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Old 10-09-2013, 01:40 PM   #1
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Aluminum Boat

I posted this in the wrong category so apologies, please remove/ignore the wrong one...

I have put an offer on an ex-workboat that is entirely aluminum. She has a single Cummins and I will post a photo when the sale is complete.

I am interested in talking to others who have aluminum boats and who might provide some insight into what my future holds. I know there will be no more varnishing nor teak deck seams and bungs nor canvas and I might have to learn to weld, but what pearls of wisdom are out there? She needs a good scrub and some of the lines need replacing but so far she will probably be good to go for a few months as I get to know her and prioritize the transition to "my boat."
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:36 AM   #2
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Start by educating yourself on aluminum corrosion. its a great material for a boat but can be severely damaged in very short order by improperly installed AC and DC equipment. Learn about galvanic current and stray current. DO NOT take any electrical advice from anyone who uses the term "electrolysis" in relation to boat corrosion.
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Old 10-10-2013, 05:48 AM   #3
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I might have to learn to weld,

No way , HIRE a welder.
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:58 AM   #4
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I might have to learn to weld,

No way , HIRE a welder.
I'll second that FF
You can teach a monkey to weld steel, but aluminum...
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Old 10-10-2013, 06:29 PM   #5
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Welding aluminum is more about the equipment and at that point it is cheaper to sub contract the welding out. Most people try to weld aluminum with out a spoil gun fail to get it done well. If you are smart you do as much prefab as possible and then call up the welder to quickly put things together.
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Old 10-10-2013, 08:22 PM   #6
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Aluminum is the absolute best material for a boat. Super easy to work with, and super strong. Boatpoker is absolutely correct. Get a good book on galvanic corrosion. Better off if you never paint above the waterline. Enjoy your new bullet proof boat!
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:03 PM   #7
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Having had a very nice Grand Banks that I did "everything" too, having become an expert on deck repairs, varnishing (I like Le Tonkinoise!), rebedding windows, wiring, plumbing, Lehman care and repairs and extensive cruising with a single engine, the fact that I don't need any canvas, boathouse, winter cover, window covers and the only piece of wood outside the boat is propping open a hatch, I think I am going to like aluminum once I can get past it looking like a giant transom zinc!
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Old 10-11-2013, 02:59 PM   #8
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Although I like the aesthetic of bare aluminum, my one concern about its appearance is that the vessels really are hard to see in many situations, particularly on dull rainy days and low light. Maybe a splash of bright canvas might help, or a huge flag off the stern!
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Old 10-11-2013, 04:38 PM   #9
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I was thinking of polishing it - I polished a DC3 once. Maybe just the wheelhouse. Hmmm...

Just kidding. The expression "polishing a turd" springs to mind.

Colour? Maybe a flag. The only paint will be inside and on the bottom.

I will attach a photo once all the subjects are off - at this point I am afraid to jinx the deal. Stand by...
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:22 AM   #10
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Unfortunately mine was painted, and looked good but paint causes a corrosion problem if water gets under it. The only varnish outside was the flagstaff!
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Old 10-12-2013, 02:44 PM   #11
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Aluminum boats w/o paint look like galvavzed anchors.

I have one aluminum boat and it's painted inside and out. Painting the bottom w anti foul was a pita though ... And expensive. About 12 coats of paint.

How would house paint fly on aluminum? I'm think'in at may sluff off and recoat easily.
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Old 10-12-2013, 08:43 PM   #12
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I have put an offer on an ex-workboat that is entirely aluminum.
Any hints as to length? Beam? Lots of aluminum ex-workboat options on the BC coast!
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Old 10-12-2013, 09:21 PM   #13
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Use an industrial one part urethane will hold up just fine most are rated for offshore use. The cost is about 40 dollars a gallon.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:40 AM   #14
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>I was thinking of polishing it<

If you cruise most of the time you will be removing areas that were polished by rubbing , to make the boat look more uniform.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:18 AM   #15
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"to make the boat look more uniform".... paint

But paint requires maintenance. In Alaska it's more than having an unpainted boat. It's sorta like part of the culture. Real Alaskans don't need that frilly stuff called paint that people down south use like women use makeup. And also it may feed a male identity need.

Painting a boat in Alaska is possible but it cuts into boating time. There's not much weather up there to paint in and most would rather be doing other things. And need to be doing other things. And if you spend the month of June painting and refitting your boat it likely will rain through July and August. It may even rain the whole summer long.

And there's probably another sackfull of reasons I haven't mentioned but up north they either pretend to like bare oxidized aluminum or they actually do and that's scary.
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Old 10-13-2013, 01:46 PM   #16
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And there's probably another sackfull of reasons I haven't mentioned but up north they either pretend to like bare oxidized aluminum or they actually do and that's scary.
That's funny.

I doubt that one hundred years from now, the armchair boater will be reading a periodical named "AluminumBoat".
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Old 10-13-2013, 03:40 PM   #17
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This bare aluminum Kasten design showed up at the dock here a few weeks ago. Unfortunately when I went over to look at it the owners were not on board but what a great looking vessel. Definitely ready for Alaska or anywhere else it wanted to cruise, although not sure about offshore.
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Old 10-13-2013, 06:25 PM   #18
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I happen to think that's gorgeous!

Two ways to go boating: Wax the gelcoat, varnish the trim, reef and replace deck seams, re-do deck bungs, remove and rebuild wood windows, chase rotten balsa with epoxy, remove and repair wood rot, reef wood seams and re caulk, rebed rails, wash, sew and install canvas, winter covers, rail covers etc. etc. OR wash off the bird sh*t and go boating. I have done the former on a very well-done Grand Banks (if I say so myself) and this time I'm going to do the latter. There is all the same work to do inside, I will probably chase and modify the wiring, lighting and install a queen-size bed, the lines need washing and the whole boat needs a scrub. But now I'm done with all that other stuff. I know that aesthetically this boat doesn't compare with a GB, but sitting in the sun in a deck chair with a beer will be easier if I'm not staring at deck seams or infiltrated varnish, and I won't have to shoo away guests in the dinghy while I varnish or repair a seam.
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Old 10-13-2013, 07:01 PM   #19
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I'll also bet that beauty is expensive. My boat will be a lot cheaper than that one, partly because it's older and partly because it's an orphan. And, mine is by far less attractive but it is practical.
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Old 10-13-2013, 11:53 PM   #20
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Two ways to go boating: Wax the gelcoat, varnish the trim, reef and replace deck seams, re-do deck bungs, remove and rebuild wood windows, chase rotten balsa with epoxy, remove and repair wood rot, reef wood seams and re caulk, rebed rails, wash, sew and install canvas, winter covers, rail covers etc. etc. OR wash off the bird sh*t and go boating.
Not a thing wrong with either. A question often asked folks that are new to boating looking for a large old cheap boat is what's their idea of boating? Boat repair or boating? If it's boating avoid anything with wood or shine on it. We spent 2 hours yesterday washing the boat before taking it out and an hour and a half again today before leaving the marina cleaning windows and polishing chrome. We currently enjoy doing maintenance on the boat but can see the allure of hosing the crap off and heading out.

Love that Mike Kasten design above too.
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