Now that you have the plans for your new steel boat, you've thumb tacked a few to the wall, and your friends have looked them over too many times, you should probably get started.
Find the bill of materials, adding 200 or 300 feet of 2"x 2"x 1/4" angle iron for bracing, and 200' feet of 2"x 1/4" flat bar to aid in rib alignment. Make some copies of the list. Take them to a few steel suppliers for estimates. Even if you can't afford to buy all of the steel at once, your intent is to provide the best price. Most steel yards will open an account with a percentage down and monthly payments. A note to those of you who plan to charter: contact the Coast Guard and get the necessary paper work you will need. They will want a copy of the plans, and certification papers for the steel provided by the steel supplier. Also have the pages copied you plan to use. Blueprints and other paper instructions don't seem to hold up well around cutting and welding.
As for tools, those of you who do fabrication at home or at work know what you need. For those brave souls who plan to learn as they go, you're not the first. A fellow I know took a welding class at the local college and started his boat at the same time. He is now sailing the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. If the boat you have decided to build is large enough, you might consider a small diesel-driven arc welder. It can double as an AC generator later. If not, a 250 amp DC arc welder with both CV and CC welding settings is a good choice. Also you will need a oxygen / acetylene cutting set, a 7" or 9" disk grinder, a 4" or 5" disk grinder, clamping devices, and all the necessary safety equipment. Optional tools include a plasma cutter, a wire feed attachment for the welder, a power cutoff saw of some type, all being time-saving tools. Welding
As seen in the Trinity construction photos, a wooden framework is erected to support the boat ribs. The framework aids in the alignment of both the ribs and center lines of the X, Y and Z axis. They are the only straight lines in the boat, and will be the reference points / lines throughout its construction. You will note that the 2" x 2" x 1/4" angle iron rib hangers form a vertical plane the length of the boat. And that the 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" x 3/16" angle iron placed horizontally at the headstock line forms a horizontal plane the length of the boat. Rib Photo
Study the boat plans. The importance of setting the center line and headstock line will be clear. I can't overstress the need for accuracy in this setup. Your plans may have come with rib patterns. Keep in mind the headstock and center line when laying out the rib patterns, and during rib construction. As the plans become clear, you will be ready to start building.
This page was last updated on 09/28/02