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From Steamboat Paintings to Painting a Steamboat

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    From Steamboat Paintings to Painting a Steamboat

    I guess having Alan Bates as a steamboat mate way back years ago in my deckhand days wharped my romantic ideas about steamboating because I tend to look at boats from a workman's prospective. On our "Wake of the AMERICA" trip last month I gave out pictures of the three boats we were talking about that day...the AMERICA, TELEGRAPH, and CITY of MEMPHIS. In studying the picture of the AMERICA it struck me how hard it would be to paint that boat. Look at the picture, the boat is all sticks, poles, and lattuce work; about the only flat areas are the overheads on each deck. No wonder painting a steamboat is a never ending job.
    Attached Files

    #2
    Imagine painting America or J. M. White with today's $25.00 per gallon paint. WHEW!!!
    Jim were you there when we tried to paint the hull interior with tractor lacquer from International Harvester? That was SOME day!

    A word of explanation: International Harvester gave the Belle of Louisville about fifteen barrels of yellow and red paint. We found out that the stuff would 'dry' under water. So I took my crew into a big compartment under the boilers with brushes and yellow tractor lacquer. None of us wanted to go, for the day was hot and the boilers made it hotter, but in we went, daubing paint on plates and angles. In about ten minutes each of us was content with his lot. In ten more minutes someone stood up and crashed his head on the deck above, and giggled. The rest of the crew thought it was hilarious. A little later on we decided to go up and get a drink of water. One after another, each man took two or three steps, then collapsed, still laughing. That ended the painting project.

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      #3
      Hmmm, ain't none of you ever read "Mark Twain?"
      What a privilage to be able to say "I painted a Steamboat!"

      BTW, I do know the effort, I've painted a few locomotives! Here's one of them:
      S'
      David Dewey
      Attached Files
      Last edited by David Dewey; 07-31-2006, 04:00 PM. Reason: Left out a word!

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        #4
        The people posting on here about painting steamboats have had far more steamboat experiences than Mark Twain ever did! They've been there, done that, from the bottom up!

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          #5
          Get-High-Paint

          Sounds like the time we spray-painted the interior Forward Hold of the DQ with some super-volatile stuff. One spark and the for'd end of the QUEEN would have been elevated into orbit with several of us along for the ride. I still shudder when recalling being within the midst of the thick, explosive vapors- denser than a Jovian afternoon. Without an air-breathing system we would have croaked. This same paint, also rolled and brushed on, was called Get High Paint, by a crew that actively sought the elusive "Mother of All Highs" with any substance, controlled or otherwise, with the exception of that revolting, gut-turning paint.

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            #6
            Judy is right. These painters of steamboats have done all the chores that Mark Twain never mentioned. Steering is great, which all of them have done, but there is a lot more to steamboating than that. As Twain would have said, "We've been gravelled."

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              #7
              Many years ago...I think when the C&O Bridge at Cincy was replaced (Vehicle span of 1888) there were two painters painting the inside of a large box beam. They used a light bulb on the end of a cord for illumination. The bulb fell and broke, igniting the vapors and killing the two painters. I have seen the effects of narcosis when a young lady using a degreaser dropped too large a charge into the chamber too rapidly and too often, displacing the degreasing vapors into the room before they had a chance to condense on the parts. She was as high as a Georgia pine at the end of the work day! I don't remember the vapor involved, but some can be quite dangerous, especially to women of child-bearing age.

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                #8
                Just so happens we got a "little" painting job of many thousands of square feet of steel "steamboat" deck that will gladly accept volunteers. The temperature on that steel, today, is easily at least 140 sizzling degrees. Any takers?

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                  #9
                  No Alan, luckily I was on the night watch that week and didn't participate in the hull painting project but I do remember it well. That half hour with the tractor paint in the hull was the talk of the deck crew for the rest of the summer.

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                    #10
                    Woa! That was supposed to be Humor! I was thinking of Tom Sawyer and the picket fence! I only put the loco painting in to show that I do understand and appreciate all the work required to paint larger objects.
                    S'
                    David Dewey

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                      #11
                      Don't take a little bashing too personally. Steamboat dudes and dudettes, including Y/T, get a little thin-skinned when it comes to their boats. As far as the story about Tom Sawyer white-washing the famous fence, I've built my life around it.

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