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Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:04 pm
by electric tug
hi everyone-

wonder if anyone has pics or if anyone else is building any hankinson steel tugs?
Im doing a steel FM. 26 ft.

Ill post some pics as i progress--i presently have twelve frames done and I am about to mount them to the strongback...

view my vids on my youtube channel:

hope to hear from people out there. I'd be happy to answer any questions and probably have a few of my own... :D

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:28 am
by slug
Looking good so far.
One suggestion :shock: I'm assuming that you are new to welding? Better were more skin protection...those are some serious ultra violet rays you're dealing with.

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:40 am
by electric tug
Thanks Slug- Im not new to it--but yea just get lazy now and then. building a steel boat is 90% set-up and 10 % welding...

Ill be outside now setting it up- so ill be forced to wear a lot of protection...

DId you use your wooden titan this summer?

if so how did you find the kubota you used?? was it powerful enough? good fuel consumption?

what size prop did you use?

Thanks for the response

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2012 4:17 pm
by slug
Yes we did get the Titan in the water...put about 500 miles on it. Worked like a charm :D .
The Kubota 1105 worked very well. Under normal cruising ( about 2200rpm ..5 to 5.5 knots )we got over 20 miles per gallon. I ended up with an 18 by 10 3blade prop and it seemed perfect. The plans call for a 22" but it is way too big for this boat. I don't think any more power would increase the speed. as 3200 will only get us up to 6 knots. We just go deeper in the water :lol: .
If you look up my posts in the Hankinson section I've covered most of the build and my personal touches. ( dry stack, keel cooling, Schilling rudder)

I would strongly suggest the Schilling type rudder. The boat will almost turn in it's own length, and even with only 45 deg. of rudder ( limited by the length of the ram ) when turned off full rudder, the prop wash is almost 90deg to the keel...amazing.
Apparently you can go to 70 deg rudder before it will "stall".
Hope this helps;

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:33 pm
by electric tug
Hi Doug- seems us tugboat guys share the same name... :)

I loved your thread on your build- it was inspiring to say the least and i have read through it several times before I started my build. I almost got a set of the titan plans but needed a slightly larger boat for cruising- Ill be using my tug boat just to cruise in summers and do the occasional tow of a 24 ft houseboat which will become my home.

I must say what an unbelievable job you did on your boat. I stole a couple pics from the build of your finished boat and used them for screen backdrops to keep me inspired- hope you didnt mind that?

I have never seen a rudder like that but in the future i might just build one- where do you get the plans?
where did you find out about it? does it need to be stainless?

Im using a pretty big rudder as it is. Unfortunately I already had my rudder nc cut along with my keel.

I have a 36 hp thorneycroft with a 4.25 : 1 gearing and a 20 x 20 prop. it has lots of towing pull and should get about 8 around 6.
There are things on the plans that throw me the pilothouse...but im sure when the time comes ill figure it out--

I really love your boat- tyour based near me..well relatively- I live near manitoulin Island.

Thanks again..p.s. any youtube vids of her running?

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:46 pm
by slug
May be up by Manitoulin next summer. Plan on going to Tugfest at Midland for Aug 17. 18 ( I think )
I found an article on the web posted by a guy in England who had one designed for him, and the size was exactly the same as shown in the plans, so I used his measurements he had posted and had the parts water jetted.


Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:54 pm
by electric tug
Doug- I just lost a big reply to you-

grrrrr.... :x

I have been going to the tugfests for a couple years now--they are great! and i have seen everything from big old large river tugs to Jay Benfords 31 ft'er design.

If you go call me- 705-596-2286- i wanna see yours in the flesh!

I also wondered how did your boat do in rough water? one of the reasons i chose the FM is the way it goes through the water--it slices through it rather than goes over the water...i want to cruise in it all summer - so i wanted a boat that could handle rough water...seems the FM is just right for that. big aft deck and small cozy accomodations. love the f'ward berths. And i can swim right off the fantail!

the nice thing about steel is that its weight can be used to advantage-i.e. the boat's weight will keep it "stiff" in a seaway-less roll and pitching..where as wood boats can be "tender" So im curious to see if you felt the motion on your tug as much as other wood boats you've built or been on?

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:02 pm
by aero_dan
So Doug, have you gotten any farther on your tug, or are you like me and keep finding other stuff that needs fixin? I too am wanting to build a steel tug (Goliath), but have to finish my PowerYak first. Almost there...

back after 2 years!!

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 7:56 pm
by electric tug
Wow- its been a long time...I had to leave my build behind due to issues with where it was being built. that was back about 2 years ago. I sold off my frames, and the other things like the engine and props. It was a sad day when I had to give 'er up.

But there is a line in the movie "Shawshank Redemption" when "Red" finds Andy's stash that he left behind for Red to invite him to come to Mexico,inside a small tin box there is a letter.

and in the letter, Andy states regarding "hope" that "nothing good ever dies"...

I truly get what he is saying here,

and another great saying some very wise man once said to me was: " a dream sometimes has to die and be reborn before it can be completed.." dream took hold of me and even through two desolate years where I had no real hope somehow, that dream stayed with me...

I started the FM once again, about two weeks ago, working almost full time on it. I'm presently waiting for a plasma cutter to arrive. But have six frames done within a couple millimeters of tolerance, using old school techniques.
This time im not quitting. Unless someone has the power or authority to stop my build, or there is a disaster, Im not quitting. I believe I could have the hull done by end of oct. 2015. I have all the steel needed on the front lawn.

we'll see...
hope there are other builders doing this boat out there. there just isn't a better design for cruising in that size range. she will cut through the waves with the fine entry, and the steel will make her stiff in a seaway. the flare and the chines will keep her from rolling too much in a beam sea. If all manages to work out- I am building a steel accommodation's barge to be towed and/or pushed to a spot on the Mississaugi Strait off the coast of Manitoulin island by a place known as "lands end"
and stay there for the summer months and perhaps even migrate down to Florida for the winter...time will tell. but im determined to give my best...


Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:16 pm
by aero_dan
Congrats Doug!, I got started on my steel Goliath as you have probably already noticed. Trust me, the plaz is worth it. So are the other tools my wife supports me in buying. I recently got the tubing roller. That is a fun one too. I will have another chance to use it when I flip the hull and start the top-side building. I can tell you from experience the torching thing should be done in the Fall or Winter. I am working on building a small hand planishing tool for curving the hull stiffeners. I will update my blog when I have it. Would love to talk sometime since I am making "your boats middle sister". I have discovered some stuff I am not sharing on the blog for the moment. I would like to talk to you about it some time. Hope your build goes well. Never loose hope, God don't make failures. :lol: Cheers Mate!

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 8:56 pm
by electric tug
Hey Dan, awesome news!

yea...I design boats too! the Irony, Funny enough, is going with someone else's stock plans...
after trying to design my own tug for years and failing.

Boats are trade offs, i.e. nothing is perfect(sadly) so there is one thing I had to compromise on and that was the flared sides.

Tugboats generally don't have flare to the topsides because they need to ride flush while towing on the hip. (I worked on tugboats for a while here on the GL's) I so badly wanted the plumb sides but there is no way to make a decent and developable hull using slab sides and a good hull form, so I went with the FM. anyway, blah blah.

I love the goliath design. I ALMOST went with that. what stopped me was the crew limit of 500 lbs(?) or somewhere thereabouts. Im a big guy so... that was about two people. But she looks beautiful, nice lines, even nicer to me than the Titan. I think she will be really agile too! Can't go wrong with that choice as far as my opinion goes.

I'll give you a shout soon, but I can't say exactly when, I'm soooo busy with the build and travel, summer stuff...its nuts actually.
would love to hear of your investigative findings...

btw I haven't read of your new build yet, is it on this site? Ill follow it. expect to see some footage of my build in the near future...
talk to you soon Amigo!


Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Tue Jun 23, 2015 9:01 pm
by aero_dan
Gayle got me set up on the "Builder's Blog" site at Cheers Mate!

more on Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 10:15 pm
by electric tug
Hey Dan- any suggestions for marking the centerline notch cut for the keel?
also, did you(or do you) plan to notch them out on the loft floor?
I love the way the FM moves through the water...have a good look at that (one and only ) pic- he cuts through the water. you can see the bow wave is quite large meaning the hull is very efficient. On the plans I got, the stern has a raised section at the fantail which houses the rudder. not sure why they did this but on the original built, (I talked to Mr Witt Sr. about this), they plated it aft at the bulwark line. So I have decided to do it to the original, not the plans version. I wondered if you or anyone else knows how to transition that plate into the stern do you think it would be a simple matter to just allow the plate to form to the contour at the stern where it meets the bulwarks? my issues is that to do this would mean a slight camber to the deck at the points touching the after most section of the stern and bulwark plating. its hard to put into words, but basically it would camber slightly at the deck where the bulwark meets the stern plate. It seems it wasn't that hard to do since that's what the prototype of the original FM had. so it cant be all that hard to figure out. but the plate on the deck is curved in two directions. this is overcome by plating in small sections. you don't have these issues thankfully in the Goliath.
btw do you have an engine picked out? I believe I'll go with a hydraulic drive. not much more expensive than the standard gearbox, and the prop calc tells me , that if using a Char lynn 33.9 hp hydraulic motor running at max rpms of 740, that it would turn a 22" dia x 18" pitch fan!

pretty decent power and bollard pull to be sure. great for my accommodation's barge tow. I am hoping to tow at about 4.5 to 5 knots. the downside is having to find a decent industrial 40 hp Kubota or something similar to run the hydraulic pump. I have a chance at a Volvo 65 hp by a guy going out of business here, and the GL's are very good places to find deals. he wants 1500.00 for that engine. but its too big to do the hydraulic drive, so my other option would be to use the standard 2:1 reduction it comes with and add a gear reducer. bringing it to 4:1. but this gets tricky, and its not cheap. the gear reducer is about 1000.00 US. but the big issue is the motor has to raised to accommodate the second gear reducer, bringing the weight up and raising the stability slightly.
alas its all about decisions...sigh...cant wait to be sitting on deck on a hot summer night listening to the lee shore waves at night, rolling to and fro sleeping in the v-berth, during a storm...
so- where can I find some info on your build? looked everywhere...pls send me some links?? trust me I am as excited as you, to see your build underway.


Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:41 am
by aero_dan
Hey Doug,
First, here is the easy part: ... mment-1709

Second, As you will see in my blog (choke, choke), I found a Bic Whiteout pen to make a good accurate mark. Then, I took my cheap chinese 3-in-1 plaz and blasted along the line. Worked perfectly, and there was just enough room for a loose fit and filler weld to reinforce the joint. Don't forget to leave limber slots along the keel. I left about a 1/8 X 1/4" tall slot for the drainage. There is plenty of contact surface left to weld to. There is nothing like a fresh tip for these cuts. I bought an extra bag of 100 tip-sets so I would not be tempted to "try and make due" on the cuts. In all, I think I used up a half dozen of them in the 9 frames. And I used another half dozen in the stiffener slots. However, at a Quarter-to-50 cents a set, that is the least of my expenses. Also, remember, I was only cutting 3/16" instead of the plan spec of 1/4". Trust me, it makes a bunch of differences. Now past that step, I am so glad I went with the lighter stock. The design is plenty "healthy" in thickness of stock.

As for the fantail issue, I would have to see a pics and a jpeg of the plan, and have you on the horn with me. You are right though, compounds are harder. I would consider multiple slits if I HAD to do the compound thing, or ivest in a HFT English Wheel. Personally, I would find a reason to do it a different way. There is ALWAYS a good excuse for doing it simpler, even if it means a step or settee on the inside or a built-in swim ladder on the outside. Frenched holes, "designer" fluting, and the list goes on. And when you get depressed looking at the fabing, remember, at least you are not trying to cut and weld wood. ;-) Don't get me wrong. I love wood as much as the next tree-hugger. But there are some things one material does better than another... I have had to do a bit of that on the "G".

I still have not set on a ship name yet. I have some ideas, and even have spoken to a friend who is a world -class song writer for some help. But that will come in time. AAAH! There is an idea!... I can call it the "G_string, My Fat Bottomed Girl" WHooo, ... that was one I think I needed to let pass. I am sure my wife would not like it at all. No reflection on her mind you, just brings back Youtube snippets of redneck yacht-club parties, one wants to forget.

Haven't seen any "at-sea" videos or pics yet of these lit'l darlins. All I have found so far are some dock pics and some on trailers. I often wonder if folks think they will melt if you put them in water and turn stuff on... ;-) If you have any visual media to share, by all means...

Now for the last question, powertrain. Like I have been telling others, yes and no. I think I have settled on a plan for the system. It is a bit involved and requires me to design and build the parts, units, and so forth. No, I am not ready to divuldge that yet. I do however, have a backup plan if I am not able to successfully build what I have envisioned. It sounds like you have yours well in hand. I think I would opt for the diesel Volvo, and then go get a one-lunger yanmar diesel. I have one I got new for like $400. It is electric start and very dependable. Weight is not bad either. It is an L70AE. Placarded as 4.4 Kw continous and 5.0 on the short term. It has a throttle, compression relief, tank and is air cooled. I am sure there are similar out there that are water cooled though.

Gotta run, business calls...

Re: Building a Steel, Fred Murphy!

Posted: Sat Jun 27, 2015 3:11 am
by JaTro
Greetings from across the pond. You all are doing nice work.
Looking at it I wonder if Fred Murphy hull will handle steam boiler and engine?
Displacement per Glen-L site is above 8300 pounds, what is the thickness of sheeting?
What will be weight of empty hull?
Many thanks for your replies in advance.