I just acquired a early 70's 56'x14' stardust cruiser.
First i want to say i have a early 70's model 40'x11' stardust now, so know the benefits and hassles of steel hull older boat.
The 56' i just got for about nothing and it has a trailer, so it will be at my house to work on for the winter/spring, hopefully i can get it done by summer. I do also know will prolly have more in it then its worth but want to do most to all of it myself so i can HOPEFULLY be proud of it. LOL.
Ok so i am going to strip it down to the framing, i want to do the inside of the hull. i was thinking about using a wire brush setup on a side grinder and sanding the inside and then prepping with some type of rust inhibitor, and priming.
So what do you guys think about that? or can i just sand and use like rustolenum primer and leave it at that?
Then to the outside of the hull. first i would have to get the boat off the trailer. What do i set it on? i know how to get it off the trailer just need to know what to set it on.
Then do i sandblast the hull or can i use a really strong pressure water or what. Then what do i use to prime it with? I have the ability to rhino line it, what do you guys think of that, i was wanting to rhino line the hull and decks.
What is a good material to use on the outside walls?
What size of water tanks for fresh and black? 2 people weekend getaway..
Insulation, can i just use that blue/pink board?
Any other tips and suggestions would be great.
Sandblasting in and out is the only way to go. Rustoleum primer on inside and above water surfaces on the outside. Coal Tar epoxy on bottom. Foam board is a good choice for insulation with the right adhesive. Also consider sprayed foam and plain old fiberglass batt with out the paper.
Get expert help on bunking the boat as it's a safety issue. Your going to be on the hard a long time, make sure your in an area where rain won't wash away support under the bunks.
These old steel boats are subject to catastrophic sinking from hull rust out. MAKE SURE YOU SOUND EVER INCH OF THE BOTTOM and replace any thin plating. Keel area and engine compartment are first areas prone to failure. Do you have insurance available when your done. In many areas it's almost impossible to obtain insurance on old steel houseboats.
IMHO you would be far and away better off to walk away from this and look for an aluminum houseboat in which to invest your time and money. I have rebuilt 4 houseboats and what your describing will take you 2 to 3 years of part time work. The worst part of the whole deal is that you will have put all the time and money into it and, in the end, you will have a worthless steel boat that is uninsurable, and un sellable. More and more marinas will not allow steel houseboats due to the risk of abandonment by the owners.
If you think I'm trying to discourage you in this endeavor , your right. I hate to see your effort wasted on a project such as this when the same effort and expense could end up profitably if put to a sellable hull.
Steam Boat Willy rebuilt a glass hull from the bare hull up. Although not worth what he has in it , it is still insurable, sellable , and welcome at any marina.
The winner here is the person who sold you the boat. They have avoided disposal and storage costs.
I know your not going to follow this advice so please document your project with pictures and keep us informed of your progress. There are many of us interested in following rebuilds.
Mike Wolfe rebuilt a steel River Queen a few years ago. You might be interested in reviewing his experience.
Edited: 11/12/2010 at 11:01:47 PM by OLD HOUSEBOATER
Having owned a steel boat (40' Riverqueen) I can tell you what I would do. As you should know the most important thing with a steel hull is keeping the inside DRY. That being said I would.
1. Start with the outside hull first. Sandblast the hull. This will reveal any area's that need repair and prep the hull for paint.
2. Paint hull with Coal Tar Epoxy. This is a great product . Coal Tar doesn't need a primer on a sand blasted surface. My old boat has 16 yrs on the paint with only minor touch up's. I have heard of people using Rhino liner on the wetted surface of the hull but I have never personally seen it done.
3. Wire brushing and painting the inside is good. I would think any epoxy paint and primer designed for steel would work. Just remember your goal is to have a Dry bilge.
4. You will need a high quality paint with UV inhibitors for the exterior walls. Do not use standard house paint it will start to chaulk after a couple years. I had good luck with a Benjamin Moore Polyurethane paint or you could use a marine topside paint but they are very pricey. I tried some Sherwin Williams industrial enamels and they did not hold up well.
5. Put a large as possible fresh water tank. Women can never have enough water.
6. The rigid foam insulation will work but the R value is much less than a fiberglass bat insulation.
Good Luck with your project
I see OLDHOUSEBOATER types faster than me. His advice as always is absolutely correct.
1991 70' Pluckebaum Baymaster 10' AB RIB 25hp Suzuki