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.