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View Full Version : Uno, 120 year-old steamboat--garboard repair



James McMullen
04-03-2015, 07:03 PM
I thought this might be of more general interest than the average run-of-the-mill boat repair. Here's a little photo essay of one of the more unusual boats to come by our way in a while, the steam launch Uno which was launched in 1894.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7584/16396709523_2b583a2a40.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYVquk)

First, got to get the boiler out of the way. Empty of water, it's not too heavy, really.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8719/16829311890_6f0a1d061e.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rD9C6Q)

Off the trailer and blocked, its easier to see that lovely steamboat shape.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7639/16396702593_ff1e472c67.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYVoqR)

And that sexy, sexy steamboat stern. . . Damn, girl!

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8720/16990848236_770035d9a0.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rTqxef)

The old garboard needed replacing, so here it is removed, with the old fastener holes in the frames pegged. You can see that this plank has an awful lot of twist, coming in to that plumb stem.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7612/16394420564_27479e30db.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYHG4w)

James McMullen
04-03-2015, 07:04 PM
The 1" cedar plank got a couple of hours in the steambox, and then was clamped to the plank above overnight to rest, to pre-establish all that twist before hanging. It's pretty handy to have a ready-supplied pre-bending jig on hand, I must say.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7600/17016836525_27e8d2bb53.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rVHJDc)

And here's a shot from the inside, to show you some of the framing and structure.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7643/16829068488_f3ee8efe98.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rD8nKf)

While we're on the inside, I'm sure some of you would like to see the powerplant. This is a double-expansion compound engine, with steam first entering the smaller cylinder at higher pressure, and then the now-lower pressure exhaust entering the bigger cylinder to expand a second time, getting twice as much work out of the same slice of steam.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8754/17015957801_88e27208ff.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rVDeqM)
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8690/16830629189_67af4f26e4.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rDgnFT)

Back to planking, this is of course a tricky fit. First of all, the garboard wasn't the shutter to begin with, right? Originally, this would have been the first plank in, with all the other planks proceeding from there. Getting the bevels just right and cramming it into the hole takes some doing, especially since there's no easy way to clamp things.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7635/16396716123_8e0e13f5d3.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYVss8)

James McMullen
04-03-2015, 07:05 PM
Shores and wedges are a common enough work-around for lack of clamps for an ordinary shutter, but Uno offered some problems here. For one thing, that plank's got a lot of twist, and for another she's just a lil' thang, without the mass to really appreciate too much off-center prodding off her boat stands. She's 120 years old, and needs to be treated with respect. But Andy figured out a non-intrusive shaped block that could be clamped to the keel for wedging the plank home.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8685/16829326220_f0463a6b1f.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rD9GmU)

Moving the wedge block along as needed, and a little gentle persuasion from the hydraulic bottle jack does the trick until the plank is fully home.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7601/16394432324_2d9db93d55.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYHKyh)

One of my favorite things about this boat is the steering mechanism which is somehow both elegant and wholly workmanlike at once. The wheel incorporates an integral capstan, with the cable led through sheaves outboard of the coaming . . .

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8701/16830630169_c2f6d1445d.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rDgnYM)

. . .along the deck through a fairlead block, where it seems it could be reached by the engineer for emergency steering if necessary. . .

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7652/16809443477_3becd88334.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rBoMUZ)

. . .and thence through turning blocks to the tiller, which as you'll note points aft instead of forward. It's a great old boat, isn't it? I want to take the lines off her. . .just in case I ever need a steam launch.

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8755/16830632019_9523d4b750.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rDgowF)

Garret
04-03-2015, 07:20 PM
She's a beauty! Thanks for posting this.

Rich Jones
04-03-2015, 07:53 PM
These types of boats are my current passion. Thanks for posting the pictures. Do you know the designer?
If I were to build such a launch, I would of course include a lug yawl rig as auxillary power.;)

pcford
04-03-2015, 07:56 PM
Sweet hull. But James, it has an engine in it...albeit a steam engine.

Added...look at the bite on that prop! Steam launches have steep pitch...can you read what it is?

timo4352
04-03-2015, 07:59 PM
Pretty cool old boat there. 1894 - wow!
Thanks for showing her.

Paul Pless
04-03-2015, 08:25 PM
more fantail planking pics please

JimD
04-03-2015, 09:03 PM
I want to take the lines off her. . .just in case I ever need a steam launch.



Good idea. You always want to be thinking about what's down the road. Its only a matter of time before you'll need a steam launch and when that time arrives - typically before you know it - you don't want to be caught without lines to work from.

Rich Jones
04-03-2015, 09:07 PM
Good idea. You always want to be thinking about what's down the road. Its only a matter of time before you'll need a steam launch and when that time arrives - typically before you know it - you don't want to be caught without lines to work from. All kidding aside, there is a shortage of good lines for these old boats.

JimD
04-03-2015, 09:12 PM
more fantail planking pics please
A short vid of Saravan heading back to her home at the Ladysmith Maritime Society on Vancouver Island https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtvhPM05Z6w and some more on Saravan http://www.vancouverwoodenboat.com/VWBF2014/Saravan.htm. I'm sure I have seen a photo essay of her being replanked but do you think I can find them now? Also, that's smoke coming out of the stack, not steam. Sorry about the thread drift, James.

James McMullen
04-03-2015, 09:17 PM
As impractical, slow, and unreliable as steamboats are, they count as honorary sailboats, and therefore meet the provisional approval of The James.

jpatrick
04-03-2015, 09:27 PM
Very cool, James. Is Uno a privately owned boat or is there an organization involved? Quite a commitment to own either way.

Jeff

jsjpd1
04-03-2015, 09:27 PM
What a lovely boat, and a tip I can use for pre bending the garboard I need to replace. Thanks James!

Jim

James McMullen
04-03-2015, 09:44 PM
Uno is privately owned, and a regular at many of the Northwest Steam Society meets.

Here's some stats:

LOA 22.7'
LWL 20'
Beam 6'
Draft 2'
Engine: Stuart 6A with Stephenson linkage, 5hp, 500 RPM max
Boiler: 125 PSI operating pressure
Prop: 19" diameter x 24" pitch (whoa!)
Grate area: 3sf
Fuel: oil
Keel condenser: copper 1" 5.23 sf

And here's a fairly recent picture of her underway;

https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8427/7762279250_8645972c82_b.jpg

J.Madison
04-04-2015, 03:55 AM
I don't know if you were serious, but lines for these boats are extremely scarce! Taking the lines would be very valuable if the owner wouldn't object. Really cool boat, thanks for posting.

timo4352
04-04-2015, 05:53 AM
I wonder what is the hole on the front deck that looks like a mast partner? Surely it can't be a flower vase like they are using it in the photo. Could Uno be a converted sailboat?

chuckt
04-04-2015, 08:36 AM
Very cool boat. Wow. James approves of a motor boat. I'll remember that. It's a slippery slope James.

boat fan
04-04-2015, 01:16 PM
Quite stunning lines on that boat James , thanks for posting this !

James McMullen
04-04-2015, 04:06 PM
I don't know if you were serious, but lines for these boats are extremely scarce! Taking the lines would be very valuable if the owner wouldn't object. Really cool boat, thanks for posting.
The owner would be delighted to have the lines taken, and I have been discussing timelines and strategies for doing so with her. And in fact, if any of you PNW guys are interested in going out to Lopez Is. for a weekend and helping me do this, maybe I can set up a work party where we can get this done. And of course we'll publish the results afterwards in some appropriate venue, so that maybe someone can build a Mark II some day. (And maybe name it Dos? :d)

James McMullen
04-04-2015, 04:10 PM
I wonder what is the hole on the front deck that looks like a mast partner? Surely it can't be a flower vase like they are using it in the photo. Could Uno be a converted sailboat?
That is a step and mast partner, though all that has been missing for some time. It might have been for a lights mast? Or perhaps for a simple get-home rig? The hull itself is most definitely steamboat shaped and not sailboat shaped, though it could of course be made to sail after a fashion, and with its deeper keel and deadrise better than many modern, shallow powerboat hulls would, I expect.

pcford
04-04-2015, 04:55 PM
Sweet hull. But James, it has an engine in it...albeit a steam engine.



A huge reward comes to the man who can furnish a picture of McMullet astride a JetSki!!

Falcon1
04-04-2015, 06:24 PM
I think he only jet-skis when James Franco is visiting and they get bored with the tank.

Beautiful boat, and nice work. Thanks for posting.

Bob Cleek
04-05-2015, 04:32 PM
I don't know if you were serious, but lines for these boats are extremely scarce! Taking the lines would be very valuable if the owner wouldn't object. Really cool boat, thanks for posting.

Taking off the lines of any boat that age is always a worthwhile enterprise. I'd add that with a vessel of this age, recording as many details as possible, not just the age, is very valuable. The shape of a boat is just half the story. How to build that shape is every bit as important to know. This is particularly so with fantail launches. The fantail framing can be rather tricky. You don't see many harpins these days. If you don't get the fantail frames perfect, you'll never get that sweet fantail shape to come out right when planking her up. It's not just the garboard that has a wicked twist in it. Those fantail planks are going to twist ninety degrees in a lot of cases.

That said, there are a lot of lines available for fantail launches and the shape isn't rocket science. As the saying goes, "seen one - seen 'em all." Their perceived scarcity is, I think, more a function of their not being modernly published as frequently as other traditional types and particularly not readily available to amateur builders who, frankly, have gotten a bit spoiled by the much greater availability of published lines for home building over the last thirty years or so. Fred Martin's 1901 design catalog is available as a reprint, although the lines are rather small in size.

Title 1901 Album of Designs for Boats, Launches, and Yachts
Author Fred W. Martin
Edition 2
Publisher Altair Publishing Company, 1980
Length 74 pages


Although I haven't seen it, the Racine WI Heritage Museum has published what sounds like a very interesting work:

Title The Boat and Yacht Designs of Fred W. Martin: Reprinted from Existing Original Drawings, Ca. 1896-1902
Author Fred W. Martin
Editor Steve Wheeler
Publisher Racine Heritage Museum, 2009
Length 155 pages

It is only available from the Museum: http://www.racineheritagemuseum.org/ (But I couldn't find any ordering information on their website.)

WoodenBoat mag recently had an article on Fred Martin, generally recognized as one of the premier designers of fantail launches: “Yacht Designs of Fred W. Martin; Racine Wisconsin’s Nearly Forgotten Boatbuilding Industry” in the November/December 2012 issue of WoodenBoat Magazine.

David Goodchild of Toad Hall Press has a number of reprints that cover fantail launches, notably Bill Dunham's Standard Boats of the United States Navy, 1900-19015, which has photos and reprints of lines and construction drawings of the US Navy standard steam launches of the time. http://dngoodchild.com/4914.htm (These lines and construction drawings should also be available in full size format from the US Navy History and Heritage Command, http://www.history.navy.mil/, or the US Navy Museum at the Washington Navy Yard, which preserves all available drawings for US Navy vessels.)

You'll also find three or four nice fantail launches in Pete Culler's Boats: The Complete Design Catalog and the lines, construction details and offsets for a very nice 34' fantail launch also in Culler's Skiffs and Schooners. Given the nature of the lines, they aren't too difficult to scale up or down. There won't be a whole lot available though beyond the 40' range because the USCG regulations require carrying a USCG licensed steam engineer on any steam vessel above that length.

If anybody has seen the Racine Museum's The Boat and Yacht Designs of Fred W. Martin: Reprinted from Existing Original Drawings, I'd like to hear what they think of it. Ditto if anybody knows how to buy one from the museum. They don't seem to have any contact information on line, which is rather surprising in this day and age.

Bob Cleek
04-05-2015, 05:15 PM
A huge reward comes to the man who can furnish a picture of McMullet astride a JetSki!!

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/01/03/article-0-02EDFF34000005DC-439_468x609.jpg

pcford
04-05-2015, 05:52 PM
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2009/01/03/article-0-02EDFF34000005DC-439_468x609.jpg

Cleekster, Certainly a remarkable resemblance, but this person does not have the characteristic Hammurabi style goatee that McMullet sports. (All the better to issue thundering denouncements from on high.)

James McMullen
04-05-2015, 08:33 PM
Thank you, gentlemen. I may well have found my new avatar.

Pitsligo
04-05-2015, 11:09 PM
Heavens to Mergatroid! I'm in love!


As impractical, slow, and unreliable as steamboats are, they count as honorary sailboats...

Amen. (And well said.)

Alex

BBSebens
04-05-2015, 11:14 PM
Off the trailer and blocked, its easier to see that lovely steamboat shape.

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7639/16396702593_ff1e472c67.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/qYVoqR)

And that sexy, sexy steamboat stern. . . Damn, girl!

https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8720/16990848236_770035d9a0.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/rTqxef)




damn. That's one sexy boat.

Bob Cleek
04-06-2015, 11:57 AM
https://farm9.staticflickr.com/8720/16990848236_770035d9a0.jpg

Trivia bit: Those beautiful sterns left a lot of "dead air" in an area that was pretty much impossible to reach once the boat was closed up. A leaky after deck was the doom of many a fantail launch. I've seen more than one that had the ass end simply chopped off straight across and replaced with a flat transom! It added a bit more life to the boat, often for a long while. IIRC, there's a small fantail steam launch that was raised from the depths of Lake Tahoe (deep, cold and pretty anaerobic, so well preserved) that's displayed in the Lake Tahoe Maritime Museum which exhibits this "repair."

Gerarddm
04-06-2015, 12:14 PM
Exquisite lines on that hull. Veddy nize!

chuckt
04-06-2015, 12:37 PM
Thanks Bob. I may chuckle over that pic all day.

John Meachen
04-06-2015, 04:28 PM
Very cool boat. Wow. James approves of a motor boat. I'll remember that. It's a slippery slope James.

Maybe we should check the Rowan thread to see if the new paint is purple metalflake or if the centreboard has been cast aside to leave space for a V8.

Pitsligo
04-06-2015, 09:15 PM
A leaky after deck was the doom of many a fantail launch.

Okay, so here's the next question: how would one build such a gorgeous stern but avoid that problem?

Copious venting for air circulation is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are limits to what's possible.

Cold-molding and complete encapsulation of the wood is the second thing.

Could you design and engineer such a stern specifically to minimize the hazard of fresh water accumulation and rot?

Alex

Garret
04-06-2015, 09:42 PM
Cowl vents, hatches & vents into the cockpit come to mind for me.

Bob Cleek
04-06-2015, 09:46 PM
Okay, so here's the next question: how would one build such a gorgeous stern but avoid that problem?

Copious venting for air circulation is the first thing that comes to mind, but there are limits to what's possible.

Cold-molding and complete encapsulation of the wood is the second thing.

Could you design and engineer such a stern specifically to minimize the hazard of fresh water accumulation and rot?

Alex

Yep, lots of air circulation. A cowl vent on deck, or two, and ventilation forward to ensure air flow. A lazarette hatch that would improve access wouldn't be a bad idea, either. Many fantail launches had a lazarette hatch, or if fancy, a large bronze "manhole cover" on the after deck to permit ready access to the rudder shaft and steering gear. You use good wood. You seal it well all around before assembly. (Red lead, shellac and paint, or, modernly, CPES and enamel paint over that) Use proper bedding compound on all your joints. Maintain the decking to prevent freshwater leaking from above. Simple as that.

"Complete encapsulation of the wood" is a fool's errand. That's been discussed here ad nauseam. Like a perpetual motion machine, preventing rot by "encapsulation" in epoxy is impossible to achieve and a sure recipe for rot at one point or another. I wish people would understand that, but they don't... until they find themselves tearfully pulling out handfuls of punky wood. It is a fraud perpetrated by the plywood and polymer industries. (And now somebody whose "epoxy encapsulated" plywood boat that's stored in their garage is going to chime in that their boat is five or ten years old and it works just fine... no rot!)

James McMullen
04-06-2015, 11:26 PM
Uno is an open boat, no bulkheads or sealed chambers.

Pitsligo
04-07-2015, 11:29 AM
"Complete encapsulation of the wood" is a fool's errand.

Sorry. I forgot that irony doesn't come across in text. I meant that sentance to translate as "or is it simply not possible to engineer that space or construction style to be resistant to rot."

120 years old seems to speak well of going with no bulkheads or sealed chambers. Wooden boats need to breathe.

Alex

Bob Cleek
04-07-2015, 04:07 PM
Sorry. I forgot that irony doesn't come across in text. I meant that sentance to translate as "or is it simply not possible to engineer that space or construction style to be resistant to rot."

120 years old seems to speak well of going with no bulkheads or sealed chambers. Wooden boats need to breathe.

Alex

You betcha! Closing them up is what kills them in the end every time. They can't all be open boats, but the open boats sure are the proof that air is the best rot preventative known to man.