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The Wood is the Filling , Not the boat.

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,877
37
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#1
1st..... I am listing this in this section to stop all of the smart remarks and hijacking of a thread. :p

2nd ..... I think this needs to be discussed in a sensible light and not the boat science we are so good at.

OK... You might of gotten my drift by now.

We are here for the express purpose of helping folks build a boat for there enjoyment. The idea about this is to keep the cost down and let them have a boat , custom made by them for there pleasure the way they want it and not ours.

If they had the money ( some do ) then they could just purchase what every one they want and say screw it. They don't , they want to build one with there own hands for there use and no one else like all of us want to do.
The idea is to have a custom , hand crafted boat to meet the builders needs , what ever they are or they want , at a low cost but high quality.

To regress... I have been on the back channels with a new builder and he was saying he needed the best wood to do his build , $75 to $100.00 a sheet for a build is pure old fashion NUT'S for the 1st build. 4 Sheets =$300.00 to $400.00 that is ludicrous if just not down right stupid just for the wood.

I made a land line call to the person and advised him/them to use a less expensive wood for the 1st build. Simple reason , mistakes will be made by them ( all of us make them , I have after making 9 boats , my last mistake was on the last one I built , I measured and cut wrong , had to get another sheet of wood , thank God it was only $9.95 a sheet , I got two of them. ).

The epoxy , wood flour and the fiberglass will make up for any mistakes and they can have a boat for $400.00 or less depending on the most expensive items .... EPOXY & FIBERGLASS. Which is after the fact of the cutting , stitching and prepping the wood.

Remember the epoxy when saturated into the wood increases the strength of that wood up to 4 times , then add the fiberglass , more strength and protection for the boat.

A lot of the commercially made boats at a rather high cost only have a hull of 1/8th inch fiberglass and some wood pieces for support if any at all , ours is a lot better and stronger.
I really feel a lot safer in the one I built. It and I made it threw 4 days of some rapids which weren't suppose to be there , I still paddle it today in quiet waters.
My last commercially made canoe ( a dam good one ) had only 1/8th inch of fiberglass in the belly of it.

If a person wants the expensive wood then get a kit or after building a boat and knowing the steps , then get the better wood , you will not have a better boat , just a more expensive one but you will know how to make it.

I have several that are made out of 1/8th Luann ($9.95 a sheet) that weight from 32 pounds to 40 pounds depending on the boat that I might have $400.00 invested in if that much , not counting my time. Get one like it already made ....$2,000.00 or more.

What I guess I'm getting at is it is not the wood , it is the builders ability , the wood is only the shape or filler that we see , not the actual construction of the boat when we look at it.

Remember as simple as it is ....the boat is fiberglass and epoxy , the wood is the filling and sets the shape , Not the boat , the glass and epoxy does that. You could make one out of epoxied and glassed newspaper if you got it to hold the shape of the boat.

Then you would have something to read while out paddling and camping. :D

Chuck.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,040
74
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#2
OK, I'll approach this with the decorum you desire. It is inappropriate to advise a new boat builder who, if he is the one I think he is, is already an experienced wood worker to go cheap on wood. Wood is only a small part of the overall cost of the boat.

Several of us have already gone through the "tried working with cheap wood" and decided it isn't worth it. It doesn't bend when and how expected, it tends to warp, and it often has poor appearance on one side. This may be an even more important point for an inexperienced builder.

And, maybe the builder would like to have something to be proud of when he's done, not something done for a few less dollars and skimped by somehow.

A first time builder, working to gain experience, can readily build some of Matt's book cases using cheap wood. There, and error can be hidden by a large book of a framed picture, a crack will not leak water, and the needed experience is gained.

I'm a lot more confident in giving advice to use quality products than in telling someone to go cheap.
 

hairymick

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
2,107
2
Queensland, Australia
#3
G'day Chuck.

I tend to agree with you on this.

I have managed to build some fine boats using the cheapest ply available - however, (there is allways a however isn't there :p ) having said that, Now that I have started using better ply, I am finding the whole process much easier.

The better ply conforms to the desired hull shapes better, easier and quicker and is generally speaking, a lot easier to handle and is more forgiving of new builders enthusiasm with the sander. :D

I would go so far as to recommend a new builder - or any builder for that matter, purchase at least one extra sheet of what-ever ply he/she decides to build with, just for the mistakes that we all make. I would also recommend that for a first build, the builder choose, at least 4mm ply thickness, simply because it is way easier to work with than the 1/8th stuff. Don't forget mate, You are a very experienced and capable boat builder. Not everybody has your level of expertise.

I have noticed that materials prices vary greatly from area to area - country to country but here is a comparable price list for my Sasquatch 16.5 and relative estimated time required for me to build the boat to similar standards

Best available materials.

Gaboon 4mm Martine Ply (BS1088) X 4 sheets -$200.00
Epoxy (West System) 6 litres - $300.00
Fibreglass cloth X 10 yards - $60.00
Gunwhale timber and Misc other stuff $50.00

Total Estimated Cost =$610.00
Estimated time required 80 hours


Cheapest Material

Cheap 1/8th blonde interior grade ply X 4 sheets $50.00
Cheap Epoxy 6 litres - $230.00
Fibreglass X 10 yards - $60.00
Gunwhale timber & other stuff $50.00

Total Estimated Cost $390.00
Estimated Time required, 160 hrs


To me, the $220.00 extra is more than compensated for by the ease of build and the way fewer hours required for me to achieve similar results.

As Matt frequently suggests, I would recommend any first time builder start on a simpler build - like a pirogue. Even for this, I would still be inclined to recommend, at least, the best quality ply the builder can afford.
 

seedtick

Well-Known Member
Jul 22, 2006
1,142
4
Denham Springs, LA
#4
Sorry Chuck but I must disagree, to me the wood is the boat

Put a well built wood boat next to a well built plastic painted boat and watch folks reactions to the boats as they walk by. They'll look at the plastic boat but they'll salivate and rub all over the wooden one.

I do agree that you shouldn't use expensive wood for your first boat, but after a couple of builds, you ought to be able to move away from cheap luan to something that'll really set your boat apart.

Not wanting to rock the proverbial boat, but to some folks a boat is not just a means for getting from point A to point B
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
#5
I hate to get in this but I am going to. I think I agree with all the statements in these post , they are all true,
Now to my sins
laun plywood 9.95 sheet
cloth 5.00 a yard
:oops: Polyester resin 28.00 a gallon
My cost in a boat is listed below
plywood 4 sheets 40.00
cloth 10 yards 50.00
fiberglass resin 56.00 2 gallons
Total 174.00
Polyester resin stinks but my 30.000 dollar bass boat was built out of it
My boats are not the prettiest but they ain't bad
I use them rough as heck on rocks sand and gravel in the ole Brazos
In six boats I have less than 1200.00 and a lot of time and have learned a lot had fun got me some nice boats and some day I will build on out of good stuff but it will be when I know exactly the boat I want.
Ok ya'll can go to throwing rocks now and Ill get back in my hole
Ron
Cheap ply nothing less than 4 mm 3/16
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,877
37
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#7
Kayak Jack said:
And, maybe the builder would like to have something to be proud of when he's done, not something done for a few less dollars and skimped by somehow.
I hate to say this but I am dam proud of the boats I have made and especially the ones which are made from the less expensive wood ( since they float) . :lol:
For some reason when folks look at them they think it is very expensive wood and are sure I am lying when I tell them what the wood really is.

Jack , I am sure you remember this boat from Outhouse Key. It is made from the expensive $9.95 a sheet wood.





 

sheena's dad

Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2006
125
0
Moscow, Idaho
#9
Y'know, I watch the boats everyone builds on here and I read with real attention to everything about those builds with keen interest.

Some extoll buying only the very best and others in a frugal sense extoll the virtues of building a cheaply as possible. Some build only one boat....a few of you have built entire fleets.

Lessee... I started a strip canoe first....made my way out into the shop where it's hidden from from and it'll be on its way to the burn pile as soon as I have the weekend off to return home and do some cleaning. We moved Sheena skiff, I should've worked on it while she was gone but didn't...couldn't bring myself to work on it without her. It's gonna have to join the stripper.... 'nuff said. It breaks my heart.... and Sheena's.

Now I have the "Twins" panels ready to splice up and have to put that on hold until I find a sttorage rental place where I can work on them while I'm on that new job. Hoping to have better luck, this time.

Some of us build exactly what we want right off the bat. Some of us build more than one with just the thought of trying to find out what it is exactly we want our boats to be so frugality is the choice, sometimes. Maybe once it's known what is wanted then the real money will be put into that boat. Maybe not.

Whether we build expensively or cheaply is our individual decision. I don't know, but, it sure seems to me, that whether built on the cheap side or the high dollar side, everyone on here has built beautiful boats.

I am amazed at the craftsmanship of guys who have never built a thing in their lives and come on here only to end up building such beautiful watercraft. We have all watched as each builders skills have improved with each boat built and have been as proud of them as they have been in what they have done.

To me, that is the important thing about this site and each individual thread. And then to have FUN with each other in the process of it. It's great.

Well that's just my 2-cents worth.

Steve
 

dangermouse01

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2006
312
1
Palm Bay, FL (East coast)
#10
My thoughts.
A piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in Florida will bend and act the same as a piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in OZ, same as a piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in Brazil, same as a piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in England, same as a piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in Canada, same as a piece of 4mm Okoume BS1088 bought in Texas. All are manufactured to the same BS1088 specifications.

I dont think the same can be said about 1/8 Luan door skins. Who knows where, how, or to what quality they are made. Their only requirement is to look good on one side. I would bet that I could buy two sheets of 1/8 Luan from different stores in the same city and they would act differently. A Luan door skin bought in the states may have entirely different bend and twist properties than one bought in another country.

Boat design is a factor also. Some designs have more severe panel bending and twisting going on than others, compare a kayak to a pirogue. Would a door skin take the twist & bend required to make a S&G Greenland style kayak? I cant say, but I know the BS1088 will. Some boat designs would be more accommodating to being made with Luan than others.

My first boat build was a CLC Chesapeake 16, 4mm Okoume BS1088.

Cant say that Luan wont work, BS1088 works for me and that is what I use.

DM
mike
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
#11
I hope I haven't presented the wrong ideal here.
The reasons for the way I build my boats are as follows
First boat was a learning experience good plans from Matt and cheap enough so if I screwed up I could trash it start over.
Second boat I got the design bug for a boat, the things I wanted it to do were flat bottom so can run shallow solo or tandem tumble homes for the wind asymetrical for speedThe hot air piroqe was born
built a couple pierouges for my grand daugters out of my feeble little head
They loved them
Then Mick kept talking about his Laker built one of them from Matts plans
Then Matt draws out a set of plans for Me and JHager The T-V are Brazos Queen was Born

If I had 900 dollars invested in each of those builds I probably would never have tried designing a boat much less three I sure wouldn't be building a boat then cutting a hole in it for a cooler or building custom cockpits that just fit me, different size hatches ,the list goes on.
Every boat I build I learn about the building process and trying new things has let me refine my boats to do the job and fit me like a pair of custom boots, That is a big part of my building them every one is a Ronnie original, I use them hard don't baby them and they are standing up so far

I am not a traditionalist as ya'll know so this building style fits me
Someday I will build a boat from the best materials okume epoxy
and maybe kevar it will be a show boat but this will be when I feel like
I have the ultimat design for me down pat.
We all build for different reasons I just wanted to show you can build a good boat without the big price tag.
Ron
I have a new design floating around in my head been eating at me for a couple months dangit. And I wonder how light you could build a boat out of styrofoam sheets with glass and epoxy covering
Can feel a sawdust fix coming on
You can't build a bad boat
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,040
74
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#13
Matt, you and DM both bring into account some very important aspects of the decision process. An accomplished, experienced builder can both do a better job of selecting better cheap stuff from a stack of undesirable materials, and then area also able to work around its inherent weaknesses.

A new builder, or one as ham fisted as me, is better off selecting high quality materials - wood, epoxy, glass, etc. In this case, the better material helps to make up for my weaknesses.

I'm not at all confident recommending to someone to economize on materials to build a boat for going into harm's way. Neither would I advise a steeple jack to get the cheapest safety belt he can find.

Astronauts my have to go into space with a rocket strapped to their arse, that was made by the lowest bidder. We don't.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,877
37
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#14
JEM said:
With less expensive wood, and experienced builder knows how to pick out the best pieces of plywood.

See what Chuck isn't mentioning is he probably rejects about 15 sheets for each "good" sheet he brings home.
I would not say I'm an experienced builder , especially with the mistakes I make , but thanks for the complement guy's that was nice of you.

Matt with you being so kind to me , one of these days I will have to tell someone that you design wood boats for folks to make. Please don't let me forget to do that. :lol:

Yes , I do get picky about the wood , might say to much so , they say here comes that so & so who has to look at each sheet before deciding. I guess that is just me , when I have to pay $9.95 for a sheet I want the best wood grains , shades and textures that match. After all it is going to be my boat.

If it means moving a few sheets or panels of the wood , so be it.
OK....So I have gone threw a whole stack of them to find three or four for a boat ... I put all of the rest of them back just like I found them.

I might scrimp on the filler ( Wood ) but the rest of what I use to make a boat is top line , good epoxy , tight woven fiberglass , all of it since it makes the boat. The wood gives it it's looks and shape for everything to be married/bonded to.

Think about this........It might cause you to have a headache but give it a try. You can do it.
I have faith in you , sometimes , now and then , occasionally ...This time.


In the light of reality....... We are not paddling wood boats , we are paddling fiberglass boats which show there filler or core material ....Wood.

A wood boat is just that ... WOOD , nothing more , nothing less. So ... YES , folks your wood boats are nothing more then fiberglass boats in the real life. :shock: shocking news , right.

Chuck. :
 

dangermouse01

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2006
312
1
Palm Bay, FL (East coast)
#15
oldsparkey said:
A wood boat is just that ... WOOD , nothing more , nothing less. So ... YES , folks your wood boats are nothing more then fiberglass boats in the real life. :shock: shocking news , right.

Aaahhhh, but isn't that like saying that a cherry pie isn't a cherry pie at all, that in fact it is just a pie?

Or would you agree that it is actually the filling that separates one pie from all the others and makes it what it really is, a cherry pie. Because with out the filling you just have a baked piece of dough and not a pie at all. :wink:

DM
mike
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,877
37
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#16
dangermouse01 said:
Aaahhhh, but isn't that like saying that a cherry pie isn't a cherry pie at all, that in fact it is just a pie?

Or would you agree that it is actually the filling that separates one pie from all the others and makes it what it really is, a cherry pie. Because with out the filling you just have a baked piece of dough and not a pie at all. :wink:

DM
mike
Now you have the idea. :D The filing is what makes it what we want.
I was sure we would come around to food at some time , How about prune pie , some good eats. :wink:
Sorry I asked we will get off the subject matter discussing pies and I would like for this thread to not be hijacked.

Chuck.
 

hairymick

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
2,107
2
Queensland, Australia
#17
Sorry I asked we will get off the subject matter discussing pies and I would like for this thread to not be hijacked

Awww, c'mon Chuck, We got standards to maintain here. :p

Seriously though, I think this thread goes to prove that some very good boats can be built with what is claimed to be inferior product, ie interior ply and poly resin. A lot depends on the desires and skills of the builder.

One does not need to spend more money on the best available ply - or type of resin and still have a very good and serviceable boat. After all this is why we choose to build our own in the first place. - To save money and to get a boat that suits our needs.

Some like to aim for furniture quality in their builds and others are happy with a boat that is fare and serviceable. Both are fine boats and the builder will get a lot of enjoyment out of both the build and the product. To my mind that is the aim of the whole process and this part of this great forum.

We all have different ideas on how the job should/could/might be done best. By throwing the different ideas and alternatives into the ring, potential new builders get to choose which might suit them best. At the same time, others get an insight into different methods and we all learn something. I just love that! :D :D

BTW,

Great Thread Chuck! 8) I promise I will be good and will try not to hijack it


too much :p

( Good move Mick , it's not nice to mess with Father Nature / Time. )
 

jdupre'

Well-Known Member
Sep 9, 2007
2,015
3
South Louisiana
#19
Good points all around. Nobody's right- nobody's wrong -- just opinions. A fine high grade Parker side-by-side is no doubt one of the finest firearms ever made. Quality enough to last 3 lifetimes. But you can kill a flushing pheasant deader than a hammer with a pump Mossberg from Walmart.

I'm from neither the expensive wood/epoxy team nor the cheap ply/ polyester resin team. My pirogue was built from marine ply, glue, nails and paint , just like the first one I built about 32 years ago(which, by the way, is still in use). I got a little ribbing also about my choice of materials, but my build was partly nostalgic and partly exploratory.

But, at the end of the day, I can load a couple of days worth of camping supplies in her and head out averaging about 3mph, and see the sights of nature in the comfort of a vessel I built with my own hands. And isn't that what it's all about?
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
13,040
74
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#20
May I offer another approach? What if, instead of looking at this as an "either / or" situation, we look at it as a "if / then" conditional situation? We divide, somewhat, toward either high quality or low price as if it's an all or nothing solution. What if, instead, we ask some questions first, and THEN make a recommendation?

What are some areas of consideration here? Say,

1. Cost - what if high quality costs $100 vs low price $10?

2. Weight - how critical is weight? Could the boat be made of 1/4" or 3/8" and be OK?

3. Intended use - A solo boat intended for use in 2' of water? A dual boat, or 1-2 week long expeditions on deep water or many miles into wilderness?

4. Skill / experience of the builder - new guy vs this is his 7th or 8th boat?

5. Willingness of builder to accept failure because of poor material despite good workmanship, or failure because of poor workmanship even with high quality material?


There are other considerations, and maybe some don't agree with the ones proposed. Thoughts?