Question about "best" boatbuilding material for fi

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ksgrandell
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Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 7:27 am

Question about "best" boatbuilding material for fi

Post by ksgrandell »

:? I know this is an extremely loaded question. Still, I'm looking for a reasonable answer, if possible. For years, I have wanted to build my own boat. I have purchased various plans over the years, different materials to review, aluminum, fiberglass, steel, and wood. But, I've always been apprehensive to start. I have average mechanical abilities, though not accomplished in any of the aforementioned materials. So, I am looking for thoughts and opinions as to the best material for a very first time boat builder with average abilities. I'm certain a textbook could be written to answer the question, but any thoughts and opinions would be welcome.

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Graham Knight
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:37 am
Location: Shepperton, England

Post by Graham Knight »

I would say wood is the best material. It doesn't really require any great specialist knowledge or equipment, quite simple tools, reasonably priced. If you get something wrong it's easy to remove the offending component and replace it.
Plus it's an enjoyable material to work with, I like metalwork too but find metal is nowhere near as "friendly" as wood, and although I use GRP extensively in my business it's a pretty unpleasant material to work with. (note that the glasscloth and epoxy encapsulation process used on our wooden boats is nowhere near as unpleasant as GRP layup!)
Graham in Shepperton, England

Good, Quick, Cheap, pick any two.

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Dave Grason
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Joined: Wed Dec 24, 2003 5:19 am
Location: Lake Barkley, KY

Post by Dave Grason »

I really agree with Graham on the recomendation of building in wood. Having spent many years in the building trades, I can say that for the first time builder, wood is really very forgiving. Here in my area, we live in the white oak capital of the world. Many people have bumper stickers that read: "Wood is Wonderful." And it really is! Since the boat building will be a hobby/pastime anyway, you're not in a hurry. Or at least you SHOULDN'T be in a hurry. With wood, you can make mistakes and more mistakes and keep on working with the project until you get it right. The only difference between top quality workmanship and mediocre to poor workmanship is the amount of patience and stick-to-it-iveness that you have.

When you're finished with your project, I think you'll find that a wood boat has a charm that no other building material can match. No other kind of boat evokes the same responses from observers that a fine bright finished runabout or sail boat can and I really think that you're going to find that the pride of ownership upon competion will be triple to quadruple what a GRP or aluminum project will bring you. The fact is, I don't really know how you could build an aluminum or glass boat and have it stand out in a crowd of other boats that are almost identical .... or are at least variations on a theme. Personally, I'm anticipating owning a boat that is so totally different than anything else on the lake that people stop in their tracks to take a look.

At our local lakes, there certainly seems to be this unwritten competition to see who can have the coolest boat. And they are ALL figerglass. It just looks like a durn sea of plastic. I think I'm going to go blind......arrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhh. And we're seeing runabouts that are just outrageously expensive. It's no longer a competition to see who can have the coolest boat, because they're all really cool. But now it's who can spend the most money. Mastercraft has introduced a wake board boat this year that retails for a whopping $70,000 plus. I could never do anything like that cause I'm just too darn impoverished. But if I can get my boat completed to the level that I'm envisioning in my mind, I'll ace them all without breaking the bank.


hahahahahahahahahahahahahah!!!! :twisted:
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

ksgrandell
Posts: 5
Joined: Fri May 21, 2004 7:27 am

Question about "best" boatbuilding material for fi

Post by ksgrandell »

Thanks to both of you, Graham and Dave, for your replies. They are both helpful and affirming. I suspected I would read that wood would be easier and more forgiving for the new and relatively unskilled boatbuilder. Thanks again! :)

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Graham Knight
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2003 6:37 am
Location: Shepperton, England

Post by Graham Knight »

Don't forget that most GRP boats also require moulds, which require patterns, probably made in wood! I use a lot of GRP in my business and great though it is, you do get the feeling you're making everything 3 times over. And when it's finished you're left with a pattern and a mould, which may be of use to someone, maybe even saleable, but more likely you'll end up scrapping it or it'll sit and rot at the bottom of the garden.
I agree with Dave about plastic boats anyway, why go to all the trouble of building your own boat, only to have something that looks just like the rest of the Tupperware fleet?
Graham in Shepperton, England

Good, Quick, Cheap, pick any two.

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