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I needed a storage building so I could get my Cobra Terminator inside to rework the hull

Although not actually part of my boat project, this Boathouse definitely contributed toward my overall goal. It took me a year, but was well worth the effort.
Now that this boathouse is complete, I'm focusing my efforts on converting my boat to turbine power.

I'm able to 'shoehorn' a 26' wide by 44' long by 16' high pole building into the back corner on my property. I designed the building with high ceilings so I can install a 14 foot roll-up door to get my boat inside plus my RV alongside. I'll use the additional storage space to setup my pallet racks down the length of one wall.

I find the building permit application process very frustrating. Each time I talk to the 'officials' at the local Building Department I get a different story- they act like they've never done this before. The building Inspector tells me I don't need 'engineering' for a pole building. I turn in my application and they ask "Where's the engineering"?

I found out later the local building code changed well over a year before (now requires engineering for all pole buildings). Not a good sign. I learned very early in my Aviation Maintenance career, the sign of a true professional is one who does not attempt to memorize the regulations or procedures, but knows where to look up the answer. Then, when the procedure gets updated or is changed, the old 'memorized' steps are not followed (in error).

Gaining access from the street

To gain access to that back corner, I first constructed a 'drive through' gate supported by two brick columns. I dug down over five feet, then pounded in a four inch steel pipe (as far as I could), then poured a solid concrete footing around it. I laid bricks around the steel pipe, filled the center with concrete, cut off the top of the pipe, and topped it off with a precast concrete cap. Integrated, heavy steel hinges provide support for the gates. I welded some scrap 2" galvanized pipe to form the gate frames, then attached cedar boards to the front to match the rest of the fence. A removable center post provides support and a method for locking the gates while in the closed position. An adjustable handle supports and locks each gate while open (prevents the wind from swinging them around while I'm trying to drive through).

For the 'driving surface' I used a product called turfstone which installs a lot like pavers. Turfstone bricks sit on a layer of compacted, crushed rock (covered with a layer of sand, then grass grows up through the bricks) leaving a solid surface to drive on that blends with the existing lawn. This now allows access to the back corner of my lot where I'm putting up a boat storage building. The seven inches of crushed rock is rated to handle a load of over 125 psi so I can park my diesel pusher RV in the back also. The final 'test' came when a concrete truck (loaded with 8 yards of concrete) backed in. My work passed with 'flying colors' as there are no settled bricks and no cracks at all.

I feel I met my goal of retaining the original look of my lawn as I did not want more concrete across the front yard. By the way, every one of those 'sod plugs' was cut and planted by hand (with a homemade plug cutter). I'm building this entire turbine powered boat project (start to finish) the same way- with determination and my bare hands. I certainly can't work at the same pace I did when I was younger, but I still make steady progress. It's definitely not a "gimme from Daddy". Nor did I just "write a check". Nobody can say I don't work hard toward my goals.

We have T-58 & Rolls Royce Gnome gas turbines available to power your project.
We also have starters, manuals, instruments, and gearboxes for T-58 and Gnome gas turbine engines.


Breaking ground for my Boat House

Here's what it looked like when I started. I spliced three photos together in Photoshop to show the 'panoramic view' across the back corner of my lot.

The kids outgrew the 'tree fort' we had in the apple tree (so I removed it and the double stainless steel slide). The transparent apple harvests had dwindled in recent years (and the trunk was full of rot) so it was a good time to remove it. I'll likely plant a semi-dwarf 'Swedish Apple' to replace it after all the construction is done.

I gave the apple wood to a local guy who uses it to smoke his own meats and the stainless slide went to another family where it will provide years of joy for their kids (just like it did for my kids). I removed a few trees to clear the area and surprisingly, the 6" diameter prune tree stump gave me more trouble than the 36" diameter apple tree- figure that.

I built a raised garden area out of railroad ties for my lovely wife and relocated her plants from the old garden area.

My neighbor brought his 'digger' over and cleared my building site. Now I can lay out the perimeter, locate the posts and dig some holes.

My plans came back from the designer requiring 10" holes dug 4 feet deep (for the 6 by 6 posts). So I bought a two-man gas auger and ordered 20 foot pressure-treated 6 by 6 posts. Then, when my plans got 'blessed' by the Engineer, suddenly they are redrawn requiring 30" holes dug 5 feet deep. No 'heads up' we modified the holes, no 'oh by the way' we changed the plans. Suddenly my gas auger is too small, and my posts too short. Doesn't anybody communicate?

The folks over at NC Machinery were very helpful. They set me up with a 'Monster Auger' and I was able to get all my holes bored in just a couple hours. The dirt from the sixteen holes raised the work area about five inches, so I'll need to level it all out again after the posts are set and holes filled.

The building inspector signed off my setbacks, erosion barrier, post holes, and gave me the 'all clear' so I can continue on. He was much more cooperative (and knowledgeable) than the other Building Inspector I worked with previously.


Setting up the foundation for my Pole Building Boat House

A "Pole Building" uses a method of construction where the weight of the building is supported by the posts, not by a foundation (as in a conventional 'stud framed' construction). The Pole Building or Pole Barn method of construction is popular for agricultural buildings and usually includes a sheet metal exterior.

These 22 foot 6 by 6 posts only weigh a couple hundred pounds each, but are very awkward to handle. I put my electric hoist atop two sections of scaffolding (mounted on my utility trailer) and with the help of my Son, was able to maneuver each post into place.

My building has two ten foot bays and two twelve foot bays, plus I added two posts ("A" and "B" in the photo on the left) to support the end of two overhead steel I-beams. On each of the steel I-beams I'll hang a 1-ton overhead hoist (on a trolley) that will allow me to lift my hull for rework, pull my motor, or complete my other lifting needs.

Here's the I-beams I'll use for my overhead hoists. They came from the demolition of a local mall (currently undergoing a remodel) and were used to support the roof over an ice rink. I 'cleaned up' the lower flange with my grinder and got my hoist trolley adjusted to fit, so they'll work just fine. I'll fabricate brackets so the ends will bolt to the tops of my 6 by 6 support posts.

I located the bottom of the 16 post holes with my laser level (and a long stick) then poured redi-mix concrete 'pads' for my posts to set on.

With all the posts set in place, I used my laser level to ensure they are vertical. My laser shines a line about ten feet long (along the edge of the post) and I'm able to get it exactly plumb; pretty slick! Way more accurate than a bubble level.

I double checked all my measurements, and added braces to hold the posts in place. The inspector 'eyeballed' the posts for proper clearance (sitting in the empty holes), and gave me a 'thumbs up'. Now on to the next step.

I got the concrete truck to bring a couple loads by and fill in the post holes. Loaded with 8 yards of concrete, it was a good 'load test' for my 'turfstone' driveway (at the top of this page). Passing with 'flying colors' there are no settled bricks and no cracks! What a relief.

Now that all the post holes are filled I can get prepared for pouring the concrete slab.

I'll spread this load of sand as a level base for my slab to rest on and set the posts for my 'walk in' door.

To the 'untrained eye' this may not look like much, but this represents a couple hard days work; leveling, smoothing, and packing with my gas powered "jumping jack" Wacker packer.

Here we've got the vapor barrier all spread out and 'tie bars' installed on the posts and form boards (to tie it all together), just waiting for a pair of concrete trucks to show up in the morning.

After a 'parade' of concrete trucks dumped their loads, my slab is finally in.

These professionals make it look easy.

I used a "5-sack" concrete mix with Fibermesh and added a couple inches (thicker than code) to ensure it will handle all future heavy loads.

The experts put on the finishing touches. The result is a beautiful, polished finish that looks as smooth as an ice rink.

Please take a look at my "items wanted" list.


Now that we're done 'digging in the dirt', it's time to get this Boat House framed up

I salvaged two steel I-beams and a nice pre-hung, steel fire door from the demolition of a local mall. I located a new hydraulic closer and high-security lockset that I'll install after the door gets painted.

With a solid floor in place, my scaffolding easily rolls around so I can work the walls and overhead a section at a time.

In preparation for having the trusses delivered, I mounted 2x6 brackets atop the posts (bolted on with heat-treated 3/4" bolts as required). The trusses will sit on these, lagged to the post and blocked together in pairs (for rigidity). I was able to locate enough 'monster bolts' at Pacific Industrial Supply in Seattle to do the job. If you stop by, make sure you give yourself enough time to explore the entire yard- they've got all kinds of cool 'surplus shipyard stuff' stashed everywhere. Very interesting.

I fabricated brackets on the ends on my steel I-Beams to bolt into the support posts. To transport around to the boathouse, I backed my boat trailer over them and chained them to the underside of the frame. After parking on the boathouse slab, I lowered them onto carts and wheeled into position for the crane to lift atop the posts.

The 'truss guy' set my two steel I-beams and all the trusses in place for me. I lagged them all to the posts, installed the 'eve boards' along the ends of the trusses (to support the edge where the wall meets the roof sheeting) and blocked the tops of the trusses.

Lot's of two by sixes nailed between the posts will support the sheet metal exterior skin. In this front view (on the left) you can see where I framed the top of the doorway to support the rollup door track and springs. I've got 14 feet of clearance through the door and under the I-beams.

I made an extension on the top of my scaffolding to support my 24' Stinson plank. It allows me to reach the top of the trusses and just clears under the steel I-beams (so I can roll it anywhere inside the building). The purlins went up pretty fast as I didn't have to do any fitting; they just overlap (screwed together and screwed into the trusses).

The building has 'stiffened up' and feels a lot more rigid (when I'm climbing around on top) now that it's all framed in and bolted together.


Wrapping up the exterior: with the metal sheeting on it should look more like a Boathouse

I selected 29 gauge Nor-Clad XL metal panels by ASC Building Products to keep the weather out. The lifetime warranty will help keep future maintenance to a minimum. I selected colors to blend with the existing walls and roof of my house.

After trimming the doors and bottom edge, the wall panels went on over a layer of Tyvek Housewrap (to act as a vapor barrier).

The 16 foot sheets weren't too bad, but it was a little 'hairy' getting those 20 foot sheets up into position on the end wall (especially when the wind picked up). I was able to 'walk' one end up the ladder then carry the sheet vertically into position (looking up to keep it balanced). Now all four walls are sheeted and the corners are on.

I got all the hurricane ties installed (to anchor the purlins securely to the trusses) and installed ceiling supports down the centerline (so I can stand and reach to attach the roof sheets). The roof panels also go on over a layer of Tyvek Housewrap. A layer of Radiant Barrier will go across the inside of the ceiling joists to help reduce the heat buildup during the summer months.

The side door looks a lot better with paint and trim. I installed a couple Roof Anchors (attachment loops for my safety harness) so I can walk around without fear of doing a 'belly flop' off the roof.

I made a jig to hold the first couple sheets in position (with a 2 inch overhang) and to ensure the row starts straight. With over 75 screws in each roof panel, it takes time to properly fasten.

I started at the front and worked my way toward the rear. The weatherman has been very cooperative; this Summer and Fall has been unusually dry.

The trusses are 4:12 pitch so there's not much wasted space above the ceiling.

I'm all done with the exterior sheet metal and passed the Building Inspector's final inspection with 'flying colors'.

I'm satisfied with how my steel fire door turned out. I'll install my deadbolt next, then add weather stripping all around before I start heating.

Putting up my 16 foot wide by 14 foot high insulated, overhead door was the last step to make this building 'weather tight'. At least the door is now sitting in place (sealed with weather-strip) so I don't care if it rains, snows, or blows here all winter long. After an unusually dry summer, we can certainly use the rain.

I took advantage of another sun break and cleaned up the back yard. With most of my lumber used up, I stacked the remainder inside and finally got rid of that ugly white tent. It will be nice have a 'usable' backyard again.

I screened some of the dirt that came out of the ditch, leveled the area where the tent was, and replanted grass. The grass should fill in over the next few weeks.


Finishing the interior of my Boathouse

Now that my outside is done, it's on to finish the interior.

I got the overhead door track installed and adjusted (it's nice to be able to open the door when I need to).

Tackling the 'not so exciting' job of framing the interior means fitting lots of 2 by 6's across the ceiling and in the walls.

I setup some temporary lighting, installed my one ton hoists, added long cords, and set the limit switches (to properly halt travel at both ends of the chain). Now both 1-ton hoists are operational.

Finally; all the walls are framed up. Now I can move on to the wiring.

I took a short break to set up a pair of Rolls Royce Gnome turbines for ground running.

I'm glad my building is 'sealed up' now that 'Old Man Winter' is here.

I know I'm making progress, but seems like there are still a thousand things to get done before I can even begin working on my boat. Ugh!

I got some R-19 insulation installed in the side walls. The lower area is left open so I can string wires. All my 'stuff' is on wheels, so I can roll it around to work each area.

A came across a nice Consew 206RB-3 sewing machine. Equipped with a walking foot, it will handle my upholstery tasks with ease. I know I'm a little ahead of myself, but this is one piece of gear no boat shop should be without.

I took another break to attend the Vacuum Infusion Course at the local community college so I could repair the transom on my race boat.

I'm done pulling the interior wires. My building features a 50A welder outlet, two 20A 220v circuits for my large woodworking tools as well as lots of 120v outlets on several separate circuits scattered all around the building.

My new Dayton 60,000 BTU natural gas overhead heater is now hung and properly vented so I'll be able to 'kick the heat up' to fiberglass, or wrench anytime, year-round.

Now that the Electrical Inspector has completed the 'cover inspection', we'll put up the remaining R-19 wall insulation, then the radiant barrier will go up. Then I'll need to hang about 98 sheets of 5/8" wallboard to finish the interior- Ugh! Then mud and paint.

I fabricated a drywall cart with a set of monster casters I had stashed away. With the cart chained onto my flatbed trailer, I had the forklift driver at the 'big box home improvement store' set the entire stack of Gypsum right on my cart. Once I got home, I backed under my overhead hoist and lifted the entire cart. This way I don't have to re-stack drywall several times. Besides, no matter where I put the stack, it would be in the way. This way the entire stack is easily moved just by shoving the cart around.

Boathouse drywall

With the R-19 wall insulation put in the walls, I moved all my junk over to one side so I can sheetrock half the building at a time. I've stapled radiant barrier onto the back of each sheet of drywall, so it goes up pretty slick (and will prevent the interior of the building from roasting when the summer heat bakes the outside of the metal sheets).

My drywall lift helps, but it's still pretty slow going. Lot's of trips up and down the ladder.

Boathouse drywall
Boathouse drywall

I don't know if the second stack will be easier because I'm 'already warmed up', or will be more difficult since I know 'what I'm up against'.

Half the interior is now covered with gypsum wallboard; I just need to add the corner trim.

Boathouse drywall
polebarn sheetrock

A little light tan latex paint makes it look pretty respectable on the one side. I've moved all my junk over into this finished half and have started to work the other side.

My utilities are laid between my buildings; electrical power, cable TV, natural gas, phone, fire alarm, intruder alarm, Internet, and compressed air (from my compressor in the shop). The trench has been back-filled, leveled, and packed down with my gas powered 'jumping jack'. I think I'll lay stepping stones as a walking path between my buildings. I'll do the final leveling and set the stones when the weather clears up again.

Utilities Trench

I scored a 'boat load' of high-output, energy efficient light assemblies from a local 'big box' grocery store undergoing remodel.

After the individual light units are wired in parallel and riveted together into rows, they will be surface mounted across the ceiling. I also had some sheet metal trim fabricated to hide the rough edges and give them a 'built in' look.

Drywall interior

I've been working inside (on days when the weather is nasty) and have put up all the insulation and drywall on the second half.

96 sheets of drywall were put up (two left over). Mudding and sanding is done.

Sheetrock walls
Composite Arneson surface drive adapter

I blew the overhead to R-32 with 54 bags of cellulose insulation.

T58 gas turbine boat testing area
Boathouse walkway

The 'concrete guy' came and put in my rear walkways. He makes the work look easy and did a beautiful job.

I called and got the final electrical inspection done. I had to wait till the walkway was in as the power feeder must be covered with concrete when it's less than 24" from the surface. Now the landscaping is finally all done and my boathouse is ready to work.

Boathouse walkway


My Boathouse is almost done!

Boathouse interior

I've been looking forward to this day for a long time and seeing these finished walls is a big morale booster for me. At this point I'm only a few small steps away from completion then I'll be able to work indoors, anytime, in any weather on the conversion of my turbine powered boat.

It is essential that I have a well lit, energy-efficient building as much of my remaining boat repair work (applying epoxy resin and polyurethane finishes) must be done in a climate controlled area.

Boathouse interior
Utilities hookup

I cleaned up the area I had previously trenched for the utilities hookup. The brown conduit on the far right provides power to my boathouse. After a quick trip to Cascade Stone Supply for some landscaping materials, I was able to get that area looking pretty good.

My pallet rack and work bench are setup so my boathouse is finally getting that 'lived in' look. My Stanley Vidmar cabinets fit nicely along the wall storing my stainless fasteners, boat and aircraft parts with little wasted space. With all five rows of Compact Florescent Lights now installed, they output about 5.3 ga-jillion candlepower and draw less than 14 amps total. Priceless.

Boat House Workshop
Cobra Terminator Cat inside the Boathouse

My 30 foot Cobra Terminator Cat is inside now, safe and sound. I've started to fill the transom in preparation for final finish.

As I make progress I'll add content to the bottom of the Turbine Boat page.

Cobra Terminator Cat inside the Boathouse
Lifting my Kevlar offshore race boat

I setup my straps, rigging, and hoists for a 'lift test' and confirmed that I can indeed lift my hull. As part of my ongoing hull preparations, I'll be completing a couple small composite repairs to the bottom, then giving it a fresh coat of 'Sun Yellow' AwlGrip 2 Polyurethane topcoat.

When I get done this race boat will look like its going 120 mph when it's still sitting in the parking lot!

T58 gas turbine boat testing area

Here's a Virtual Tour of my Boathouse.

The next 'hundred miles'

Now that I'm out of the 'boathouse building business' I can focus full time on my turbine powered boat project. First up are some of the 'not so exciting' tasks such as sanding, filling, and painting. (UGH)

Since I already repaired my transom during the Vacuum Infused Plastics (VIP) Course at Skagit Valley College I'm using epoxy resin mixed with 3M Glass Bubbles to fill, then board sand, apply primer, then shoot a topcoat of polyurethane. I've got all the deck hardware removed, so I'll also apply a new topcoat finish on the remainder of my hull. Then, with fresh paint and all new stainless steel deck fittings I'll have (essentially) a brand new hull to start my turbine conversion with. Then I'll install my Arneson ASD8 surface drive on the transom and work my way forward to locate the mounting position of my T58-GE-8F turbine. I'll infuse some "T" shaped Carbon Fiber composite brackets in place on the side of the hull and stringers to support the lube oil tanks, batteries, hydraulic pumps, fuel filters, etc. Then, after the interior gets a fresh topcoat, it will be time for plumbing, wiring, carpeting, and seating.

If all goes as planned, I hope to be testing on the water in time for the upcoming boating season. I've already been working on this project four years now and am not about to 'rush through' anything. Safety is paramount and I want everything done correctly.

I'm sure this rig will turn some heads as turbine boats are pretty rare up here in the north Puget Sound area.

My boat repairs continue on the Composite Repair page.

My turbine powered boat is now complete.

"It's gonna rip!"

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