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Sparkz

External boat repair

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Hi there,

New to this forum, it looks very good.

My friend has bought a Dutch cruiser steel boat which is needing a lot of repair around the windows as they leak due to the metal being so rusted. The plan is to treat the rust and take out the windows to reseal them. However it will probably be the case that when the windows are removed the rusted decaying metal surrounding the windows will break away so welding new metal is going to be required. I have been looking at what marine metal to purchase for this job - any suggestions please? The boat is on canal not on the ocean but was originally designed for the sea. 

Any advise will be greatly appreciated many thanks in advance 

 

Sparkz 

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12 minutes ago, Sparkz said:

Hi there,

New to this forum, it looks very good.

My friend has bought a Dutch cruiser steel boat which is needing a lot of repair around the windows as they leak due to the metal being so rusted. The plan is to treat the rust and take out the windows to reseal them. However it will probably be the case that when the windows are removed the rusted decaying metal surrounding the windows will break away so welding new metal is going to be required. I have been looking at what marine metal to purchase for this job - any suggestions please? The boat is on canal not on the ocean but was originally designed for the sea. 

Any advise will be greatly appreciated many thanks in advance 

 

Sparkz 

Whereabouts in the world are you ?

Where you can take it will depend on it length, beam and draft (depth), can you provide that information ?

 

If so you will get suggestions for boat-yards that can work on it.

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Hi

the boat at the moment is on the river Lea in Tottenham London. I have someone who is going to help - but may turn out that a boat yard is required but this is so expensive - the nearest boat yard charges £80 per day just to have the boat there ...  

I need some advice on what sheet metal to buy for welding, my friend can weld but he's not a boat person more of a car mechanic!

not sure of the measurements shall try and upload a pic. It's not a big boat.image.jpeg.4a514330411f97f4e2a3c3483f7380f4.jpeg

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Since the metal has rusted, it's mild steel - only the thickness is unknown, but it is quite likely to be 4mm.

(which makes it "plate", strictly speaking!)

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Are the front windows opening, where the steel thickness could be measured . Looks like they may be hinged?

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Ok thanks - not sure what plate means but I can look it up ..

1 minute ago, rusty69 said:

Are the front windows opening, where the steel thickness could be measured . Looks like they may be hinged?

The back windows are hinged so yes could measure thickness there 

 

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What I would do. Without looking at the boat I would think there is a chance that the metal might be OK, rusty, scabby, maybe even perforated but with carefully applied filler and careful sanding and painting and new flexible seals (the old ones might be hard and cracked) you could get away without welding. It will be v. difficult to weld new metal in and I reckon you will use even more filler trying to make it look reasonably ok. I would try hard to avoid welding if you can.

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These are typical dutch boat windows held in by a rubber seal just like a car. I would take one window out (the worst one) and you may not find the rust is as bad as you think it just pushes the rubber seal away from the surface and you get leaks. Take the window out and clean back to bear metal and prime it well (several coats). Once you have taken the rubber seal out you will find a lot of rust in the groove. If you want to reuse the rubbers you need to get all of it out. Better if you can find new rubbers. Because of the pits left by the rust you will have to reseal between the rubbers and the metal using something like sikaflex ebt. Might not cost you more than a few quid.

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19 minutes ago, Sparkz said:

Ok thanks - not sure what plate means but I can look it up ..

The back windows are hinged so yes could measure thickness there 

 

Thin steel is sheet, when it gets thicker it’s called plate.  I thought the change from sheet to plate was about 5mm, but when you buy they will know what you mean.

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3 minutes ago, Bee said:

What I would do. Without looking at the boat I would think there is a chance that the metal might be OK, rusty, scabby, maybe even perforated but with carefully applied filler and careful sanding and painting and new flexible seals (the old ones might be hard and cracked) you could get away without welding. It will be v. difficult to weld new metal in and I reckon you will use even more filler trying to make it look reasonably ok. I would try hard to avoid welding if you can.

Ok thank you

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Thank you peoples for your advice I really appreciate it :)

6 minutes ago, Mike Adams said:

These are typical dutch boat windows held in by a rubber seal just like a car. I would take one window out (the worst one) and you may not find the rust is as bad as you think it just pushes the rubber seal away from the surface and you get leaks. Take the window out and clean back to bear metal and prime it well (several coats). Once you have taken the rubber seal out you will find a lot of rust in the groove. If you want to reuse the rubbers you need to get all of it out. Better if you can find new rubbers. Because of the pits left by the rust you will have to reseal between the rubbers and the metal using something like sikaflex ebt. Might not cost you more than a few quid.

Thank you 

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One volume of metal iron can make up to 10 volumes of rust. Can look really worse than it us.

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that boat looks to be comparatively recent build - it is highly unlikely that the rust is other than superficial surface rust with a bit of pitting  .........  as already suggested, remove a window, do a good clean-up and repair with car body filler supplied by Halfords, or epoxy filler from a specialist if you want the best.

 

nice boat - good luck.

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Welding on the edge where the windows are is asking for trouble with distortion with the heat.

They don't look bad, seen much worse that has been saved.

Seals Direct will have the correct rubbers if you need new.

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Once you have the windows out attack the rust with a saucer shape wire brush in an angle grinder (gloves, goggles needed) then treat with a rust killer like Fertan or Vactan before the prime and paint stage. Don't forget to look at the inside of the steel as well as the outside or Mr Rust will be back swiftly.

An alternative would be to try one of the small-area grit blasters sold for car restoration work, if you have access to a suitable compressor.  It is likely to be messy though.

 

N

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And I it really does need a welded repair, it would be usual for the welder to supply whatever steel is needed.

He will need to cut it to the right size and shape. It is not something you need to buy beforehand.

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The steel on boats is a lot thicker than that on cars, so there will almost certainly be good metal underneath. A bit of rust is not the disaster, needing serious welding that it often is on cars. It can get to that stage with pitting on the hull at and under the water line, but that isn't your problem. As others here have said, remove the rust back to bare metal inside and out and treat with an anti rust product, then repaint and put the windows back in with new seals. Should be good for many years afterwards. 

 

Jen

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You may well find that it isn't as bad as it looks. Start with one window and work your way around.

 

Several friends of ours have dutch steel cruisers and they have all had to have windows out to treat rust and reseal them.

 

Once the surface rust is removed and the surface retreated the leaks stop if resealed properly.

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As said, its very likely that the rust is not as bad as it looks, because unlike a car it was probably 3-4mm to start with.

Most narrowboats have aluminium frame window historically stuck in with silicon, and these have there own issues, but the h-section rubber steal love to rust! 

 

Mechanical wire brushing can work well, as can needle scalers, but I would likely also use a rust converter assuming it well pitted and you can get it all back to bright steel.

I would then fill the pits with either a high spec waterproof filler, or high build epoxy paint. Avoid car body filler as its full of clay and porous just where you don't want it.

 

Then obviously get some good paint on it before re-fitting.

Will you be re-using the same window/glass (presumably with new h-section) or replacing the whole lot with a framed window?

 

 

Daniel

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5 hours ago, DHutch said:

As said, its very likely that the rust is not as bad as it looks, because unlike a car it was probably 3-4mm to start with.

Most narrowboats have aluminium frame window historically stuck in with silicon, and these have there own issues, but the h-section rubber steal love to rust! 

 

Mechanical wire brushing can work well, as can needle scalers, but I would likely also use a rust converter assuming it well pitted and you can get it all back to bright steel.

I would then fill the pits with either a high spec waterproof filler, or high build epoxy paint. Avoid car body filler as its full of clay and porous just where you don't want it.

 

Then obviously get some good paint on it before re-fitting.

Will you be re-using the same window/glass (presumably with new h-section) or replacing the whole lot with a framed window?

 

 

Daniel

Thank you Daniel (and everyone) for great advice - we may just get the windows framed with metal if the metal disintegrates when we remove the windows, a few people have commented about how welding can prove difficult, also a friend of mine gave same advice so the way forward might be to have the Windows put in metal frame. Need to research who could do that, a blacksmith somewhere I imagine! 

Thanks again x 

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16 minutes ago, Sparkz said:

Thank you Daniel (and everyone) for great advice - we may just get the windows framed with metal if the metal disintegrates when we remove the windows, a few people have commented about how welding can prove difficult, also a friend of mine gave same advice so the way forward might be to have the Windows put in metal frame. Need to research who could do that, a blacksmith somewhere I imagine! 

Thanks again x 

Kedian Engineering could do that for you, you dont want a Blacksmith. 

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You can get new aluminium framed windows which would be the best solution but I think you are looking at several thousand to replace them all. I don't know about the state of the rest of the boat but those old dutch cruisers were usually built with quite thin steel (4mm) and if not well maintained can have some issues.

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