the boat and start cutting from the inside, again using the pipe as the guide. And here it is poking out the starboard side. Next is to cut the ends flush to the hull, leaving a 1/2″ sticking out on each side. I am going to weld a 3 inch flange onto the hull around each penetration to beef up the area where the pipe meets the hull. As I told you in an earlier post, I have two identical 40 horsepower bowthruster units, so one tunnel down – one to go. The next one will be forward of this one.


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Getting the shaft

So maybe you have noticed this 2001: A Space Oddity-like monolith that has been rising out of the center of the main deck in some of the other pictures?


It is the shaftway to conceal (and deaden the noise of) the piping for the engine exhausts and all the pipes that will eventually go from the engine room below up into the new smokestack above. There is a divider inside this shaftway to create a 12 inch by 12 inch duct (on the left side in this picture looking toward the bow) that will bring fresh air down into the engineroom. The green round flange attached to the side of the shaftway is the future connection for the wood burning stove that will be in the main parlour. That will have another pipe going up into the stack. I also need to fit another large pipe for the diesel boiler exhaust, two fuel tank vent pipes, the sanitation tank vent pipe, a compressed air pipe to run the air horn, and electrical piping in this shaftway. It is going to get crowded fast.

I am punching all the holes with a hydraulic punch and then bolting it together with the plan to eventually hot rivet the whole thing together. I want it to look like it has always been a part of the ship and no one does hot rivets anymore. I have a great large rivet gun, the dies and an air bucker to install the rivets and my friend Darren has a propane fired forge to heat them up. I am going to build it first by bolting it all together in place – and then disassemble it to be blasted and primer coated. I will then reassemble it with the bolts in every other hole and then hot rivet the empty, remaining holes. Then to finally remove the bolts and we will finish riveting. Whew – I cant wait!

Here is a detail of the stepped edges with some test rivets just placed in the holes to see how it looks:


I am building this out of steel plate and angles and not out of wood as it will have to support the weight of the steel smokestack above it. Its interesting to have steel interior walls that will eventually mate with the wood walls and ceiling.

But the other function of this monolith is that the forward side of the shaftway becomes part of the enclosure for the new stairs going down to below decks. Here, in chalk on the deck, is the rough layout of the stairs. This also forms a common wall with the bathroom on the main deck. It is going to be a small bathroom – only 60″ by 44″ inches, but that is all the room I have to work with! At least the door doesn’t hit the toilet bowl!

The green 2″ pipe with the cap (in the bottom left in the picture) is the diesel fuel fill pipe that will get buried inside the exterior wall with the fuel fill connection on the outside wall.

I have the room to do a standard rise/run with these stairs to make it easier to go up and down. It will be a 10 inch tread with a 1 inch bullnose and the height from tread to tread will be 7 1/2 inches. Pretty standard for a building but uncommon in a boat. One unknown factor is whether I will put in a hardwood floor in the main parlour, it’s thickness and how much the finished floor will above the steel deck.


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Livet – an 1901 Dutch Canaller

So this very nice dutch canal boat, Livet is in the yard. She was in for some bottom work and a repaint. Looking on the web to find out about the vessel, I came across a post on the Tugster blog here all about her. She had previously been moored in the Hackensack River.

So I met the owner one day as he was working on her to say “Hi” and I got a tour of the inside. He said that he had bought her in Holland and brought her over on a large transport ship. He also said that he had spent quite alot a time getting the woodwork just right with none of the typical moulding you see to cover up poor joinery work. He likened it to a “jewelbox” and he did a fantastic job. Unfortunately a few days later, while patches were being welded on the hull to double over some bad spots, a spark jumped inside or the hot area near the weld was touching something flammable and it set the interior ablaze. I wasn’t there for the fire, but I arrived at the shipyard just as the fire department was wrapping up. Both the owner and the interior are gutted. What a shame!

I wrote to the Tugster blog about the status of the vessel and the blogs editor in chief, Will Van Dorp, came out to the yard on Thursday for a visit. I got to show him my project, my buddy Darren’s 1925 lumber tug Bertha and the exterior of Livet. He didn’t take many shots for his blog as the lighting was not great, but here are a few shots of Livet in her grey primer paint before the next coat of black was sprayed on.

Her hull is only 1/4″ riveted iron plate.


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Working my way forward

I am working my way forward on the starboard side. I’m going to need some more 3/16″ 7018 welding rod soon! I’ve gone through three 50 pound containers in the last week.


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