Builds A Steam Boat

Homemade steamboat's

Homemade steamboat's only deck is catwalk with helpful handrail above. 'Windows' except front are steel.

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Our boy, Mr. H. H. Wist, Washington, D. C, made it. Here is a very interesting and informative article on how he built his own steam boat. The article is taken from Popular Mechanics Magazine about the year 1958. Sure looks good to me. -Elmer.

Like many another man, Hezzy West wanted a boat. But with him, as time passed, the 'want' grew to be an acute ache. Worse, Hezzy wanted a particular kind of craft a steamboat.

Such a boat, he knew, was expensive. The few hundred dollars he had saved would hardly make the down payment on the kind of a boat he wanted. Therefore he decided to build the boat himself. A welder and machinist by trade, Hezzy had worked for years with steam engines and boats in the vicinity of his home, a suburb of Washington, D. C. He felt that he could build a satisfactory steamboat.

'I simply thought how I wanted her to look,' he says, 'then I laid the keel for a 30-footer, and I built her right up from there.'

Not only did Hezzy build the steel hull, square cabin, smoke funnel and bilge pump; he also built the two steam engines. The larger of these a two-cylinder affair which develops 32 hp, propels the boat. The smaller one drives the generator which supplies electricity.

The only part of the North wind, as he calls his boat, that he did not build is the boiler. 'There are two kinds of boilers,' he explains, 'the fire-tube in which fire goes through the tubes rather than around them, and the water-tube in which water goes through the tubes.'

Of the North wind's boiler, Hezzy says: 'It's a vertical, fire-tube type. It holds about 125 gallons of water which is much more than a water-tube boiler of the same size would contain. That gives me far more even power than I would have with a water-tube boiler of an equivalent size.'

For fuel, the North wind uses coal. 'I can run her all summer,' Hezzy says, 'on half a ton of coal which costs me $11.'

With a 24-26 propeller, Hezzy is able to get 15 knots from the boat after he has built up steam, a process which takes about half an hour. The boat draws three feet four inches of water and has a nine-foot beam.

Although the North wind is made of one-eighth inch steel plate, Hezzy says she is lighter than a wooden boat the same size and the upkeep is 'next to nothing'

'I wouldn't be afraid to take her across the Atlantic,' he says.

What did she cost?

'Aside from my labor, she cost me just $350 for materials.'

And what is she worth?

'Not long ago,' Hezzy says, 'I sold another boat not as good for $4100, but she's not for sale not even for a cool five grand!'