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BrianY
01-10-2012, 01:04 PM
I recall that there was an article a long while back (by Maynard Bray?) about coming up with a materials order list for a build, but that article focused on a traditionally built carvel planked boat. How about an article on the same theme focusing on a 12 - 18 foot plywood on frame boat like a sail/row skiff or outboard skiff, or a simlar glued lap ply boat - the kind of boats that most amateur boat builders woudl take on as first or second project?

In my case, I ran into this dilemma when I was contemplating building Doug Hyland's Chesapeak Skiff - a nice boat with excellent plans but no materials list.

JoshuaIII
01-10-2012, 02:23 PM
Yeah you see Brian this is where article begin to be a problem. Being not at my first boat and loving traditional build boat, I have enough to see article about stitch and glued everywhere with plywood and lot's of epoxy. All the wooden boat magazine from England to US have almost only those for article...

If there is more glue then wood, it's a glue boat not a wooden one ;)

BrianY
01-10-2012, 03:08 PM
Joshua -

I understand your point. The challenge for the magazine is how to appeal to all levels of wooden boat fans and I think they do a darned good job of it.

What I am asking for is not another "How to Build" article - although I certianly do want more of them! What I'm thinking about is a "now that you've decided which boat you're going to build and you have the plans in your hands, how do you figure out how much plywood and other materials to purchase if the designer does not supply that information?" For sure, this sort of thing won't appeal to traditional buildiers or more experienced buidlers, but for a lot of folks - especially those who are starting out on their frist or second projects - this is a practical, real-world problem and I don't recall ever seeing something like that amid the numerous "how to" articles on S&G and other modern building techniques.

JoshuaIII
01-10-2012, 04:15 PM
Hi Brian,
well that's maybe my lack of knowledge of this technique, but I always thought and seen the list of material needed for plywood boat. A few mathematic formula can be nice to see then...

Bob Cleek
01-10-2012, 08:44 PM
Well, I think the suggestion for this article illustrates one of the things that has frustrated a lot of readers of late, the "dumbing down" of WB magazine. It's the magazine for wooden boat owners, builders and designers, or something like that. It's not a magazine for people who have no clue what they are doing. I don't want to hurt feelings, but if one cannot figure out how to work up a schedule of materials for what is essentially a plywood box, they have some catching up to do on the boatbuilding learning curve. If you want a "kit boat," one would do better to buy plans from Glen L. It's "WoodenBoat Magazine," not "BoatWithWoodInIt Magazine."

BrianY
01-10-2012, 08:58 PM
So Bob, can I assume that you regard the entire Getting Started In Wooden Boats series to be unworthy of the magazine?

If WoodenBoat is not the proper venue to include some artcles that are intended to educate beginners/novices in building wooden boats, where else is this education supposed to come from? Yes everyone interested in the subject should read the usual texts (Gardner, Chappell, etc.) but is there no value in WB including articles at this level that expand on and enhance those resources? If WB takes no interest in serving novice builders, there will be far fewer advanced builders in the future. All of you old coots who have done it all and seen it all after having learned the trade at the knees of ye olde master builders of yore will be dead someday and if someone or something like WB Magazine doesn't try to cultivate and educate novice dolts like me, there 's not going to be much of a future for amateur wooden boat building.

JoshuaIII
01-10-2012, 09:15 PM
Brian,
I do agree with Bob but more diplomatically....

There is countless books about building boats for beginner to catch up and educate... But there is not a lot of magazine of nice build for builders of wood boats. So yes for me a articles on stitch and glue for beginner is a bit of wasted pages as there is plenty of books about it and countless info about it. A beginner that want to learn will buy a book, not hope to get it all in a magazine...

A nice article talking more technical and deeper into boat building replaced by one scratching the surface for the starter is a bit frustrating..

Bob Cleek
01-10-2012, 09:23 PM
So Bob, can I assume that you regard the entire Getting Started In Wooden Boats series to be unworthy of the magazine?

If WoodenBoat is not the proper venue to include some artcles that are intended to educate beginners/novices in building wooden boats, where else is this education supposed to come from? Yes everyone interested in the subject should read the usual texts (Gardner, Chappell, etc.) but is there no value in WB including articles at this level that expand on and enhance those resources? If WB takes no interest in serving novice builders, there will be far fewer advanced builders in the future. All of you old coots who have done it all and seen it all after having learned the trade at the knees of ye olde master builders of yore will be dead someday and if someone or something like WB Magazine doesn't try to cultivate and educate novice dolts like me, there 's not going to be much of a future for amateur wooden boat building.

You sell yourself short, Brian! I am sure anybody can build a traditional wooden boat if they are willing to invest the time to do it correctly rather than quick and dirty. There's entirely too much immediate gratification in our world as it is. If you want to educate yourself, buy the best wooden boat you can afford, even if it is a little sailing pram. Your boat will educate you... or sink. Own a wooden boat and you must learn to work on it. If you want to learn about wooden boats, don't do it on book learning alone. Start where the rubber meets the road, or, should I say, where the wood meets the water. Hang out in the boatyards and watch and learn. Plans for building simple small boats are everywhere. Even the internet is full of them. As Pete Culler once famously said, "Experience starts when you begin." The higher up the experience food chain you begin, the better your experience will be. I suppose "getting started in boats" may have sold some magazines, but in my opinion, it didn't belong in WB. It was a waste of column inches to what I would imagine is the general readership. "How to Build a Simple Boat" publications are a dime a dozen, and books about basic seamanship more so. That series added nothing to the collective knowledge about wooden boats... nothing at all. It was nothing but a rehash of stuff you could find anywhere in basic books. It belonged in a separate publication, which obviously it will become in reprint form. There it would serve its purpose well. If somebody wants to build a plywood boat with epoxy and wire, more power to them, but when they are done, they will know little more about how to use wood to build a good boat than when they started. What's the point in that, besides having the boat to show for their efforts... which isn't all that bad, but still... what exactly did they learn?

outofthenorm
01-11-2012, 08:33 AM
I suppose "getting started in boats" may have sold some magazines, but in my opinion, it didn't belong in WB. It was a waste of column inches to what I would imagine is the general readership. "How to Build a Simple Boat" publications are a dime a dozen, and books about basic seamanship more so. That series added nothing to the collective knowledge about wooden boats... nothing at all. It was nothing but a rehash of stuff you could find anywhere in basic books. It belonged in a separate publication, which obviously it will become in reprint form.

This is a point I support. I've been reading WB every 2 months since issue #7 and what I always appreciated was the complexity of the articles, not their simplicity.

On the point of getting out a materials list, that article exists and it's a good one. It is the introduction to one of the WB plans books. I don't have them here with me, but I think it's in Thirty Wooden Boats.

- Norm

Tom Jackson
01-11-2012, 09:03 AM
I think the general idea of the "Getting Started" section was that it would give subscribers a way to pass along their passion. It was meant to be easily clipped out, and, say, passed along to a grandchild. It is true that we worry about where the next generation of wooden boatbuilders is going to come from, and Getting Started, and also the Apprentice's Workbench, were meant to work in that direction.

One time in a meeting with WoodenBoat School alumni, we got into a discussion about this subject. It seems to me that any young person interested in boatbuilding today has a great many more avenues open that I can recall from my youth. There was one: Apprenticeshop in Maine, which from the Canadian Rockies may as well have been on the moon. Boatbuilding programs have proliferated. But when I asked the alumni how many had been building boats when they were in the 20s, I think one put up his hand. 30s? maybe 2. 40s? About half of them. 50s? All of them. So I think that actually building boats is something people pick up—or maybe come back to—after they've got their careers and family lives put together. For my part, I got interested in boats when I was very young, but I was a lot older by the time I had tools, time, space, and money to go after it.

It has seemed to me for a long time that the web offers a lot of opportunity for appealing to the novice. One example might be an on-line glossary, maybe wikipedia style, that would help define terminology for newcomers without "dumbing down" the magazine.

Can anyone think of other ideas that might help in that direction?

Ian McColgin
01-11-2012, 09:46 AM
Besides materials, articles that show how to anticipate the other resourses needed - how many clamps and what sorts of saws and how many feet of shop space - would help.

As would more stories comparing the plusses and minuses of some alternative methods to common problems. For example, scarfing plywood panels. A clear appraisal of methods ranging from the stack'em-rack'em-hand plane them method that suits a one-off builder with a limited set of machine tools to the interesting jigs that work with various skill or radial arm or even table saws or with routers or planer-shapers would really help people realize that sometimes the work of setting up a labor-saving device is not worth it compared with just employing a sharp blade and a bit of norweegen steam. And sometimes it is. How to tell when investing in the more expensive sander makes sense?

outofthenorm
01-11-2012, 11:04 AM
It has seemed to me for a long time that the web offers a lot of opportunity for appealing to the novice. One example might be an on-line glossary, maybe wikipedia style, that would help define terminology for newcomers without "dumbing down" the magazine.

Can anyone think of other ideas that might help in that direction?

Tom, I think the web is the PERFECT place for that sort of material. Space is unlimited, access is easy, and newbies will all be completely computer literate.

Bob Cleek
01-11-2012, 02:22 PM
Tom, I think the web is the PERFECT place for that sort of material. Space is unlimited, access is easy, and newbies will all be completely computer literate.

I agree completely... and that information is already there. The sea has a language of its own. You won't get far if you don't speak the language. Pandering to folks who complain that they don't know the names of the the parts of a boat and the like detracts from the learning experience of those who have already learned that language. This is the same thing that is wrong with our educational system in America: teaching to the dumbest kid in the class. We all know the best way to learn a language is by "total immersion" in a culture that speaks that language. If people read material "above their level of experience," they learn. If they read what they already know, they don't.

BrianY
01-11-2012, 02:33 PM
On the point of getting out a materials list, that article exists and it's a good one. It is the introduction to one of the WB plans books. I don't have them here with me, but I think it's in Thirty Wooden Boats.

- Norm

Yes I know. I've read the article and it is a good one...except for the fact that the subject boat is, I believe, the Sally Rover, a carvel-planked traditional craft and the discussion is all about the materials appropriate for that sort of a boat. It got me thinking that a similar article dealing with glued lap ply or ply on frame boats might be useful. Basically, I'd find it really helpful to be able to take a plan for a fairly complex plywood boat (no, not a simple "plywood box" but a real boat) and be able to come up with reasonable estimates for the number of sheets of plywood, bits of solid lumber and gallons of expoy I might need. I also thought that I can't be alone in this. I've read and re-read all of the John Gardner books, Dynamite Payson's book on instant boats, the Sucher book on flat boomed boats, and another dozen or so books on boat building. I have devoured Jim Michalak's website and a hundred other websites and how-to articles on all sorts of boaty subject including building with plywood and epoxy as well as all varieties of traditional methods. I've been a subscriber to WB since 1988 and been on this forum for a long time. In all of this, I have NEVER come across any guide to estimating building materials except the aforementioned article. One may exist, but I haven't found it.

I guess, however, that judging from the responses here, if I was at all reasonbly intelligent I'd be able to figure it out on my own. If not, I should just give up and find another simple beginners plan that comes with a materials list. Barring that, I should hang out in a local boat yard and somehow gain this knowledge through osmosis. I'd love to do that but the fact that there is no "local boat yard" in my part of the world and the reality of having to work for a living make that option a bit impractical. In any case, even though a traditionally buiilt boat is entirely unsuited to my circumstances and the boat I want to build is perfectly suited and is pleasing to me aesthetically, I guess I should build something else in traditional carvel or lapstrake because, after all, those are REAL boats, and unlike with plywood and expoy boats, I will actually learn something useful in the process of building a traditionally built boat.

Apprently it's totally unreasonable to think that WoodenBoat magazine should publish anything so elementary in its hallowed pages and thereby insult the real boatbuilders out there for whom this sort of stuff is beneath consideration. Perhaps WB can start another magazine aimed at us lesser creatures - call it "Boat building for the Unwashed Inexperienced and Unskilled" or some such appropriate title. WB should also print inside the front cover of every issue a test for prospective readers to take to see if they have reached a sufficent level of boat-y knowledge and sophistication before they are permitted to read the contents. I leave it to WB and the more advanced readers to determine the materials on the test, but I assume that any interest in S&G or other plywood craft or construction methods would be an automatic disqualifier since they are not "real' boats.

Message received. WB is too advanced for the likes of me. I promise I wont sully the magazine or its lofty readers by pawing through future issues with my ignorant, epoxy-stained fingers looking for articles that are applicable to my low level of experience and obvious lack of sophistication.

Tom Jackson
01-11-2012, 04:13 PM
Let's cool it down. I jumped in when the thread went to a broader question, and I think the web ideas are things I can advocate here at WB.

Maybe from this point it would be best to return to your original suggestion. It might be a worthy one for "Getting Started," and I'll see what I can do on that score.

Many designers, especially those working with home-builders, do provide materials lists. For those that don't, close study of the plans should answer your questions. For each person, the solution might be different, and I don't believe there is any how-to solution that would fit every case. If you look at the Chesapeake skiff you mention, if you pay for the plans I'm sure an e-mail to Hylan would bring a pretty quick response with information, if you're stuck.

For plans, like many from Chapelle, that have no modern contact, and frequently lack detail, you may have to work it out for yourself. A lot depends on how you build the boat. If you're stuck, consider building a scale model (even a crude one) to show you what problems you're likely to encounter, and to work up an efficient use of materials. It varies an awful lot from boat to boat.

Gerarddm
01-11-2012, 07:39 PM
Building an accurate scale model is a great idea.

rbgarr
01-12-2012, 08:44 AM
For what it's worth, the range of topics covered by 'Getting Started in Boats" is quite broad. Search 'getting started in boats' here: http://www.woodenboat.com/cgi-bin/wbindex/search.cgi

Sections on compiling materials lists, how to estimate costs, tools and space needed (or desirable) would certainly be nice additions, Tom.

I like the feature in the mag and have cut each out and clipped them into a ring binder. It's useful to have it all in one place, and interesting for guests and newbies when they ask questions during visits and want to learn more on their own while here. They can ask for clarifications over the dinner table or whenever and it's fun for me too.

And almost invariably the questions trend toward "How much does it cost to build an XXX boat? How long does it take?"

Tom Jackson
01-12-2012, 08:59 AM
I like the feature in the mag and have cut each out and clipped them into a ring binder. It's useful to have it all in one place, and interesting for guests and newbies when they ask questions during visits and want to learn more on their own while here. They can ask for clarifications over the dinner table or whenever and it's fun for me too.

That's a great use of the section rbgarr! Nicely done.

I've logged the materials list idea as a proposal and dropped it in the hopper.

JonWilson
01-12-2012, 12:55 PM
Creating the kind of robust articles that enable virtually any of us to work up accurate and reliable materials lists for a variety of different boat types is exactly what we should be doing. WB prides itself on navigating the fine course that is neither too advanced nor too retarded for anyone who cares about wood and boats.

Ben Fuller
01-13-2012, 08:14 AM
I used to have this discussion with John Gardner. Unless you do it everyday or have good guidance it is really hard to figure out how many board feet of cedar you need for that peapod. How many fastenings you need. How much oak. Lots of material on what you do after you have it. Even tools: WP Stephens in his Canoe and Boatbuilding for Amateurs provided a must have and nice to have tool list.

For modern glued designs you need to replicate the designers plywood layout; you need to have built one before you can estimate the glue or other materials needed. This is where the kit makers have lots of experience and many designers working in that area provide this information.

And btw for the one kit boat I built, I did the plywood and materials estimate and found that if I valued my time at anything at all and accounted for the wastage in hand cutting from sheets vs. the efficiency in CandC cutting that the cost of the kit was competitive. I also found that the amount of glue provide was about 2x what you really needed with glue discipline ( I counted every bit I used) and kept accurate track of building time on each phase.

Any How to build article in WB should have materials and tools lists..... and the tools not necessarily those in a fully equipped shop, or state that you can't do it unless you have some of these tools.

mcdenny
01-13-2012, 10:10 AM
I can see how daunting it would be to start building a boat without knowing how much it will cost to finish it or how to buy just the "right" amount of expensive material when the fancy wood lumber yard is several hours or many freight dollars away.

I have a nail on my shop wall where every receipt goes so it is easy,after the fact, to make a cost and materials list. Do you think most builders keep track of this info? If so, for each boat the builder could add a thread in the building category with a title like MATERIALS AND COST 18' GLUED LAP SAIL BOAT ARCTIC TERN. Useful amplification would naturally follow from other builders - one person quotes sails from a particular loft, another cites price (and effort) for a Sailrite kit, etc.

This would be easy to search; provide real data, not estimates, and require no extra work from our kind hosts in Brooklin. It would have a nice benefit for the builders posting their data too: they could see where other people get their boat stuff and how much they pay.

I think seeing an actual material and cost list would be a lot more comforting to a beginner than having a lot of estimating rules to apply. To do an accurate estimate you have to be able to envision building the boat, from start to finish, in your head. I wouldn't mind reading how a skilled pro does it but I don't see how such an article would appreciably help a newbie get started.

When I get home in early March I'll post cost and material threads for my last four boats. Let's just see where it goes.

Bob Cleek
01-13-2012, 04:59 PM
Let's cool it down. I jumped in when the thread went to a broader question, and I think the web ideas are things I can advocate here at WB.

Maybe from this point it would be best to return to your original suggestion. It might be a worthy one for "Getting Started," and I'll see what I can do on that score.

Many designers, especially those working with home-builders, do provide materials lists. For those that don't, close study of the plans should answer your questions. For each person, the solution might be different, and I don't believe there is any how-to solution that would fit every case. If you look at the Chesapeake skiff you mention, if you pay for the plans I'm sure an e-mail to Hylan would bring a pretty quick response with information, if you're stuck.

For plans, like many from Chapelle, that have no modern contact, and frequently lack detail, you may have to work it out for yourself. A lot depends on how you build the boat. If you're stuck, consider building a scale model (even a crude one) to show you what problems you're likely to encounter, and to work up an efficient use of materials. It varies an awful lot from boat to boat.

You know, Tom, an article on estimating materials amounts itself wouldn't be a bad idea at all. There are many "rules of thumb" that the old timer pros used to estimate materials needed and that wisdom and experience would be worth compiling and publishing. So also would articles on how to purchase materials. (It seems few realize, for instance, that the most economical source of flitch cut planking stock is from the sawyer or how to go about finding such "gyppo loggers.) I have a copy of a great WB book, now long out of date, that listed hundreds of boatbuilding wood suppliers in the country, state by state. Maybe an updated edition of that is in order. I still treasure and sometimes refer to my set of the Mariners' Catalog, also now long out of date. While the Mariners' Catalog has in many respects been replaced by Google, I think there is still a need and a market for such a publication. Many of the very small suppliers and craftsmen out there don't have a huge "web presence," nor the resources for a lot of fancy advertising. (E.g. look at how many forum postings there are asking where one can find a small solid fuell stove by folks who've never heard of a Fatsco Tiny Tot!) "Companion publications," much like the ones already out on painting and varnishing and planking and so on, are where the beginning wooden boat owner and builder should be provided the basic craft skills information that the general readership already knows, or perhaps is not interested in acquiring.

That said, I must sincerely caution the editors that to the extent WB becomes "Boatbuilding for Dummies," it's going to lose readers over time. Anyone who is contemplating building even a simple plywood boat and can't figure out how to measure the stock dimensions from the plans, lay them out on the 4' X 8' sheet material footprint and then multiply by how many pieces required, most likely will find completing the boat impossible anyway. Their ignorance will have saved them the expense, frustration and waste of time and effort of a failed project. Boatbuilding is a process of serial problem solving. The more problems that come "pre-solved" in the plans, the harder the problems are when one gets beyond those "pre-solved" problems.

WB already sells great plans for a wide selection of excellent boats of all types. I expect those plans sell well, as they have long been a staple of the WB Store. In this age of digital publishing, it ought to be an easy enough task, and a profitable one, for WB to simply offer plans, or even "pre-lofted" full size drawings, of the small boats featured in the magazine. These could have materials lists down to the last screw, sheet material cut-out patterns, and on and on. In that way, if someone really wants to build the design, but wants more information, they can obtain all the information they want without the general readership having to pay for content of no particular use to them. Such a practice would also "support our local naval architects." This was what Leonardi did with LFH in Rudder with their "How to Build XXX" articles and MoTorBoaTing did with the Atkins' designs. It was often possible for a knowledgable boatwright to build a boat from what was published in those articles, but the designers were available for the details if a set of full sized plans was desired.

I'm sure the editors have their fingers on the pulse of their readership pretty well, but I'd hazard to guess that the steady, subscribing readership of WB is a pretty sophisticated lot that really isn't interested in buying a publication that spends a lot of space on basic entry level information. I completely understand that some novices feel "insulted" or "disrespected" when their inexperience "leaves them out of the conversation," but as with any similar endeavor, experience has to be earned at the expense of hard work and study. There may be "instant boats" but there aren't any "instant boatbuilders" with the breadth of experience that comes from being around the multitude of crafts that are required to build a boat. That challenge of "lifelong learning" is what makes messing around with wooden boats all so interesting.