The I60 Keel: good news
Rightly or wrongly, of all the components on the I60, the part that's
given me the most worry has been the keel. I haven't done any metal
work since shop class in junior high, and have had visions of the keel
turning into some sort of stainless steel, silicone bronze nightmare
costing more than my whole budget for the build. But I've just spent
the day pricing things like 1/4" steel plate and galvanizing services,
or the spot price for lead and overall I am very encouraged. While it
is not cheap, the keel will not be a deal breaker. Some facts and
I can by 4'x8' sheets of 1/4" plate steel for $250 a piece. Based on
the drawings I have, I think it will take about 2-3 sheets. Perhaps the
box girder needs to be a heavier gauge, but the cost is more or less
proportionate to the thickness.
I can get hot dip galvanizing for about $.25/pound, or about $250 to
galvanize all the keel components.
The spot price for lead is about $.45/pound, or about $1500 if the wing
(possibly a lead-filled steel fabrication) turns out to be all of the
originally sited 3,000 lbs. Salvaged lead can sometimes be much cheaper.
Best guess at this point is that the fabrication costs will be tallied
in hundreds, not thousands of dollars. It even seems like it might be
possible to have the pieces cut and then do the welding myself, or with
the help of a friend who does this sort of work on the commercial fleet
out this way.
9,5000 lbs capacity winches seem to cost between $500 and $1,500. The
winch man says that the $500 unit is exactly the unit I need; built to
military specs. designed to live on the bumper of a truck running over
salty Winter roads, and will run even when completely submerged.
All in all, the keel is looking quite "doalbe", and that in turn makes
the boat seem more doable as well!