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Old Sep 04, 2011, 01:45 PM
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Bitchin' great job with the build!
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Old Sep 04, 2011, 10:25 PM
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More detail work on W.T. Preston

Today put primer coat on lifeboat, and built lifeboat cradles. Also built a gizmo that locks the spud in the UP position. It sits at the base of the aft spud. I'm still contemplating ripping out the angle iron work that sits on top the crane turntable. I used plastic, but will do the rebuild in wood for rigidity.

I also have been getting ideas for the steam engine build on the SteamBoat forum. I never thought of building an oscillating engine, but that would be a much simpler thing to make. (See the steamboat forum, Oscillating Steam Engine) I could make my build life a lot easier by going electric, not making the spuds operable and forgetting the 386 little 00-90 hex nuts on the paddlewheel, but then what would I have to ponder while trying to get to sleep at nights.
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Last edited by hookpilot; Feb 24, 2012 at 09:03 PM.
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 01:29 AM
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Thanks Capt CB

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Bitchin' great job with the build!
The build is great fun. There's a new challenge every day.

Mike
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 02:16 AM
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Hopefully the spuds don't swell much in the water and get stuck in their wells.

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Old Sep 05, 2011, 10:34 AM
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Hook, fascinating build.
I have always had a question though, on the face of it a paddle wheel (stern wheel in this case) is more vulnerable to damage than a prop (though easier to repair via surface access), why would you have a stern wheel snag boat, which by definition is going to be someplace with a lot of debris which could disable the wheel?
Foo
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 10:48 AM
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Hopefully the spuds don't swell much in the water and get stuck in their wells.

Didn't think of that! I'll use 2-part penetrating epoxy to seal the spud too. That would be bad. I'd have to drill it out.

Mike
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 11:33 AM
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by fooman2008 View Post
Hook, fascinating build.
I have always had a question though, on the face of it a paddle wheel (stern wheel in this case) is more vulnerable to damage than a prop (though easier to repair via surface access), why would you have a stern wheel snag boat, which by definition is going to be someplace with a lot of debris which could disable the wheel?
Foo
A propeller was probably rejected because of the added draft needed to run it compared to a paddlewheel. Also when you demand high thrust from a propeller operating close to the bottom, suction effect creates problems. Preston was routinely grounded on gravel and sand bars, hard on props. Another great advantage of paddlewheels comes from their efficiency turning either direction. There is great mechanical coupling between the paddle blades and water which translates to good low rpm bollard pull. Snagboats had equal power running either ahead or astern. Not so with propellers, at least from that era. I suppose they chose a sternwheeler over a side wheeler because of clearance concerns. Preston spent most of her life on swift flowing narrow rivers in Western Washington. When she was working, the paddlewheel was stopped and the boat was anchored to the river bottom via those spuds. Sidewheelers probably didn't have the power or bollard pull a sternwheeler could generate. There is one recorded speed record for a sternwheeler coming down river on the Columbia cranking along at 50mph! Of course that was boat speed plus current speed. But the steamer had to make the run up river against that kind of current before turning around to make the speed run down.

A sternwheelers' paddlewheel was protected by the hull in front of it while underway; a propeller wasn't by virtue of the hull shape allowing good water flow to the prop. Preston chugged along at 16 rpm at cruising speed (8 Kts) A sternwheel has easy access to all parts of the paddlewheel as you noted. Dinging a prop could easily result in stuffing box damage, and sinking. Plus you had to haul the boat out to fix it. Not so with a paddlewheel. Just send a carpenter team to replace broken spokes and blades. Nowadays our rivers in Washington no longer support heavy commerce so the need to keep them open no longer exists. This ended the golden years of the snagboats.
Mike in Edmonds
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Last edited by hookpilot; Sep 05, 2011 at 12:08 PM. Reason: add new data
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 04:53 PM
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Mike I think I read once that at about that time outfitting a sternwheeler was a lot more inexpensive than a prop driven boat of that era, is that right?
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 08:15 PM
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Thanks Mike I appreciate the response. I can remember the gangs of 'carpenter' attacking the wheel in "Blood Alley" with John Wayne, after they hit a semi-submerged piling. (kind of fascinating thing was to watch them use a red hot iron to 'drill' holes in the paddle planks)
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 10:48 PM
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Mike I think I read once that at about that time outfitting a sternwheeler was a lot more inexpensive than a prop driven boat of that era, is that right?
Rmay: I would guess that building a snagboat on an existing barge hull was pretty cheap. Also these guys were masters of cannibalization. Preston has parts from the Swinomish, and Skagit snagboats. In fact they pretty much lifted the working gear off Swinomish and plopped it down on a wood barge and called it the W.T. Preston. Preston's wood hull was later swapped out for a steel barge. When you look at the construction of the Preston you see that they did a lot of shopping at the local plumbing and hardware store. All the railing is off-the-shelf galvanized pipe and fittings. Doors and windows are pretty much what you'd find in your house, nothing watertight here. Superstructure construction is ordinary house frame and post. There are precisely two brass portholes on the entire boat. The rest are wood frame like you'd find in your house. They put their limited dollars into the engines. Gillette and Eaton built them and they are works of art. The steam donkey engine and boom turntable gear were scrounged from the logging industry. The boiler is right out of a steam locomotive. I think they considered the snagboat as a work platform for the donkey. The boat part was just a way of getting to work. Preston was a real handful in wind since she had no keel. 3 feet of freeboard presented the Captain with severe sea state restrictions. Sea State 3 and you'd better find a safe harbor. They only ventured out on Puget Sound during transits between rivers or returning to home base at the Chittenden Locks in Seattle. Also keep in mind this was a boat operated by the US Army, not the Navy or Coast Guard. Maybe this is why I'm attracted to the Preston. I retired from the Army after flying Chinooks for 28 years. The two vessels are similar in many ways.

Cheers, Mike
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Last edited by hookpilot; Jun 11, 2013 at 11:04 PM.
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 11:09 PM
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Snagboat Progress Today

Well, I tore out the plastic 'L' angle I tried on the boom turntable today. Last night while trying to get to sleep I came up with the idea of making 'L' angle out of wood. It worked. My little precision table saw made short work of turning a yard of fir quarter-round into great looking angle iron. A few hours later I had all the pieces cut and glued in place. A few of the pieces went together at complex angles and required several attempts to get it right. A minor frustration. I also sanded the lifeboat primer coat and gave it another shot of gray primer. After getting the turntable right, I was able to attach the boom. It is going to look great when finished. I'm in the process of sourcing a 12VDC 10 rpm gearmotor for the turntable. Finding one that has a small diameter is the challenge. If anybody runs across such an animal, (1/2" in dia or less) shoot me a note here.

This build day is done.

Mike in Edmonds
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Old Sep 05, 2011, 11:49 PM
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Mike, so what you are saying is that Preston was not designed to float and chinooks are not designed to fly, and both are/were operated by the Army? LOL
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Old Sep 06, 2011, 12:11 AM
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Quote:
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Mike, so what you are saying is that Preston was not designed to float and chinooks are not designed to fly, and both are/were operated by the Army? LOL
Foo
Foo: You got it. A Chinook beats the air into submission, the paddlewheeled Preston beats the water into submission too. they are both slow. They both go "CHUG" and bend in the middle.
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Old Sep 06, 2011, 12:15 AM
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The W.T. Preston Photoshopped

Got to thinking, hey, I can make the Preston appear on a river churning away. I took one of my photos taken up in Anacortes of the W. T. Preston on display and photoshopped out the foreground, bushes, signs and buildings and placed it on a river scene, added a little white water and smoke and voila - Preston rides again! I even put myself aboard for this trip...

This picture is a blend of three separate photos taken years apart. I took the Preston Photo a year ago in Anacortes. The river is the Tennesse River also taken many years ago, a river the W.T. Preston never ran, and finally the photo of me was taken 13,780 feet up on Hawaii's Mauna Kea as I stood on the rampart of the Keck Astronomical Observatory. I cut myself out of that photo and added it to the deck of Preston. I was able to match sun angles and perspectives so all three images look like they were taken at the same time and at the same location.

Mike In Edmonds
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Last edited by hookpilot; Sep 07, 2011 at 12:53 PM. Reason: Update info
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