Friday, January 22, 2010

Scrap yard finds for the engine room

My excavating business is as poor as I've ever seen having been self employed for 20+ years. With my revenue down so low and my not wanting to not work on the boat even though I have much less cash to throw at the project, I've taken to visiting scrap yards looking for some material.

This post still reflects my working in the engine room, but I want to look at the value of utilizing used material.

Given the down turn in the economy, I had my mind set that I was going to have to sheath the engine room floor in plywood and probably paint it. While down at the scrap yard today unloading the fruits of me cleaning up around the shop, I noticed some aluminum diamond plate getting ready to be processed. The material was a double diamond plate pattern 3.5' x 7.5' x 1/4" thickness. There were 20 sheets, but from what I could remember five sheets would be plenty, so I went ahead and struck a deal for six sheets. We agreed on a price of $.80 per pound. For the six sheets my total costs were $300.00. The pattern of the diamond plate was nothing I'd ever seen before, and as you can see from this picture, it is a double diamond pattern. From here on out, I'm going to call it "Double D", or "DD". Personally, I am partial to "DD", and it just makes me happy thinking about it.

I also needed a 2" stainless ball valve for my sea chest, and a 1.5" stainless ball valve for my holding tank pump out station. This scrap yard had a large bin of stainless valves and it only took me a couple of minutes to find two I thought looked good. I paid $1.00 per pound for the valves so my total cost for the valves came to $18.00. Both valves were 316 grade.

Once back at the shop I took the valves apart, applied some lithium grease, re-assembled them, then air tested them to 40 psi. I only used 40 psi since I was using PVC for my air test, and in all honesty, the valves will see no more than a two or three psi of pressure.

I also made a call to my local metal supplier to see what the costs were on new 1/4" diamond plate aluminum sheets. I was quoted a price of $3.75 per pound. The sheets of diamond plate I purchased weighed around 375 lbs. With the new cost of $3.75 I figured I got $1400.00 worth of diamond plate for $300.00. I'm also going to estimate the value of the valves @ $175.00 and $150.00 respectively, for a total valve value of $325.00. By purchasing used material, I think I can figure the new value of the material at about $1700.00, but my total outlay for this material was only $318.00. Quite a nice savings in my opinion. I should also say that the scrap yard paid me $249.00 for the 2700 lbs of scrap I dropped off.

One more thing I should add about the valves is that they are rated at 1000 psi, and I think they are sch. 80 or sch. 120. I can say with confidence that these valves are what I would call "beefy" valves, and have what I would guess double the duty rating as any valve one might buy from a marine catalog.

The aluminum diamond plate I purchased was obviously used as a cat walk or some other industrial application. This is a great example of why metal is such a good building material. While this material could have been in heavy service for 20+ years, a little work on my part and it will clean up and look just like new. I also think that the aluminum diamond plate will make my engine room floor as fine as any of the so called high end production plastic yachts on the market.


  1. Wow, that's a hell of deal you got on that ally plate!

    I've never really paid much attention to scrap yards before, but I will now. :) Thanks.


  2. Thanks for commenting Jason. Scrap yards are a great place to find bits and pieces, and while it might not be practical, a person could in theory build one of these steel boats on scrap metal alone.

  3. That's my baby!!! Intelligent and thrifty. I'm proud of you for being just get it done...mama wants to see clear water, sandy beaches, and sunshine.