Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

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thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:42 pm

I saw somebody sat on a narrowboat recently with a little woodburning stove, a brew and a book - it was pouring with rain and looked so cosy :D PURELY out of interest I had a look online at some prices - whooaa HOW MUCH!!!! how come they are so expensive to buy? is it really that difficult to make a narrowboat?

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby dom » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:04 pm

Nah ! Dead easy.
Think I've got a WIP somewhere ;D ;D

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby jfc » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:37 pm

You can pick up the empty shell fairly cheap and do it up your self . Have a look on boats and outboards http://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/php/welcome.php3
Keep an eye on the projects as they come up now and then . The main problem you will have with a project narrow boat is paying for it while your not using it . Moorings are charged by the foot .
Why not go for a smaller cruiser that is easy to lift out if you need to and alot quicker to make cosy by just turning the cooker on :D

Image

thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:23 pm

Nah ! Dead easy.
Think I've got a WIP somewhere ;D ;D


Lets see then ;D ;D ;D

thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:25 pm

You can pick up the empty shell fairly cheap and do it up your self .


How cheap is cheap? 10k, 30k? ??? ;D

ps what does this mean? "Age: 10 days old " ??? ??? ???

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby jfc » Sun Dec 16, 2007 10:34 pm

Thats how long the add has been on the site i assume ???

mel
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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby mel » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:19 pm

i seem to recognise that vessel ::)

thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:10 am

http://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/php/welcome.php3

Why not go for a smaller cruiser that is easy to lift out if you need to and alot quicker to make cosy by just turning the cooker on :D

Image


Is this your boat then JFC ?

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby jfc » Tue Dec 18, 2007 8:08 am

Yup thats my baby :D She didnt look like that when i bought her but nothing a bit of elbow grease couldnt sort out .
Mel has been aboard and can say how warm it was once the heating was on ( if he can remember ;D )

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby scrit » Tue Dec 18, 2007 12:31 pm

To the OP (thallow)

A long time ago I looked at buying a steel narrowboat, but just like you the price put me off. The difficult bits to build seem to be the prow

Image

Image

and the stern

Image

but especially the prow because both parts are normally formed by rolling then holding to a jig and welding. It's just that the prows curve in two planes as can be seen in the photo above (from S&S Narrowboats). Large jigs aren't cheap or easy and I ended up coming to the conclusion that these two elements were best bought-in.

The prow normally contains a stainless steel water tank complete with filter vent whilst the stern has to incorporate a weed hatch, stern tube (for the propellor shaft), engine mountings, rudder tube and fuel tank. Getting the length of "swim" right is apparently critical to how the boat handles (the swim is the tapered section of hull beneath the waterline inside which the engine and gearbox sit).

The main part of the hull didn't seem that difficult as it's mainly seam (oxy?) welding sheet steel (learned to oxy weld years ago, although I'm not that practised). The cheapest boats are supposed to be 6mm bottom with 5mm sides and 4mm tops whilst the heaviest are something like 10/12mm bottom, 8/10mm sides and 6mm top.

A lot of boat builders are happy to sell you a boat in almost any state of completion, from components to bare shell, to sealed/framed shell through to the completed boats, although I've not seen anything less than

thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Wed Dec 19, 2007 5:47 pm


The cheapest boats are supposed to be 6mm bottom with 5mm sides and 4mm tops whilst the heaviest are something like 10/12mm bottom, 8/10mm sides and 6mm top.



6mm!!!Image

Wow that is thin!!!!
Thanx for taking the time to post Scrit, very interesting, maybe it is an idea that I will leave very much on the back burner for now! ;D

Ps what about wooden hulls? or is that just too much trouble?

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby jfc » Sun Dec 30, 2007 6:56 pm

Depends on how much time you want to spend on keeping it up to scratch . Wooden boats take a lot of looking after but they are worth it IMHO . I think most people that own wooden boats would say that the boat is the only hobby they have time for .
Anyhow i spotted this today http://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/view/F167995
Bargin as these go for around 6k . I think its a Birchwood 22. The bonus on these is the beam (width) which gives you a nicer layout inside . My friend had one for years and it was great for his wife and two kids . Dave also has one so if your interested he will probably have more details about them .

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby blacksheep » Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:31 pm

I too have looked at buying a narrowboat but never had the funds to proceed.

You can get a brand new steel hull fitted with engine, water tank, and basic electrics for around

thallow

Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby thallow » Sun Apr 13, 2008 4:56 pm

[quote="blacksheep"]

That seems an awful lot of money for a bit of carpentry and some plumbing.

A good friend of mine is nearing completion of just such a fit-out project. If he gets the price he wants for the finished boat he will have made over

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby jfc » Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:00 pm

Regs do apply on most waterways in the form of a safety cert . Renewed by a test every four years . I think mine is due next year :-/

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby richards » Wed Dec 17, 2008 12:57 pm

The honest answer is, yes it is difficult to fit out a narrowboat, however it is no beyond the skills of most competent woodworkers, however there are several things you should bear in mind, in no particular order.

1. There is a world of difference between fitting a boat out for your own pleasure / use and bringing to the open market a desirable and sale able product, I'm not saying it can't be done just that there is some very stiff competition out there, the market is quiet and buyers are choosy, you need to be not just a good fitter but an excellent designer too. Look here for ideas of what the true competition has going for it www.aqualinemarine.co.uk and www.metrofloat.co.uk .

2 There are some regulations with which you will have to comply, principally this is The Recreational Craft Directive. In essence any boat built and placed on the European open market since October 1998 has to comply with this legislation and be CE marked. The regulations are complex but basically require you to identify which standards you have applied in the construction of the vessel eg ISO, BS etc, among other things you need also to produce an owners manual, a declaration of conformity and keep a technical file for ten years post completion. If the boat is to be sold there is no escaping the above it is the law.

3 There is an exception to the above and that is for people who genuinely fit out / build a boat for there own use and intend to keep it for five years or more. Sound good but if your circumstances change and you need to sell the boat you will need the paperwork.

4. I'm not saying that narrowboats have not been bought and sold since 1998 without the above documentation being in place, they have but it's not legal. I suppose it all boils down to how well you want to sleep at night (presuming you have a conscience). There have been numerous successful prosecutions for non compliance brought by the Trading Standards Department.

5. If you really want to fit out your own narrowboat, go for it, many people have, some just for fun and some for profit, most have enjoyed the experience though not all have made as much money as they thought they would, bear in mind that there is considered to be about a thousand man hours in the fit out of a decent boat. How many hours a week can you spare? Also do yourself a favour and factor in the cost of employing a marine surveyor to help you produce your Manual / Declaration and ensure you comply with all current legislation as the Declaration of Conformity is exactly what it says, it's you declaration that everything that has been done to the boat conforms, ie. it's your neck on the line if it doesn't especially if someone gets hurt!

6. As with most things at the present time the economy is not doing my industry any favours, there are currently thousands of boats for sale both new and second hand, there are still buyers in the market, but many many fewer than twelve months ago, prices are under pressure as sellers compete with each other to attract the buyers that are left and good presentation, desirable specification and an attractive price point are vital but even with all these a sale is not guaranteed.

7. So if your keen go for it but have your eyes open and do your research, look at whats selling and whats not, decide if the boat is for your pleasure, in which case design it to please your self or if you are building to sell find out what people are looking for and do that, stay detached from what you like and concentrate on providing what the buyers want not what you like. to see a good cross section of pre owned boats for sale you can look here www.theusedboat.co.uk

I've been looking at this site for a while now but this is the first topic I've felt qualified to comment upon, I've probably rambled a bit but if anyones interested and wants any further advice or information, let me know. I'm sorry I don't call in everyday but I will respond as soon as I can.

Merry Christmas

Richard

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Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby modernist » Wed Dec 17, 2008 3:20 pm

richards wrote:I've been looking at this site for a while now but this is the first topic I've felt qualified to comment upon, I've probably rambled a bit but if anyones interested and wants any further advice or information, let me know. I'm sorry I don't call in everyday but I will respond as soon as I can.

Merry Christmas

Richard


I admire your restraint at watching the rest of us since Oct 2007 without comment. I don't think "qualification" is essential to participate ;D ;D

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Visit my blog at http://modernistmullings.blogspot.co.uk

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Re: Anybody Know anything about building narrowboats?

Postby teresap989 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 7:40 am

jfc wrote:You can pick up the empty shell fairly cheap and do it up your self . Have a look on boats and outboards http://www.boatsandoutboards.co.uk/php/welcome.php3
Keep an eye on the projects as they come up now and then . The main problem you will have with a project narrow boat is paying for it while your not using it . Moorings are charged by the foot .
Why not go for a smaller cruiser that is easy to lift out if you need to and alot quicker to make cosy by just turning the cooker on :D

Image

Thanks you for the post.
Hi guys, Im a newbie. Nice to join this forum.


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