Ring around the rosey

So I have been working my way around the stern – rewelding all the TC bolts. These are the hardest ones as they are virtually overhead. This is where the rudder post goes up through the hull. Only a few left to go in this area and then I can move back forward to the starboard side bow. I am looking forward to those easy ones as my arms, neck and back are very sore from holding the welding rod overhead all day.

Imagine standing on top of a 9 foot high scaffold, blindfolded (you cant see with the welding helmet glass down). Now take both hands and grasp them together so that they are at eye level. Now simulate the slow burning of the welding rod by slowly and exactly moving your hands directly overhead at a slow but constant rate. Move them exactly one foot from your starting position over the next minute. Go too fast and you will drive the tip of the welding rod into the hull and it will stick. Go too slow and you will lose the arc and have to start again. Don’t forget to breathe and don’t fall off the scaffolding! Also don’t forget to visualized the sparks of molten steel at 1370 deg C (or 2500 deg F) raining down on you! And don’t flinch if you get a spark through your glove, shoe or even down your pants! I wont show you those burn marks. You have now just completed welding one half of a TC bolt. Grind off the slag scab over the weld and repeat for the other side of the TC bolt. Then repeat and repeat and repeat, etc….


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Sizing a hydraulic motor for the windlass

This is a follow-up to the post Sizing an anchor windlass where we calculated the mass that our anchor windlass must lift given the scope, chain and anchor sizes we are working with. The end result was that we needed to pull up 10,140 lbs.

The following calculations were worked out and sent to me by my Dad. You can catch a picture of him in another earlier post with the smudge on his nose, helping me install hull plates!

Required Power Output

Must lift (and lower) 10,000 pounds at 1 foot per second.

Thus required power output to chain = 10,000 lb-ft/sec.

Convert lb-ft/sec to hp:
From http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/unit-converter-d_185.html#Power
1 hp (English horse power) = 745.7 W = 0.746 kW = 550 ft lb/s = 2,545 Btu/h = 33.000 ft lb/m = 1.0139 metric horse power ~= 1.0 KVA

Power output = 10140 lb-ft/sec * ( 1 hp/550 ft-lb/sec ) = 18.43 hp

Required Power Input

Assume hydraulic motor is 80% (mechanical and volumetric) efficient. Then the hydraulic motor must be receiving more input power from the hydraulic fluid, some of which is lost as heat in the motor:

Power input = 18.18 hp / .8 = 23.04 hp

Required Pump Power Output

Our system is comprised of a hydraulic pump that generates the pressure in the fluid and the hydraulic motor that generates the work. The hydraulic motor connected to the windlass is in the bow. The hydraulic pump is located at the other end of the ship in the engine room. The hydraulic pump producing the flow also must be delivering at least 23.04 hp. As some energy is lost to heat in the fluid line due to the drop in line pressure between the pump and motor, the pump must produce more than 23.04 hp to make up for line drop.

Required pressure and flow

Required input energy received from hydraulic fluid can be expressed in terms of Q*P where Q = flow (gallons/min), and P = pressure drop (psi) across the motor. Q*P is measured in units of energy.

Convert gal-psi/min to lb-ft/sec:
Hydraulic power delivered from 1 gallon/min at 1 psi
= Q*P = (1 gal/min * 1 psi) * ( 0.1337 Cu.Ft./gal ) * ( 1 min/60 sec ) * (1 lb/Sq.In / psi) * ( 144 Sq.In / Sq.Ft ) = 0.3209 lb-ft/sec

Convert gal-psi/min to hp:
Input Power (hp) = 0.3209 lb-ft/sec * ( 1 hp / 550 ft-lb/sec) = 5.834e-4 hp = (1 / 1714) hp

Thus power (hp) = Q (gal/min) * P (psi) / 1714

For example, to deliver 1 hp to the motor, Q*P = 1714

As calculated above, motor’s input power required is 23.04 hp. Either P or Q can be calculated based on the other. Lets assume P = 2000 psi. Then Q must be:

Q = power (hp) * 1714 / P (psi) = 23.04 * 1714 / 2000 = 19.75 gal/min

So now to find a pump and motor combination that match this flow and horsepower requirement….

Update on Sept 27, 2009:
I found a nice website – Ideal Windlass that has a nice listing of windlasses that might work for the tugboat.

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Top 10 tugboats in movies?

I came across a nice thread on the Wooden Boat magazine forum about the top 10 sailboats in movies and it got me thinking – what are the top ten tugboats in movies? Here are a few that would definitely be on my list:

Funny Girl – Barbra Streisand hops on a waiting New York Central No. 24 to catch her love departing on a cruise liner that has left the dock in the big finale:

This video was embedded using the YouTuber plugin by Roy Tanck. Adobe Flash Player is required to view the video.

This was shot by Nelson Tyler and is considered one of the greatest helicopter shots of all time.

Billy Bathgate – This movie starring Bruce Willis, Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman was filmed on New York Central No. 13 !! The first fifteen minutes of the movie is filmed onboard and again a bit at the end. Doing a Google image search for stills from the movie, I see that Nicole Kidman appeared naked in this movie, so its hard to find any shots other than of her. Did I just think that – “Too many tits – not enough boat shots”. What a dork. Lol! Maybe if she was naked on the boat then all my wishes would be fulfilled!

I did find a lone picture of Bruce Willis getting fitted with cement shoes in the galley of NYC No. 13.


I happened to catch a bit of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button on a recent flight. It has a fictional tugboat named Chelsea in the film that has on the stack “MBT”. I guess that might be Moran Brother Towing, but the boat is yellow and not red as Moran tugs are usually painted.


Anyone have any movies to add to the list?

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Hear the GM 6-110 diesel engine start

Here is an audio sample courtesy of my friend, Suzanne Thorpe, recorded on her Zoom digital recorder.  It is of one of the two General Motors 6-110 diesel engines starting and running.  Please make sure you have your audio adjusted properly as the starting noise is very loud and sudden!  Don’t jump out of your seat.  The beginning noise is the sound of the air driven starter.


Here is a picture of the controls and gauges for the engines.

Roll 2 - 4977

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Replacing the port side rubrails

First step to replacing the rubrails was to whack off the old iron supports that held the wood timbers against the hull.  The rubrails are the “bumpers” along the side of the hull that take most of the abuse of bumps and scrapes.  Only the rubrail on the port side needed replacing.  Someone had replaced the wood ones on the starboard side with half round iron pipe some time ago.

Here is my friend, Peter Schooff, having a go with the oxy-acetylene torch.


I then insert welded in new steel anywhere along the rubrail area that needed it.


After all the holes and thin spots were fixed, I had the shipyard guys sandblast and Dimetcote prime the area all down the port side.

I was was fortunate to get a great donation from Pam Hepburn and Gerry Weinstein from the Tug Pegasus Preservation Project, in that they ordered a bunch of extra pipe and they donated enough for me to do the whole port side.  This was enought pipe to do both courses with just a few feet left over!  Time to get welding!


So I took the pipe and cut it in half (length-wise!) with the torch and cleaned up the edges.  Next it went over into the blasting area in the yard and the insides of each pipe was blasted and primed.  Next is to start getting it up on the boat.


The split 8″ steel pipe is drawn tight to the hull using every method possible.  I used wedges, chain hoists, heating torches, and 3/4″ threaded rods.  The threaded rods worked really well as I could tighten them down slowly and bend the pipe to the curve of the hull.  I was already set for 3/4″ hardware as that is the same size as the TC bolts I was using in the hull. I was able to use the weld marks for the iron supports for the wood rubrail as a guide for the top edge of the upper course.


Here you can see the threaded rods extending out through the rubrail.  Once the upper and lower edges of the rubrail are welded to the hull, the threaded rod has done its job.  I then removed the nut and cut off the excess threaded rod and weld in the end of the rod to the exterior of the rubail and grind it smooth.

IMAGE004.JPG copy

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And after much pushing and pulling, welding and scaffold movement, here are the finished rubrails a few weeks later!

Roll 2 - 1781

I will do a separate post about how difficult it was to get the half round pipe to bend around the very tightly curved stern!

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Early days

Here is a picture from the early days of the restoration. It has just been lifted out of the water and put up on land. Look at all the rotted out doubler plates that had been welded along the waterline. You can see the original wooden rub rails that were bolted to the side of the hull. The wood acted like a sponge, trapping the water underneath and rotting out the iron.  As you can see from more current pictures, I replaced these rubrails with 8″ diameter, 1/2″ thick half round pipe.

I needed to find this picture to remind myself were the waterline used to be.  When I get the water tank in the bow finished and filled, that should bring the bow down and raise the stern up a bit.


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Building a sandblaster

There is no more useful tool aboard a steel (or wrought iron) ship than a sandblaster.  I found some plans on the internet that gave me some good ideas on how to make my own unit.  I found an old acetylene tank in the scrap dumpster in the shipyard and went to work.  I filled it with water a few times before I started cutting it apart.


So after cutting off the top and flipping it around and rewelding it to the body, you get this!  I added some wheels and a bought some cheap hydraulic hose and the air/water separator and the regulator on Ebay.  It uses ceramic nozzles that I bought through the McMaster-Carr website.  I run this off the 20hp air compressor already installed on the boat.  It is no match to the shipyard sandblaster that can blast a whole boat in one day, but it is perfect for me in that I can run it myself and do lots of small parts.


Here is a detail picture of the filling bowl where the sandblasting grit gets put into the blaster.  The threaded rod pulls up a backing plate that has a neoprene gasket on it that makes an airtight seal.  As the pressure builds up in the tank, it also pushes the gasket up as well.  I have only had to replace the gasket once so far.  As the grit can be expensive, I pick up the used grit off the ground in the shipyard and sieve it through a screen to get out the larger bits and then reuse it.  I can also sweep up the grit I have already used on the deck and I get about three passes through the blaster with it before it just gets pulverized to dust and doesn’t work very well.  A special glass visor helmet/hood, tyvec suit, gloves and a good respirator are all required before starting any blasting.


I turned a metal work table into a temporary blasting booth.  It is just a scrappy plywood box with a glass window on top.  Its purpose is to contain the grit and dust while working on small parts.  I mounted two halogen works lights inside as well as an input to hook up my shop vac.  The shop vac isnt pulling out the dust from the box, its actually blowing air into the box on one end, and there is a baffle air vent on the other side, creating a flow of air from one side to the other.  It gets very dusty inside when blasting, so the airflow clears the dust enough to see what you are doing.  I later installed a pair of heavy rubber gloves there the two arm holes are here.  I nailed old firehose over all the moving seams of the box, to make it as airtight as possible.  Underneath the grating seen here, there is a screen that allows me to filter the used grit and gravity feed it into a bucket for reuse.  Here are some turnbuckles and parts freshly de-rusted.


Once I had the power to sandblast, I didn’t want to stop!  Anything that would fit in the blast cabinet was fair game!  And then I got really ambitious and started blasting the inside of the gunwhales and the main deck.  It took awhile, but it was progress every day.  After blasting to bare metal – I primed everything with the green Dimetcoat inorganic zinc primer.  Some real progress!

Rusty before:


Primer after!



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Susan Elizabeth 1886-2008 RIP

It was a sad day in the shipyard when the Susan Elizabeth showed up in the yard.  She was built a year earlier than NY Central 13 in 1886 also by the John H. Dialogue shipyard in Camden, NJ.  She was also a NY Central Railroad Tugboat and she was numbered No. 3.  So she was the only sister to No. 13 left.  She had been up in Kingston, NY at the North River Tugboat Museum where Steve Trueman was restoring her.  Over the years the maintenance didn’t keep up with the natural deterioration that any boat succumbs too and he lost control of her.


I was able to salvage a few items off her before she was hauling up onto land and the giant metal chomping claw started chewing her into steel chunks.  I guess she was recycled into new dishwashers and car parts.

I was able to salvage all these nice brass caged light fixtures to reuse on NYC 13.


Interestingly, look at the construction of the main deckhouse.  I suspect that it was not the original deckhouse due to the use of riveted fishplates as seen here.  The fishplate is covering the vertical seams between steel plates.  Notice the welded angle steel roof deck supports.  It’s a strange use of welding and riveted construction.

Here is a nice picture of the brass engine control at the engineers station.


Unfortunately for posterity’s sake, I have no pictures of NY Central No. 3 being ripped apart.  I had to go on tour for a month when she came into the yard and she was gone when I returned.

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Ride a historic boat on the Hudson on Sept 5th

NRHSS logo

On September 5 from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. , The North River Historic Ship Society will host the Great North River Historic Ship Rally on Pier 84 in Hudson River Park (44th Street and 12th Avenue) . Three historic vessels: the 102-year-old tug Pegasus, the fireboat John J. Harvey and tug Cornell will offer free public trips. In addition the Lehigh Valley #79, a 95-year-old wooden railroad barge, will be open for tours, as will the tugboat Urger, the flagship of the New York State Canal System, and the Day Peckinpaugh, a 259-foot cargo carrier now owned by the New York State Museum.  For more information about the Rally, and to make reservations for free boat trips (highly recommended) visit www.nrhss.org.

There is a nice article here: www.boatingonthehudson.com and click on current issue.  Our event is promoted in the table of contents and the spread begins on page 6.

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Sizing an anchor windlass

So I want to add an anchoring system to the tug.  It never had one before as it was used as a harbor tug that was always tied up to a pier when it was not pushing or pulling.  She did not have berths for sleeping either – she was what was known as a “bucket” boat, because you brought your lunch or dinner bucket onboard every day.

So there is a very nice example of a low deck profile vertical anchor windlass on the fireboat, John J. Harvey.  The anchor chain comes in through the hawsepipe, through a chain stopper and then 270 degrees around the vertical windlass and then falls into the anchor locker.


And here is a pix of the bow of New York Central No. 13.  I got this hawsepipe from Jimmy Gallagher when he sold the Yankee.  I have just sandblasted the iron to a dull grey color and the primer coat is on its way!


So how much weight must this windlass pull up to raise all the anchor chain and the anchor?

Lets start with the anchor chain.  I think I want to use 3/4″ stud link chain.  This is the size used on the tugboat Bertha and she is about the same length and displacement as NYC 13.

Using the dimension charts here:


3/4″ stud link is 5.33 pounds per lineal foot.

Anchor chain is measured in a unit called shots.

1 fathom = 6 feet

1 shot = 15 fathoms = 90 feet

weight of one shot = 480 lbs

The best scope to use when anchoring is about 7 to 1.  Scope, which is the ratio of length of chain to the depth measured from the highest point (in our case, the hawsepipe) to the seabed. For example, if the water is 50 ft deep, and the hawsepipe is 10 ft above the water, the scope is the ratio between the amount of chain let out and 60 ft.

Height from hawsepipe to waterline = 10 feet

Max depth to anchor in = 50 feet

=60 feet  x scope of 7 = 420 feet of chain needed to anchor safely in 50 feet of water

So how many shots is that?

420 feet / 90 feet per shot = 4.6 shots,  so lets round up to 5 shots.

Lets add in an extra shot, in case there were some very deep anchorage.

So 6 shots of chain  = 6 x 480 pounds = 2880 pounds

So what about the weight of the anchor?  We have to lift that up too.

I have onboard already, two different standard stockless anchors:

One is a small “lunch hook” anchor with the number “5″ on one of the flukes.   Judging from its dimensions and comparing to the specs for new anchors, it weights 500lbs.


The other is a bigger one and given its measurements, it weights 1000 lbs.

So the total weight of the ground tackle (bigger anchor plus chain) is 2880 lbs + 1000 lbs = 3880 lbs

Lets add in a 3x safety factor so:

Needed windlass pulling power = 3 times the ground tackle = 3380*3= 10,140 lbs

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Sizing a bow thruster

I am considering putting in a bow thruster.  This is a small propeller in a tunnel that is mounted in the nose of the boat.  It allows you to push the bow to either side.  Since this tugboat only has a single screw, it is going to be tricky to dock, especially with a wind or a current.   I found a nice site at Thrustmaster that details how to size one and how to power them. On their site they say, “As a rule of thumb, a bow thruster used for docking and undocking should be capable of producing thrust in pounds of force (lbf) equal to twice the lateral cross sectional vessel area below the water in square feet or two to three times the lateral cross sectional area of the superstructure above the water, whichever is greater.”

Considering just the below water area, I would estimate that the lateral cross sectional vessel area below the water would be the boat length x the draft.  This area is a rectangle, which is bigger than the actual underwater lateral cross section, but a good approximation. For New York Central No. 13, that would roughly be 90 feet long x 9 feet deep = 810 square feet.  As per the guideline, we double that, we get 1620, so 1620 lbf of thrust needed.  Looking at bowthrusters that create that much thrust, it looks like one that is powered by a 80 hp hydraulic motor is in the range. An 80 hp hydraulic motor needs 60 gallons per minute at 2350 psi passing through it. That is a lot of flow. What is that in pipe or hose size? 1″ perhaps?

The Thrustmaster site also says that two smaller units are better than one big unit as there is redundancy and the overall cost is cheaper.

Figure 1 - Tunnel Thruster Installation

Surprisingly, there are 2x nice 40hp Wesmar DPC-25 units on ebay right now that I am looking at.  These are the commercial series models and a single unit is recommended for boats from 50 to 85 ft in length.  So by installing two of these units, I think I am doing pretty good as NYC 13 has a larger draft than a comparable fiberglass vessel of this length.  These bowthrusters have two counter rotating 12 inch propellers per unit.  There is no hydraulic or electric motors to power them in this ebay sale.  They need to be installed into 14 inch steel pipe tunnels.  I could weld in the tunnels and install these units, get the boat back in the water and then come back later to work out the motors and hydraulic lines.  And the seller is located in Brick, NJ which is very close to the boat. Very interesting…



Update Aug 25, 2009 – after careful inspection, it turns out that one of the units is missing some parts.  Both units need the bolts that connect the bronze saddle to the tunnel pipe and the bolts that connect the unit to the saddle.  But one of the units is missing the unique tapered bronze nuts that hold the propellers to the shaft, the keys and the washers.  I have written to Wesmar and they say they can supply these parts.  I am particularly wondering if there is a gasket between the bronze saddle and the pipe and between the unit and the saddle?  Or does it just get bedded with something like 3M Marine Sealant 101 or 5200?

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More TC bolt welding today

P7220213.JPGI am still working my way around the starboard side stern quarter.  It is slower going as it gets to be more overhead welding and there are more TC bolts per square foot.  I found a TC bolt that had no weld on it at all!  Most of these TC bolts have an existing single pass of weld on them already.  I was such an amateur welder when I first welded these that I would grade my work a D+ or C-.  Going back over the welds, I definitely have got the technique down and they are now A+.

Here is the port side stern and you can compare the photo with my last post.  It looks a bit strange with all the different colors of primer – grey, black, green, grey and the still unblasted rust.  I can’t wait to finish these last bits of welding to have the shipyard sandblast the rest of the rust off.  Everything above the waterline will get painted green which is Dimetcote, an inorganic zinc epoxy primer.

On the port side, all the TC bolts have been ring welded except for a few in the bow that need to be finished.

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Rain Day

Roll 2 - 852Hi – Today it was raining pretty good all day so I stayed home to work on my upcoming tour with the band My Bloody Valentine. I’ve been going through my iPhoto folders and found this old photo from May 2007 that I liked. its sometimes nice to look at how bad the boat looked in the past, because the incremental advances seem to blend together and I don’t really see the differences from day too day.

I like this photo because the half round upper and lower rub rails are not welded on yet. And you can see this was before the gunwhales were replaced. The leading edge of the rudder is not on and the boat is only two blocks off the ground. I had the boat picked up and we reset her down three blocks high awhile back so that I could repair the keel. Oh how far she has come!

I will take a picture tomorrow from the same spot so we can do a contrast and compare.

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A bit of history

I didn’t make it out to Tottenville today to go rivet welding as I am getting ready to go on tour again. My money job is as a tour manager for music groups that need a solid, quick thinking, responsible manager to get them from point A to point B. Point A is usually a hotel and Point B is usually a bar or a stage! As Triumph the Insult Comic Dog says “I Keed, I Keed!”.

So instead of another picture of a TC bolt with weld around it, today we go back into the iPhoto archives for a photo treasure. This scan was given to me by ex-South Street Seaport librarian and curator, Norman Brouwer. He told me that someone was throwing away the entire New York Central Railroad Marine department records which were stored on large index cards and someone had found them and given him the complete collection. Here is the card for New York Central No. 13:

Seaport Vessel Card Back
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Some incredible details here. Oil fired boiler which was rebuilt by installing the boiler from NY Central stick lighter No. 11 in 1901 at a cost of $13,400. The original purchase price of NYC No. 13 was $27,500, which is can be calculated into 2009 dollars in many ways. Its $642,172.72 if you use the Consumer Price Index as a gauge. If you use the costs of unskilled wage as a guide then its $3,564,583. Or if you want to use $27,500 in comparison to its relative share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) it would be $29,839,000 in todays dollars!

It lists the compass onboard as being a John Bliss compass number 6511 purchased in may of 1948. I have looked on ebay and John Bliss compasses come up from time to time.

It also lists three separate instances of insurance claims – 9/10/1921 for $4,326.03, 9/10/1924 for $2.043.55 and lastly on 9/24/1926 for $3,775.00. I can only guess as to what happened!

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Another day welding

P7180218.JPGSundays are the quietest days at the shipyard as all the regular workers are off.  So no sandblasting or forklifts running around.  I am getting to the stern on the starboard side of the hull now.  And the hull is going to start to slope back so I will start to have to do more overhead welding which is the most strenuous.  Its like trying to do needlepoint overhead under a shower of hot sparks.  At least this side of the boat is on the east, so its shady most of the day.

I am using 7108 3/16″ welding rod to weld up these TC bolts.

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Welding the TC bolts

P7180224.JPGI used TC (Tension Control) bolts in lieu of rivets where I have replaced the wrought iron plate with steel plate.  Then have a nice rounded head that looks like a button head rivet and they are threaded so I could use a large pneumatic impact hammer to tighten them down.  I forgot how many kegs of these 3/4″ TC bolts I bought, but it was quite a few.  There are 300 bolts with nuts per keg and I maybe used 5 or 6 kegs…  So now I am going over the entire hull welding the bolt heads to the plate so they will never leak.  Here is a close up of one of them welded.

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The pretty end

PICT1873I have started this photoblog in the middle of the actual restoration which leaves me in a quandary as how to start and what past pictures to post here.  But I really like this one from October 2005 of her back end.  All the stern plating has been finished as you can see by all the TC bolts.  And the rudder has been redone as well.  But the port gunwhales are still getting repaired.

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NYC13 wheelhouse Here is what the wheelhouse looked like when I bought the boat.  She was originally named “Oakland” and then when the New York Central Railroad went to a numbering system for their equipment, she was known as “New York Central No. 13″.  When she was sold in the 1960’s, she was renamed “Hay De”.  She has been officially renamed “New York Central No. 13″

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Replacing hull plates

So here is a little photo timeline on how we replated the hull.  The first step, not shown here, was to cut off the old plate and remove all the rivets.  Then to sandblast, prime and paint the stiffeners or ribs.  Here they are grey.  You can see I had to fix some of the connections between the bounding bar and the ribs.


The next step is to weld a pad eye to the dimetecote primed side of the plate.  I used 5/16″ thick steel plate on all these hull plate inserts.  Taking out the old plate and inserting a new one is the best method for restoration.  There is an easier, cheaper way, which is to weld a new plate over the old one.  But then you can never see what is happening between the plates – it could start to rust between the plates and you would never know.


Then we keep pulling it up with the chainhoist until it is in position:


Almost there. And here is a pix of whats going on inside.  My dad is slowly clicking the chain hoist, click by click until we get the top plate edge into the right spot.  You can see the inside surface is painted with the green dimetcote primer and pad eye hook point we welded to it.


Once the top edge is place we start making holes in the plate and reaming them out to accept the 3/4 inch TC bolts.  Starting from the top down, we keep putting in bolts into the original rivet holes and keep tightening the TC bolts using an industrial sized impact hammer, slowly bending the plate into the curved shape of the hull.  Here we are triming off the bottom edge with a cutting torch before we bend in the bottom edge.


And here it is fully installed.  The bottom row of TC bolts pulled the bottom edge in to mate flush with the old iron plate.  You can see the monster drill with the 3/4″ car reamer in the chuck.  I good way to build upper body strength is to stand on a scaffold, lift that beast up to your chest and then hang on for dear life before it rips your arms off or flips you off the scaffold when it catches a burr!


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Starboard side

Here are some pictures from August 2005 for scale. She is a big boat!

Roll 2 - 531

Some hull plates are off and the rudder is getting replated.

Roll 2 - 533

Roll 2 - 459

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