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The Wood is the Filling , Not the boat.

hairymick

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
2,107
2
Queensland, Australia
#21
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?
I am not so sure that "failure" even comes into the equation.

Sure, some builds might be prettier than others but I have never seen a build thread here, or on Matt's forum that resulted in failure.

At the end of the day, Every single build that I have had the pleasure of watching on both forums has turned into a fine boat in its own right.

This is where Builder's Choice comes into play. If any builder is prepared to put the time and effort into what they do, remarkable results can be achieved, even on First Builds.

Others, like me :oops: like to build a lot of boats, and build them quickly. We are prepared to sacrifice a little in fine workmanship for speed of build in our haste to get the job done. I think our boats are still very good boats though perhaps not quite as pretty as they could be.

We know the mistakes we make along the way but most times, the average bloke looking at out boats and drooling, never sees them unless they are pointed out to them. Our hand made boats are each and every one of them, one of a kind. Each with their own personality and little flaws and this is exactly what makes them so special.

Some words from another site that I have "borrowed" and they seem to me to fit very well, the whole purpose of building our own boats with timber.

Seeing her for the first time reminded me of the Sutton Hoo boat in Greenwich, thousands and thousands of years old. And all lapped planks and sewn together. Building Elf will have the race memory juices that Jung hints at running on all eight. There will be times in that workshop where the moaning chair has been taken, because some joint or other would not fit right. And you look over the boat, the Elf, as she takes her shape in front of you. The hair creeps on the back of your neck, and for tiniest moment you suspect that you are not alone. Judith Wright, a loved Australian poet once wrote about our obligation to the past. We are, she said, the living vision of dead men's eyes. And in that moment, we know what she means. Soon you will go back and fit that joint, perfectly. You will know, as you later see this special boat's reflection in the waves, that you will have done credit to and become part of the continuum of that ancient past.
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,833
32
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#23
Wannabe said:
This thread should be fiberglassed and epoxied so it will last. This discussion should be required reading by anyone wanting to build a boat.
Thank you
Bob
Bob ....

That is exactly what I was shooting / looking for when I started it. All of the Pro's and Con's are listed along with personal thoughts for any new builder to look at.

If they had a question by reading this thread all there questions should be answered. I knew I could count on all of the guy's to pitch in and offer advice on both sides of the coin.

As normal with us , we only suggest different ways to build a boat , how the boat is built is strictly up to the builder , after all it is his boat. :D

I planned to have this thread as a reference , that is why it is a sticky and will not move from it's position.

Chuck
 

lpm

Active Member
Sep 12, 2005
27
0
41
Zachary, LA
#24
This is an excellent thread and one that has gotten me motivated to actually build, instead of just thinking about it. I have been reading these forums for probably 3-4 years, but have not brought myself to build due to financial reasons. But after reading this thread, I realize the my desire and need to get on the water, combined with a need to do so at the lowest cost possible, are reasons enough to build.

The cheaper materials may not generate a boat that will last for a lifetime, nor be placed in a museum. But, after reading this thread, I see that the expensive materials do not guarantee that either. As long as it looks like a boat, and functions like a boat, and is structurally sound it will fit my needs.

So, let the 1st wooden boat building process begin..........
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,956
58
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#25
hairymick said:
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?
I am not so sure that "failure" even comes into the equation. Sure, some builds might be prettier than others but I have never seen a build thread here, or on Matt's forum that resulted in failure....
OK, perhaps the concept of "failure" is more strong than need be here. Let me substitute, "disappointed in the results". Or, "Not as happy as I wanted to be with the finished product".

Either way, when we undertake to build a boat, there is an element of risk. Workmanship and materials are part of that equation. Tools and implements are another. Workshop, time, energy, are more. We may obtain what we envisioned, or we may not.

It can be argued that the better we do in any of these variables, the better the product could be. Also, the better we are in any of these variables, can compensate and make up for deficiencies in other variables. It's a balancing act. When making a cake, for instance, we may be a bit shy of one or two ingredients. A good cook can still get a good cake, while I might end up with a pile of goo.

Building a boat is a similar undertaking, I think. Skill may be able to overcome lesser materials. Ambition or determination may overcome not having power tools and using hand tools instead. High quality materials may help make up for low skill. Etc.

So, when faced with a question of, "Should I buy the best materails I can get to make this boat, or can I get by with cheaper wood?", the answer may well be, "Well, it depends."
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
#26
This is a heck of a crowd and after all the boat science we all pretty much agree there is no right way are wrong way to build a boat as long as you build one.
If it works do it.
Ron
Ps Mick is one of the best builders on here and has used cheap and the best, on his wife boat it looks perfect but I bet he can point out flaws that we would never see.
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,956
58
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#27
I think you're right, Ron. In a way, a practical way, the best way is one that works. It's in the definition of concepts like "works", "satisfactory", "OK", "optimum", etc. where differences arise. And, how to achieve those "OK" results is a minefield of differences too.

An open forum is often rough and tumble as different views are presented. Each of us prize our views because they are ours, and because they were formed in the heat of battle and tested over time. They work for us, and provide satisfaction. Someone has to break the mold, try something new, do something crazy, to ever move us off dead center.

Only free, open discussion will air the wide variety of points of view needed to finally exhaust the discussion, calm oscillations of the pendulum, and let it settle on a null where we reach either agreement or agree to disagree agreeably. Trying to stifle that discussion is even more dangerous. It leads to festering, brooding, and suppressed feelings, and forces the pendulum to settle in a false null. We have, I think pretty well chewed this bone well as it deserved chewing.

Being satisfied is a dangerous place to be. It leads to complacency, and that becomes a rut. A rut is just a grave with the ends kicked out. Case in point: The British were so embedded in the sea power pattern of thinking, that they did not envision an attack by land. In the Burmese Theater, their guns were bedded in concrete pointing seaward. The Japanese marched in from the land. Oops!
 

dawallace45

Well-Known Member
#28
I've built several boats with good quality exterior ply but most of my boats out of marine ply and there is no comparison , marine ply looks better , is easier to handle and work with , it bends the way I want with out snapping like cheaper grades of ply and doesn't have voids and surface blemishes that need filling and sanding and at the end of the day the difference in price is non existent , it costs me $40 for a sheet of 4mm interior or exterior grade ply locally , I can buy 4mm marine ply from Boat-craft Pacific for $40 a sheet and get it sent up by truck as a top load ,

Epoxy , well I've used cheap bulk epoxy and it wasn't all that great but it was still streets ahead of the Polyester resin that we used to use with fibreglass cloth to sheath our old marine ply boats years ago ,
A note on polyester resin , all the boats we sheathed years ago eventually separated , that is the fibreglass come adrift from the ply , even though the boats were sanded back to bare timber and spotlessly clean , a few years back I asked a industrial chemist I used to shoot pistol with about it and he reckons that epoxy is made to stick to timber but polyester resin is made to stick to fibreglass and it's not a case of it may separate from timber it's a case of when .

I've also used West System Epoxy , System 3 and Bote-cote epoxy , all were very good with Bote-cote and West system the best for my use , I only use Bote-cote now as it's about $100 for 6 litres , even if it weren't I'd still be using it

David
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,833
32
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#29
It's my understanding that the only difference between normal plywood and the higher class stuff is the amount of glue they use in it. "O" they also match the sides on the higher class stuff but a builder with a brain can compensate for that and reverse his cuts so the good side is out. Anyway I do. I sure enjoy the $9.95 a sheet over the $35.00 or more per sheet. :roll:

All it boils down to is like several folks have said .... It is what the builder wants and wants to spend to make his boat. If you like the expensive ( not better) wood then go for it , If you are on a budget then go with the economy version ..... Both boats will have a wood look to them unless you paint them and if that is the case you might as well used something else.

Remember ..... a lot of the builders are on a budget , not rolling in the bucks like some folks are so it is now much will this boat cost me to make. The idea is to make the boat and enjoy it , not going into bankruptcy so you can say ... Yes the wood was $ 1,000.00 a sheet and it took 6 sheets to make it , That is the height of stupidity.

Starting out , save your cash , economizes and make the boat , then go nut's on the next if you want to , which I think you would not do. Especially since you have a great , custom , boat made by your hands for a savings over purchasing one.

We make our boats for a couple of reasons....

1. They are made the way we want them.
2. We can make them for a lot less the purchasing one.
3 The enjoyment of making something with your own hands.
4. The pride we take in the final product.
5. The pleasure of paddling down a stream in .... OUR BOAT. :D
6. The ability of making more for family or friends.
7. The knowledge that we can do it and the item does what we ask it to.
8. The addiction of making something everyone can and does appreciate.
9. The ability of helping others accomplish the same thing / pleasure.
10. The thought process everyone goes threw when making a boat with there hands and all of the knowledge we learn from there progress and mistakes , especially there mistakes.

I could list another 90 reasons but why should I ... All of you know them , you and I have done them. :oops:

Chuck.
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
#30
Dave
I will agree with you up to a point. I use to own part of a boat (fiberglass skiffs) company so I am pretty familiar with poly resin but the part I disagree with is in the construction of the panels the widest piece of wood in any hull I have built was 12 inches and if you do the spacer method you are building a box around the panel , a structural piece in a seres of pieces that are also totally inclosed They use the same process in building homebuilt airplanes but with stryfoam as a core . It isn't the same as big areas covered with cloth and poly running 40 miles an hour across a bay.
I don't think I am making this very clear s@g you build little glass boxes then glue them together with more poly and cloth so you are tying to fiberglass on your outside coats.
The wood is just there to hold everything apart.
In the next few months I will put some miles on my tv and we will see
how she holds up clost to a hundred so far 850 to go
Ron
 

john the pom

Well-Known Member
Jul 30, 2007
345
1
Queensland
#31
Ron said: "The wood is just there to hold everything apart. " I love that comment.
However you'se all have got it wrong. MY WAY is the best way to build a boat, it's as simple as that. The wood I got is structural ply from the nearest wood supplier. In truth its not very good wood. I could've ordered better stuff and paid as much again for delivery. Instead I took along my cordless drill drilled a hole through each corner and tied it to the top of my very small car (no roof rack) Of course the holes corresponded to bits I really didn't want to have holes in so I had to fill them, or shuffle the plans a bit. 'Cos I used cheaper ply I compensated by using thicker glass, therefore more epoxy, which makes it heavier. I found some cheaper epoxy, paid for it when same epoxy burnt the shit outta my forearms and eyelids. Everything has a price.
At the end of the day I will end up with a boat that will be more than adequate for what I will use it for. It might... ok make that won't be as pretty as some of the artforms some of you guys create.
BUT, it will be not only the first, but the best boat I have ever made. It will be far better than any boat anyone I know personally has ever made, because I don't know anyone that has made one. It will be and has already been more fun than building a wood fence which is about all I've ever made out of wood. If all the boats we made were identical they'd just be boats. Lets enjoy and learn from our differences.

ps guys the "MY WAY" is also YOUR WAY!
 

dawallace45

Well-Known Member
#32
Chuck

The main differences between ordinary ply and marine ply is that with marine ply you have two A faces and no voids and that the faces are proper ply's and not just cigarette paper thin face veneers with a thicker core , with the thin 4 mm marine ply that means it will take bends more easily with out snapping and is structurally stronger to start with , the timbers used in marine ply are generally a little better suited to the environment they are used in than ordinary ply , these days most but not all ply wood uses the same A bond glue as marine ply or at least say they do , but it seems not all A bond glue is created equal , I had some very nice looking exterior grade ply I was using for backing on book cases and cupboards that I water tested back when I was living at Clermont , [ tossed into a bucket of water for a few days then sat out in the sun ] it delaminated in a day , so much for A bond glue , but for me it boils down to the fact that I can't get ply for $9.95 a sheet and even crappy bracing ply is $27 a sheet and full of voids and surface marring and way too heavy , for me to buy 4 sheets of interior or exterior grade means a couple of 140 km round trips to Gladstone doing the rounds of the timber suppliers trying to find a few sheets here or there that are worth while using , for some reason this doesn't seem to be a readily stocked item , I just checked my invoice from the last time I bought ply in Gladstone , I bought 2 sheets of 4 mm ply and 2 sheets of 12mm ply , the 4mm was $42 a sheet and the 12mm was $69 a sheet , the 4mm ply was only suitable for backing with only one relatively good side and the other crap and it took me three trips into Gladstone towing a trailer to get it ,
I had asked to be notified when they got some decent stuff in but was told it was pretty much hit and miss as far as quality goes and just to keep coming back and going through the stack until I could find what I wanted , that took 5 weeks from the first visit , in comparison when I last ordered marine ply from Boat-Craft Pacific , I ordered 8 sheets at $40 per sheet including GST and it cost me $30 to get it sent up as a top load by a local transport company and I had it in 3 days , by my calculations I'm paying less than $2 a sheet more for absolutely beautiful timber , to even consider using locally supplied ply is foolish in my case

Ron

For me to even contemplate using Polyester resin is pointless , to buy 6 litres locally is about $160 , to buy it from one of the mail order boating supply companies is $130 , this is of course more than I pay for quality epoxy , and of course there is the fact I just don't trust Polyester resin on timber , all the boats we did with polyester resin and fibreglass were rowing dinghies , no motors and they all separated in less than 5 years , most of these boats were kept in the water year round and only taken out once a month to have the bottoms rubbed clean , even my professionally made sailing dinghy had the fibreglass sheath separate , it may take a few years but it will happen

David
 

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,956
58
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#33
oldsparkey said:
It's my understanding that the only difference between normal plywood and the higher class stuff is the amount of glue they use in it. ... If you like the expensive ( not better) wood
Let's get some understanding here. Builder's choice is one thing. Providing misleading information on wood is another.

First off, your first understanding is a misunderstanding. There are more differences between lower grade and higher grade plywood than what you cited. Quality of wood, type of glue, number and type of manufacturing errors allowed, (including but not limited to voids where parts of a middle layer is missing, knots that will pop out under torsional stress, splits, pieces of wood missing altogether, patches where faults were removed), are also part of the differences. The plywood manufacturers themselves admit that lower grade plywood is not as good - that's why it's a lower grade.

Secondly, these differences all contribute to a more uniform, stronger, and better piece of wood.

If by this thread, we are trying to help new builders, then let's remove our personal preferences from the equation and tell it like it is.
 

Lee Schneidermann

Well-Known Member
Dec 6, 2007
150
1
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
#34
Fort Worth would never cross my mind....If it wadnt fr Texas

Time to jump in!!
Sparky and Matt are personally liable for me gettin' involved in this boat-buildin' gig.
Sparky, because he convinced me I could build a boat out of 10 dollar plywood.
Matt, because he designed a boat that would hold a 230 pound, 6'-4", piece of human floatstam above water, without having to learn how to eskimo roll.
My first kayak experience in Alaska almost took my life. If not for my room-mate pulling me ashore, I would have drowned, no question.
But Sparky built that durn Freedom, and he had me from "click here to see what other builders are saying"
Thank-you Chuck and Matt!! Thanks for making all of "THIS" happen, and I get to save my sanity, build a boat, and paddle it because of you two!
There are more expensive ways to build a boat, they're not wrong, just more expensive.
There's a whole world of folks who have the "want to" but don't have the "means to" in this boat building thing. You two are finding ways to get plain folks out to enjoy God's good earth, without having to be rich or hiers.
As Red Skelton would say," God Bless"

Lee
 

hairymick

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
2,107
2
Queensland, Australia
#35
Bloody well said Lee! :D

Dave, Ya want me to get a few sheets for you with my next order mate?

You can have it for what it costs me.

I won't be ordering for probably a couple of months but it is not problem to get as many as you need.

My last order cost about AUD $26.00 per sheet for "A"grade Gaboon 4mm. plus a little for shipping. (Got a real good deal going with one of the local trucky blokes :D

Some of my sheets had some very minor faults in the outer finish but you can have your pick of the pile anyway. :D
 

tx river rat

Well-Known Member
Feb 23, 2007
3,043
2
Waco Tx
#36
Jack and I are going on a 120 mile plus float in a few weeks
Should be interesting to get up in the morning and see if my cheap wood has melted, :lol:
Should be a good test cheap versus first class, round bottom versus v bottom
cooler and no cooler
Sealed hatches versus no hatches
Oh well I want mention north and south
That be a good name for the trip compass trip n-s
Ron
Jack and I disagree on just about everything on a paddle boat but bet we have a blast and were both happy with what were paddling and they will both do the job
 

oldsparkey

Well-Known Member
Aug 25, 2003
9,833
32
75
Central , Florida
www.southernpaddler.com
#37
Re: Fort Worth would never cross my mind....If it wadnt fr T

Lee Schneidermann said:
Time to jump in!!

Thank-you Chuck and Matt!! Thanks for making all of "THIS" happen, and I get to save my sanity, build a boat, and paddle it because of you two!
There are more expensive ways to build a boat, they're not wrong, just more expensive.
There's a whole world of folks who have the "want to" but don't have the "means to" in this boat building thing. You two are finding ways to get plain folks out to enjoy God's good earth, without having to be rich or hiers.
As Red Skelton would say," God Bless"

Lee
Thanks Lee , That is the point I was trying to get folks to see or understand.

You don't have to have a Rolls Royce when a VW will do the same thing. Go with which your budget approves , If you want the high stuff then use it , If you want a boat and want to save on it then go the economy route.

From what some folks have said a few posts back.
I guess the economy route only impresses the person doing it. PLEASE forgive my misunderstanding about this but I always thought we built boats to use as we see fit , not to impress folks only to satisfy ourselves.

Jack....

By the way I have used the high end stuff , in fact the 1st kayak was just that , the Pygmy Coho.
Then I made a pirogue with the Luann and guess what , I could not tell the difference , they both sanded like wood , they both cut like wood , smelled like wood , soaked up epoxy like wood , had splinters like wood , I would of sworn they both were wood.

The knots and all of the imperfections that you say are in the wood I use ( I will try to find one) have never popped out or done anything , my guess is that the epoxy saturation coats ( extra glue ) that soaked into the wood and then the fiberglass covering the boat has something to do with that.

By the way..... You Said. "If by this thread, we are trying to help new builders, then let's remove our personal preferences from the equation and tell it like it is."
If we did that you and I would only have a grand total of three or 4 posts listed in the counter over on the left side under our name. :lol: :lol: :lol:

Chuck.
 

dangermouse01

Well-Known Member
Sep 8, 2006
312
1
Palm Bay, FL (East coast)
#38

Kayak Jack

Well-Known Member
Aug 26, 2003
12,956
58
81
Okemos / East Lansing Michigan
#39
I disagreed trying to say that cheap plywood is as good as the 1088 Okoume. Plain false and misleading. To say that the cheap plywood, under certain conditions of selection, use, and application can be "good enough" I agree with.

We all agree with freedom of choice; that has been a moot point for a long time. All but one seems to agree that there are different levels of quality spread throughout the range of prices for plywood.

I drove VW's for 10 years. An OK car is not a great car. Luan is OK IF selected, treated, and used in certain circumstances. Okoume 1088 is better than OK without the special circumstances. You pay for the privilege of having quality handed to you, or you pay less for lesser quality and get along with it. Same principle works in products of all kinds.

Let's put this issue to bed.
 

hairymick

Well-Known Member
Dec 8, 2005
2,107
2
Queensland, Australia
#40
I have built a few boats with the cheap stuff and all of them have turned out to be better than OK.

My Laker is a case in point. I built this boat using what was left of a bunch of ten sheets of 3mm interior ply. In other words, the ply I used on the Laker was the stuff I had rejected for other builds.

There were voids, warps and serious delamination in this stuff in places but it what I had on hand at the time, so it is what I used.

Here is how I fixed the delamination. - Lots of 1/16th holes in the veneers on the delaminated side, saturated with epoxy and worked into the timber and delamination gap.



I used my reject ply on this build, specifically to see if it could be done successfully using the worst imaginable ply. I wouldn't recommend anybody do this and I would never do it again. Simply because, while I am satisfied with the end result, working with the poor quality ply is just too much like hard work.

G'day Bear,

Fellas,

All this wood, glass, glue stuff gives me a headache.....'n makes me glad I jest stick with plastic boats. I dont have a dime in the tools ya'll dont count when ya'll come up with yer bottom line cost. I dont give a rats ass bout the look of my canoes. I jest want 'em ta catch eddys, tote my gear 'n weigh less'n 40 pounds.

Dont git me wrong. I like purty wood, but when it comes ta paddlin', purty jest dont count. Besides, I never paid az much az ya'll spend on a canoe.

regards
bearridge
Welcome to the fray mate, :D

I hear what you are saying mate and I agree with it.

In purely economic terms, it is possible to buy a very good second hand, plastic of GRP canoe or kayak cheaper than one can build a similar boat when one takes into account the additional costs of tools, machinery and equipment required to do the job.

ie, I can buy a very serviceable 16 foot GRP Canadian canoe, second hand for around 500 or 600 bucks.

My Sasquatch will cost around the same amount in materials alone. I could build cheaper - but I dont want to.

I don't count the costs of my tools, because I am a tool junky and I will use them on other jobs around the house anyway.

There is much more to building our own boats than just an attempt to save some money. I like to look at it this way.

A boat build usually last me between 4 and 10 weeks or so, depending on the complexity of the build and the number of mistakes I make. This is my hobby, something I love to do - divide that 600 bucks into the number of weeks it takes me to complete the build and you have a fairly reasonably priced passtime. At the end of it, You have a boat - like no other.

I don't give a rats arse if my boats impress the other punters on the water or not. They impress me.

The fact that a few of them drool over my boats at the put ins is a big ego boost and I have to admit to likeing that. :D but it is not why I build my own.

There are some very good boat builders here. Each time, someone posts a build that is remarkable in the workmanship and skill of the builder, It inspires me to try that much harder on my next build. I look at the boats I have built so far and think, "Why didn't I take that much care? etc" As the builders grow and the boats we build continue to improve, the challenges just keep gettin harder. I just love that.


BRING IT ON!!! :D