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Ply bulkhead

  • Paul Hayes
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25 Feb 2024 19:18 #1 by Paul Hayes
Replied by Paul Hayes on topic Ply bulkhead
I agree in every respect with Balliol.

In my humble opinion, however I'm in and out of different barges about as much as a cookie in a clock.

Bulkheads proper are built into the structure of such a relatively short vessel e.g.:

"Watertight Crash Bulkhead" - Aft of the bow.
"Engine Space Bulkheads" - fire and watertight.

Pretty much anything else will be a room divider and not designed to add structural strength.

In some boats these are constructed using little more than double sided panel bord fixed just about adequately enough to stop them walking around with vibration. Just about strong enough to hang a radiator 😳.

Just some thoughts.

Paul Hayes.
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  • Peter May
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20 Feb 2024 11:17 #2 by Peter May
Replied by Peter May on topic Ply bulkhead
Thank you Balliol.
Really helpful your input. I was concerned about the lack of flexibility if I fix direct to the steel structure of the boat. I wondered if hardish rubber bushing in the ply fixing holes would help? (There would only be about 20 bushes required so not a big job).
Thanks again 

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  • Colin Stone
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19 Feb 2024 17:44 #3 by Colin Stone
Replied by Colin Stone on topic Ply bulkhead
I basically followed the practice of the Dutch shipyard. The steel frames in KEI have furring strips attached to them. After spray foaming and trimming back, pine plank floors were laid and a 9mm ply lining was attached to the furring strips.  Bulkhead studwork, cut from my Victorian house roof purlins, was then attached to floor and furring strips, through the lining as appropriate.
Nearly 20 years later, nothing has shifted.

Colin Stone
It's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride.
Barge Register KEI
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  • Tam Murrell
  • www.foodieafloat.com
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19 Feb 2024 17:08 #4 by Tam Murrell
Replied by Tam Murrell on topic Ply bulkhead
I'd agree with Balliol. If your advisor says the vessel must have internal bukheads for strength that is a different matter, but anything constructed purely as a room divider won't serve that purpose, and it's not really relevant to fix it to the hull frames.
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  • Balliol Fowden
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19 Feb 2024 16:34 #5 by Balliol Fowden
Replied by Balliol Fowden on topic Ply bulkhead
I am afraid that I have a differing opinion to some. 

Firstly, let me state that I do not keep up to date on RCD requirements since I am semi-retired, and I have always avoided the over-bureaucratic RCD wherever possible so I am not totally up to date. You should be able to rely on your certifier for informed advice, but I do wonder here. Certainly in many GRP yachts etc. the bulkheads are designed to be part of the overall structure, but not so in a steel barge of the type that I envisage you have.

I suspect (without detailed plans and scantlings) that the steelwork structure of your 42' Branson design is more than adequate for CE requirements, whether you fit any dividing bulkheads or not. I suspect it could be completely open plan and still be amply strong enough! I think you need to refer to your designer on this!

If you secure what must be regarded as relatively flimsy timber bulkheads to a normally hefty welded steel barge structure then one has to question whether they will actually add any realistic additional strength. In all likelihood they will add nothing significant, particularly relative to the likely spans you will be thinking of in a relatively small 42' barge style vessel. If the bulkheads are secured to the structure then they might want to flex and move with the structure. There is a potential case for saying that if you secure the bulkheads too securely to the hull and cabin then you risk any natural flexibility in the hull structure being transmitted directly to internal structures, e.g. Corian worktops, door frames etc. 

Obviously the internal dividing bulkheads need to be well secured, but there is in my opinion a distinct case for saying that they are better secured to the linings. That will allow a small degree of flexibility to reduce the degree that hull flexing (say in cross-winding as you enter a lock) will be transmitted to your furniture.

Balliol.

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  • Peter May
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19 Feb 2024 15:20 #6 by Peter May
Replied by Peter May on topic Ply bulkhead
Cheers Chris.
That’s a great help. I’m a diy builder, retired 10 years ago and enjoying building my Branson 40’ Luxemotor. It’s been a massive learning curve for me! I’ve fixed the floor to the steel frame of the boat and was going to fix bulkheads for toilet/shower room and front cabin to the floor but the cert guy that’s keeping an eye on me tells me I need to fix to steel structure and as I’ve foamed and painted it’ll be a lot of extra work so just wanted to check what other people do.

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  • Chris Hanley
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17 Feb 2024 18:26 #7 by Chris Hanley
Replied by Chris Hanley on topic Ply bulkhead
You do not say if these are structural bulkheads or room dividers, but the short answer is yes. 
Even if just internal walls, they will need to be fixed securely and the best way of doing that is to pick up on the frames of the barge. Weld tags to the frames on 24" centres and then use tek screws to secure timber studding. Your plywood can then be screwed to the timber frame and the two-foot centres will provide the most efficient cutting of the plywood.    
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  • Peter May
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16 Feb 2024 10:45 #8 by Peter May
Ply bulkhead was created by Peter May
Can anyone tell me it i need to fix my ply bulkheads to the steel structure of my boat. I’m building to Cat C.
Cheers 

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