View Full Version : Bigwin 66' all wood steamer

Jeff G
09-03-2002, 05:46 PM
Last April I mentioned our Historical Foundation was rebuilding a steamer. We are in the process of starting the job. I should add that we will use donated money which is tax deductible. Also we are receiving government grants. So cost is important in that we wish to use our money well but we dont need to worry about not having enough we want this boat to be preserved.

The construction is composite with steel stringers welded to a steel keel. The planks are cyprus and they are bolted to the steel frame with carriage bolts. My shipwright is used to smaller boats, Dukes, Gravettes, Sheppards etc. He is used to replacing planks by planning them to an even 1/000 gap and refastening them. I noticed however, and I am a rank amateur, that the old hull has larger gaps filled with oakum. Also I assume as we take apart the hull that we should only remove a few stringers at a time. How important would that be?

Any help would be appreciated. Also is there a way for me to attach digital images to this forum message?

Thanks Jeff

09-04-2002, 08:02 AM
Good news. Where's the rebuilding taking place? I spent a happy summer on Lake of Bays when I was young.

I'm a rank amateur too, but large planks such as used here need more play, due to water expansion. If the tolerances are too tight, the planks will buckle and pop right off the frames. As a comment, looks like your builder could use a hand. Perhaps someone from WoodWind yachts, there's also an experienced shipwright in Penetang, works for Discovery Harbour. (They've just completed rebuilding of the "Bee".)

Posting photos -- you need a webposting service, such as www.imagestation.com. (http://www.imagestation.com.) Follow their instructions to set up a "gallery" and post your photos. When the photo is posted, right click on it, and select the Properties. Select the URL for the photo and copy it. In the Forum, start your post and click the Image button. An Image field appears. Paste the URL into the Image field.

[ 09-04-2002, 09:03 AM: Message edited by: WWheeler ]

09-04-2002, 10:22 AM
Pictures would be very helpful. When you mention stringers do you actually mean frames, or longitudinal members such as bilge stringers and keelsons? Are the shelf and clamp wood or steel? Are the deck beams wood or steel? Are they intact and securely in place? Does the vessel have any "tie rods" that help hold it together athwartship? If so, what is their condition? How thick and how wide are your planks? Are you renewing the steel frames also?. How wasted are the steel frames? I assume that they are shaped and fabricated like angle iron? What are their dimensions? How far apart are they spaced? Most importantly, how are the hull, keel and stern supported? It general it's best not to get too carried away with the demolition. You're undertaking a pretty significant restoration process. Go easy at first, get to know the boat, and yourselves, so to speak. There are alot of important things to consider before you tear into her with your "take apart toys". Do alot of measuring and documentation prior to making removals. Take lots of pictures. Don't be afraid to make templates/patterns of existing parts and pieces of the boat if you feel it's significant. You may be suprised at how useful some of that information may become later on. Do you have suitable wood for the rebuild already stored and seasoned? Or is it yet to be ordered? Good luck

Jeff G
09-05-2002, 05:01 PM
I hope these images come through okay. The steel angle transverse frame is 21/2"x2"x1/4" on 16" centres with galvanized bolts holding the 11/2" cyprus planking in place. The bilge stringers and centreline keelson are 2 21/2"x31/2"x5/16" steel angles riveted back-to-back. The centreline keelson stops below the present engine and the engine bed is connected to 2 stringers on either side of the propeller shaft to the after end of the vessel. The sheer strake is a 9" steel plate on the outside of the frames and recessed into the planking. I do not know what shelf and clamp means. The boat does not have a large deck as you will see if my picture turns out. The supports for the interior deck are steel and the upper deck wood. All seem in good condition. I dont see anything that looks like what I would call a tie rod however the fllor supports run from the port frame side to the starbourd so this would help hold the ship together. Some had been replaced with wood, all are being renewed in steel. The planks are 11/2" thick and vary from 3' to 5' wide approximately. Hopefully you can see some detail if the pictures are present. I have taken some pitures but will take more this weekend. We will also start numbering all the pieces of planking and mapping and measuring each before removal. We have not ordered the wood yet. I have seen 2 options one is old growth cyprus which is very moist or kiln dried cyprus which has been kiln dried and at about 12 to 13 percent moisture content. How important is this election and what should I be looking for. I was told today that the boards should be fit together at the bottom and then plane a 15degree bevel for the calking or sealer. Any comments on this? Jeff Gabura http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid31/pfe799485bf79254ebc3fddb8ff29c54c/fd4e4b66.jpg.thumb.jpg http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid31/pee3ccc7f24f0d69665a2c45a8adf1501/fd4e4b59.jpg http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid31/p149948c70b6ec4588fbbe9092b0b7c23/fd4e4b2c.jpg http://www.imagestation.com/picture/sraid31/pa2951d8af44ce12e8e2ad1d4f9743a64/fd4e4b02.jpg

09-06-2002, 12:22 PM
woof! where to start?

I think that you need some technical answers, but also you need to carefully think about your overall plan.

Are you planning to replace all planks, or some? Have you had a survey or overview to mark areas of rot? I'd assume that there's not much point to numbering them, unless you're using them as a template for making new ones. If they're coming off the boat, you'll never get them back on again.

Building: I see it's out in the open. A top priority should be to get up a temporary building. See previous posts on "Cheap Boat Sheds" or something like that. There's some cheap steel/tarp combos such as "Coverall". The job could take a while, and you'll get rain/snow/ice in the hull, which will ruin the work in progress.

Wood: The grey beard forumites generally agree that you MUST avoid kiln dried, since it reduces the flexibility of the wood fibres. You need to get a supply of wood that is green, then air dry it, perhaps for up to a year. Other forumites can comment about the moisture content issue for planking. (See Lee Valley for moisture meteres.) Again, that planning thing.

Stickers need to be carefully placed between the planks, at about 3-4' intervals, to ensure that they don't warp. I'm not sure what you mean by cyprus, is this cypress? Not familiar with the rot resistance/durability of this species. I assume that you're attempting to copy a bevel that's in the existing planks. Ok so far, but it all depends on your survey.

[ 09-06-2002, 01:29 PM: Message edited by: WWheeler ]

Paul Scheuer
09-06-2002, 12:57 PM
Can we get that overall pic slightly larger (for the old farts, like me). ;)

Jeff G
09-06-2002, 03:36 PM
I think this will give you a larger picture. We are planning on replacing all of the planks. We should have a roof over it by the spring but will cover it well for the winter. We have had a survey done and 40% of wood is okay however we have decided to replank the entire hull. We will number the planks so we can use them as a template. I am told that the way to fit the planks is to fit them close at the bottom and then bevel the wood at about a 15 degree angel to be filled with sealer. How close should the wood fit at the bottom and should the bevel go right to the bottom of the 1 1/2 inch plank? You are correct that is cypress.

09-06-2002, 03:59 PM
Searching the forum, the reviews on cypress are mixed, as in the following:

Dale Harvey

posted 01-22-2001 09:46 AM
If you can obtain old growth cypress from a recycler or river salvage, it is good stuff. Most all of what is commonly available new is junk. Little or no durability, shrinks badly, sucks up a ton of water, too weak if cut much under 1". New stuff does work well with epoxy saturation if you get enough on and protect it well. Any breach will cause lots of trouble because of wet expansion. "

How about tamarack as a alternative? It's relatively cheap, extremely rot resistant and hard-wearing. Also it's a native Ontario wood. The challenge is pick through a pile at a yard that cuts it and get good quality. For example Miller Lumber in Barrie would probably have some.


[ 09-06-2002, 05:00 PM: Message edited by: WWheeler ]