The List

DougSteel Boat


The List – Sept 2015

People often ask, “What do you need?” and “What’s next?”.    Here’s a partial list of what needs to be done.

Outstanding Questions

1) A definitive answer as to weather of not the Allison AT545 transmission will lock into the first gear or slip. Serial # 3210627425 Part #29507181 Model: AT545 93BOT

2) Paint selection that can work best with wet blasting.


*  ROV – needs wiring harness built. There are no plans but it could be done by someone with good electronics knowledge.

*  Finish welding on the deck and cabin top.

*   Complete and mount the dragons on the pilothouse.

*   Reconnect a coolant system to the Cummings diesel engine so it can be started on its temporary mount.

*   Take apart the Suzuki 150 outboard to have a better look inside and ponder rebuilding it.

Ready to Start

*   Deck crane overhauled and a hydraulic power pack built with a 13hp diesel engine (on hand).

*   Deck crane mount built and crane installed.

*   Helm quadrant constructed and mounted to the rudder post.

*   Design and build a chain and cable helm with a 2:1 reduction.

*   Finish weld the external seams of the hull, above and below the water line.

*   Cut and install 3/8″ keel reinforcing in the forward cabin.

*   Cut and install 1/2″ bow reinforcing and forward mast step in the crush compartment.

*   Cut and install 1″ and 1/2″ reinforcing frames in the aft cabin to support the frames built into the skeg.

*   Trim the second set of propeller blades to fit the shroud, then balance both sets of blades.

*   Cast the bronze capstans for the anchor winch.

*   Fabricate the two aluminum doors for the pilot house.

Little Stuff

*   Wire the remote start for the sand blast compressor.

*   Clean out the shed.

Cabin Tops – Tops

DougCabin Tops, Steel Boat

So I was thinking that we would get the first top plate on by Sunday afternoon, but with an amazing amount of help we actually got all of them on before lunch on Sunday!   We need a week to clean up and resupply and then we’ll start on the hatches and final welding.  A this rate we’ll be watertight by Winter!    I own a thank you to all of the Seeker crew and this week a special thanks to Ed Wheeler from New York City.   Ed is a pleasure to work beside and learn from, and he is an amazing metal sculptor.   You can see his work at




Cabin Tops – Part 4

DougCabin Tops, Steel Boat

We had a great week, despite the heat.   David Finch delivered our day tank, and also put in welds on the cabin tops.  Jack got started on the braces for the forward cabin top.   And we are moving the last of the big sheets of steel up onto the boat.  When we put up our 23 ft tall gantry cranes we were planing on building a 65 ft boat, so now we are having to get creative in order to move steel over a 74 ft boat.

A “Day Tank” is a fuel tank often elevated about the engine which contains fuel pumped from the main tank through a set of filters.  Unused fuel pumped by the engines injector pump or “return fuel” is also cycled back to this tank.  And the tanks location in the generally hot engine room allows the fuel to warm up which makes it more easier to atomize and  burn.


Labor Day Labor

DougCabin Tops, Steel Boat

vs150906-002  David Finch delivered our day tank (fuel) and also put in time welding on the cabin tops.  Many thanks!

vs150906-001  Getting my daily dose of iron.

vs150906-005  Jack and I tacking on more cabin top before the sun drove us away.

vs150906-004  Trying to work fast so I can move back into the shade.

vs150906-003  Jack testing a grappling hook for boarding.   A skill that we plan to use once on the water.

Cabin Tops – Part 3

DougCabin Tops, Steel Boat

17 Days till the end of summer! The heat index is over 100F (38C) this weekend, but the end is in sight. During the cooler mornings we are still making progress on the cabin tops, and it’s been great to retreat into the shop during the afternoons.

Outboard Postmortem

DougOutboards, Work boats

Pulled the heads, and it sure does not look good to me. Let me know what you think.

This truck does indeed look like the truck in the ad. I have used it frequently for many months on an errand and never once do you think the driver of the truck feels like he is “stressed out”. The interior looks nice, and the handling does very well with a non cdl weight limit it works great.

Outboard Overheating, Seizing, and Dying

DougOutboards, Steel Boat, Work boats

Not a bad run. Nineteen years of undoubtedly hard use as a marina rental. It gave us less than 15 minutes on the water, but she gave us a number of valuable lessons. When I was a kid I spent a lot of time swimming in lakes, while my dad fiddled with outboards. I really think that’s the part he really enjoyed about boating. And I now share his appreciation. I just wish he had lived long enough to share his knowledge. …but through the internet, I’ve got a great group of surrogate dads. So thank’s to all my dads out there. …and a few of you are like my mother! But that is another story.

Foam Sculpture – Part 5 – Lost Foam

DougFoam Sculpture, Steel Boat

Leilani from Portland Oregon joined us and helped carve our second dragon. It’s a ton of work and time and it feels great to have both dragons progressing. It’s a lot of my time taken away from working on the structure of the boat, but I think construction like life must contain more than timelines and efficiency. What’s the point of working so hard if all it gives us is more time to work hard? The dragons have a function, but they are much more than function. They are an expression of character. A moment of fun and pleasure.

Cabin Tops II

DougCabin Tops, Steel Boat

Had a great weekend dodging the heat.   Work on the boat from 7 to 11 and the rest of the day got spent working on the Dragon.