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Thread: Two bits...

  1. #1
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    Default Two bits...

    I'm a great fan of the mag as it currently exists; I've had a subscription for at least the last ten years and was a regular newsstand purchaser for many more prior to that. The how-to content is always my favorite and is currently well represented. My preferences are distinctly toward the traditional end of the spectrum. Plank on frame is a ten, vacuum bagged cold molders are a two; that kind of thing. Product reviews are also high on my list. And again, trad over mod is my preference. A new brand of caulking irons? Love it. The latest battery operated carbon fiber application device? Pass. I also like articles recounting interesting uses of wooden boats. Trips taken, experiences experienced, adventures had, etc. That's about it. As to the shanty boat article. Loved it. Harry Bryan is right up my alley philosophically and practically. Great piece.
    Chuck Hancock

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Interesting. I don't actually read WB on a monthly/periodic basis, though I occasionally buy a copy from the newstand. (I like what it represents, I guess.) I use WB mainly as a reference tool. When I need a how-to on a various topic, I search the index then go find the magazine with the article I need. I have stacks of old issues, though it would be easier for me to just buy the electronic version of your archives.
    Quote Originally Posted by James McMullen View Post
    Yeadon is right, of course.
    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    I basically copied what McMullen, Yeadon and Hvalsoe use because it worked so well.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    I second what Gold Rock said: I am interested mainly in reproducing the old methods, rather than practicing current methods, which admittedly may be better in some ways. But not in ways I think most wooden boat enthusiasts care too much about. For the modern thinkers, there's an abundance of plastic out there.

    Tom

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Matt, It's pretty hard to appeal to everybody but so far you're doing well. (IMHO) I'd like to see a continuining yarn ( each issue) on small ( 20' or less)boat cruising. Such an article has to be well written, many pix and with all the goofs the best of us commit. Also how those particular cruisers improvised. I recently picked up an out of date issue of Small Craft Advisor # 72 that had detailed accounts of their Texas raid.

    I'd also like to echo about doing things yourself especially home made gadgets and gilhickeys. I think old Yachting magazine had something like that.

    Did you ever consider going monthly ?

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  5. #5

    Default Re: Two bits...

    Indeed, Jack: Its impossible to please everybody. Who would have thought 35 years ago that the binding theme of "wooden boat" would generate such a diverse group. That's our basic strength, and our basic challenge, which is why it's so nice to see so much opinion in one place.

    A little preview of the May issue: It features a piece by a young man who built a 14' Bill Garden-designed pram, and sailed, rowed, and motored it from Sioux City, Iowa, to Florida, across the Okeechobee, and up the East Coast to Freeport, Maine. We're looking for more good adventures in small wooden boats....
    --Matt Murphy

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    I've been a subscriber to Wooden Boat for about 12 years, and I devour every issue as soon as it comes in, including the ads. I usually read it cover to cover before I put it down. I have every issue on shelves in my garage / workshop. I go back and look articles up when I need a tip or info.

    Boating history and articles about designers and builders are especially interesting to me.

    I was new to boating when I started my subscription and my boating education is heavily dependent on the magazine. I confess that I have four boats and only one is wood, but I love wooden boats.

    Keep up the good work. Some day I plan to have my new wherry in Launchings and Relaunchings.

    I do have a quibble tho. IMHO you could / should deep six The Bilge on Wooden Boat Forum. It's not in keeping with the civility and class of Wooden Boat. I'd bet that most of the folks there never read the magazine. I think that many of them are just looking for another place to vent.

    Thanks again,
    The Old fisherman

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Seconded.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Nice new section, should be a wonderful addition to 'the family'. But I have to admit bewilderment at those who, even in the safe confines of this nook of the forum, feel compelled to protest the Bilge. It must really irritate you!
    So here's a suggestion - don't go there! For those folks so inclined, it provides a locale in which to 'vent', discuss anything to their hearts desire, and best of all - it's all down wind from where you reside. Or would you prefer that venting above decks?
    There's a lot of things they didn't tell me when I signed on with this outfit....

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by johngsandusky View Post
    Seconded.
    Thirded. Or barring that, let me propose an alternative: Make it so that when you click the New Posts button, results from the bilge are not included.

    Say what you will about Sailing Anarchy, the one thing they do correctly is corral all the political crap to it's own section and those posts never appear when you hit the "new posts" button. Some political stuff sometimes bleeds into the other sections, but between the moderator and the culture that screams "take it to PA!" if some one posts inappropriate content political arguments stay neatly hidden away behind the curtains. To be fair, SA has it's own share of sh!#fights in the other sections, but they are more frequently than not on boat-related issues like the America's Cup, whether or not some boat or another sucks or not, or whether or not Reid Stowe and those who support him are tools.

    This would greatly improve the S/N ration of the forums, I think.
    Last edited by John Bell; 01-19-2012 at 04:01 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    I don't go there, but the smell permeates the site!

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Just as the bilge functions on a boat it could be good that it's there, otherwise that unpleasant bilge water would be getting all over the cabin sole.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    My take...
    I like the historical content - about the boats, the people who designed/made them, the people that used them. Work boats or yachts or well crafted small boats. Doesn't matter as long as it presents quality.

    I also love to read about present day, solid craftsmanship. For example - there was a long article about making the special joints used in a hatch coaming in an issue a while ago... I'll never make one, but having it explained and seeing the progress step by step.... fascinating stuff. Can be about whole boats of course, but not necessarily. Boat bits, blocks, making rope, rigging.... whatever. Anything boat as long as it is quality craftsmanship.

    Sailing, trimming aspects of different rig types.... good stuff.
    Epic journey - large or small - and tour experiences. Good stuff.

    What really strains my interest is when do-it-yourself moves from quality craftsmanship to 'make something that floats pretty good, costs little and gets you on the water by Tuesday'. I always get a kind of 'how to make a boat out of a cardboard box' feeling from that content.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Two bits...

    from John Bell:
    Make it so that when you click the New Posts button, results from the bilge are not included.


    Done.
    -Scot

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Thanks, Scot -- WAY better. The Bilge is there for all who want it, but not in the way of those who are searching for the more wooden boat focused content when checking What's New?

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Most excellent!
    "The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails."
    -William A. Ward



  16. #16
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by JonWilson View Post
    Thanks, Scot -- WAY better. The Bilge is there for all who want it, but not in the way of those who are searching for the more wooden boat focused content when checking What's New?
    I can see that & I can see why it might be in the best interests of WB.

    Any chance of a Bilge button? Even one that carries a caveat of some sort?

    Thanks for providing the forum!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by JonWilson View Post
    Thanks, Scot -- WAY better. The Bilge is there for all who want it, but not in the way of those who are searching for the more wooden boat focused content when checking What's New?

    Excellent!

    I remember when the bilge was created, it was because people wanted to keep the boaty stuff separate from the other stuff. It started off as Misc. Non-boat related and morphed into the bilge at some point. Now it's taken over a lot of the bandwidth on the forum. Hopefully this change will start to help the other sections get more message traffic and better support the mission of WoodenBoat Publications.
    Last edited by John Bell; 01-26-2012 at 07:43 PM.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Content . I've been reading WB since number 30 and still have all my issues although I admit to not buying as many these days but I feel I've paid my dues. I'm waiting for another Bud McIntosh but I feel I may have to wait a long time.

    A few possible topics for articles .... technical articles but that is my interest.

    Basic pattermaking ...there always seem to be questions in Building about how to make patterns for replacement hardware. Winch handles for obsolete winches ?

    Metal treatments . How to harden steels etc .You may well have done this and I missed it .

    Bronzes . What they are ...discussions of the qualities and uses of various alloys.

    How to substitute local timbers for the ones specified by your US naval architect ! That could be fun !!
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Thank you!! much better

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterSibley View Post
    ...How to substitute local timbers for the ones specified by your US naval architect ! That could be fun !!
    That's an article I'd love to read, too! You might need to find a 'local' to write it, though. Not a lot of expertise in Oz woods in my end of the planet...

    Tom

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    Default Re: Two bits...

    We've been substituting Oregon pine for Douglas fir in our exports for some time now! Hemlock is next. / Jim

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    It would need more expertise than I have !

    Ed Burnett would be a good person to have offer input. The numbers are easy enough but it's the relative strengths and the required dimensions to compensate that provides the puzzle. Essentially timber engineering, but I wasn't just talking about Australian timbers but some parameters for examining your local timbers no matter where you live.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Scot-

    Thanks. Much better now.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by fishrswim View Post
    I do have a quibble tho. IMHO you could / should deep six The Bilge on Wooden Boat Forum. It's not in keeping with the civility and class of Wooden Boat. I'd bet that most of the folks there never read the magazine. I think that many of them are just looking for another place to vent.

    Thanks again,
    The Old fisherman
    It twas I who suggested the old "miscellaneous" section be renamed "the bilge." Back in the day, expecially when the weather was bad, the bilges served as a warmer, drier, alternative to the heads. One can only imagine what the bilges must have been like in a Napoleonic Era man of war! When the forum was young, much of what you see in the bilge today was posted in other sections, and in "miscellaneous." The purpose of the bilge is to keep the crap where it belongs. "The Bilge" is not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach. If you find it offensive, or boring, I wouldn't recommend hanging out there as a steady diet. Better to stay topside where the air is fresh!

    As to content, I am definitely in agreement with the previous posts. "How to make a boat out of a cardboard box by next Tuesday" says it all. I think the readership is much more sophisticated than to be much interested in plywood quick-n-dirty boats. Traditional craftsmanship is really the core of the thing. That's the difference between a Wooden Boat and a "boat with some wood in it." There is a wealth of information published and readily available on DIY plywood boatbuilding. I really think WB shouldn't lower itself to the level of "Popular Mechanics" boatbuilding articles. After all, you never would see that sort of thing in The Rudder, would you? Articles about boats intended to be build by house carpenters should be published in house carpentry magazines.

    And also, while I'm on a tear here, please, please, don't waste precious space on "cruising" articles. Frankly, there is nothing quite so boring in all of maritime literature as somebody's cruising yarn. It's like being invited to somebody's house and being expected to watch their latest vacation home movies, which, thankfully, is a practice that has gone out of vogue. There are but a handful of classic cruising books, most published long, long, ago. (Slocum's "Sailing Alone Around the World, Warwick Tomkins' "50 South," the Hiscocks' stuff, the Pardeys' "Cruising in Serafyn," Hayden's "Wanderer" being among them.) These, however, are much, much more than simply travelogues, offering generally good technical information, a unique historical perspective, excellent literature, or a combination of these. The same goes for "how to sail" articles. It seems the red flag signifying the impending demise of any sailing publication is when it publishes its first article on "How to Anchor." Don't go there!

    Now, for some postive suggestions, it would be interesting to read some authoratative information on a pressing problem of great currency: With what are we going to replace tried and true products which are now being increasingly outlawed? ("When red lead is outlawed, only outlaws will have wooden boats!") More and more all of us are experiencing the shock of going into the paint store and discovering they can't sell us what we've been using to keep our boats alive for years and years. Just what are the "legal" substitutes and how well do they really work? Or, better yet, where can we still get the "illegal" stuff. As it stands now, if the EPA knew what left over stuff lives in my paint locker, I'd be doing "life without!"
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 02-04-2012 at 12:58 AM.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by MPM View Post
    We're looking for more good adventures in small wooden boats....
    --Matt Murphy
    Find out whatever became of AJ MacKinnon's boat, Jack De Crow. I wonder if she's still sailing on the Black Sea? (And she's plywood! )

    Did anybody get pictures of her along the route she took. (She sailed through Serbia just days before Nato started bombing the B'Geezuz out of it).

    And bully for you, Bob, for having such strong and fixed opinions!
    Jarndyce and Jarndyce

    The Mighty Pippin
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  26. #26
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    I think the readership is much more sophisticated than to be much interested in plywood quick-n-dirty boats. Traditional craftsmanship is really the core of the thing. That's the difference between a Wooden Boat and a "boat with some wood in it."
    Mr. Cleek is a gentleman and a scholar, and has been here even longer than I have, but I must disagree with him strongly on this point. Most of WBs readership may be more sophisticated, but not all, and the ones that aren't are often the ones just getting interested in wooden boats. If we are to keep wooden boats alive, we have to attract new people, and many of them don't know a caulking iron from a turkey baster.

    Consider my own case: I didn't grow up around boats; I learned to sail a sunfish on a lake in northern Minnesota at the advanced age of 32 (it doesn't seem so advanced now, but never mind). When I came home I decided I wanted to build a boat. I'd never done this kind of work before, and I knew nothing about it, although I was tolerably handy. I started reading Wooden Boat and getting books out of the library, and over the next six moths built a Bolger Gypsy straight out of Dynamite Payson's Build the New Instant Boats - with ABX fir plywood and polyester resin, no less. That boat has now been sailing for 23 years with various owners.

    I've since built five other boats. Never traditional construction; that's utterly inappropriate for the kind of use my boats get (mostly smallish freshwater sailboats that live on a trailer). Not everyone has a boat that stays in a a salt-water slip. Bob has obviously never tried to keep a traditionally-built boat from leaking profusely when it lives on a trailer, gets bumped around on the highway, and dries out in the Midwest summer winds. I have. I found out quickly enough that there are more pleasant ways to build than with construction plywood and polyester resin, and the last couple of projects were epoxy-glued lapstrake of first-class plywood. Wooden Boat magazine has been helpful all along.

    While I sympathize with the temptation to preserve the purity of the craft - and don't misunderstand me, old skills and techniques are certainly worth preserving - the way to do this is NOT to denigrate or ignore modern methods of construction, even ones that involve ACX fir and lots of nasty-smelling goop. Stitch-and-glue is a good introduction, and fine for many purposes. Some of those who start there will move on to more sophisticated methods, and may even discover the joys of handplanes, clear cedar, steam-bent oak and copper rivets.

    My advice: Don't be snobs. Ignore those who suggest it.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 02-04-2012 at 09:51 AM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by Keith Wilson View Post
    Mr. Cleek is a gentleman and a scholar, and has been here even longer than I have, but I must disagree with him strongly on this point. Most of WBs readership may be more sophisticated, but not all, and the ones that aren't are often the ones just getting interested in wooden boats. If we are to keep wooden boats alive, we have to attract new people, and many of them don't know a caulking iron from a turkey baster . . . .

    . . . . While I sympathize with the temptation to preserve the purity of the craft - and don't misunderstand me, old skills and techniques are certainly worth preserving - the way to do this is NOT to denigrate or ignore modern methods of construction, even ones that involve ACX fir and lots of nasty-smelling goop. Stitch-and-glue is a good introduction, and fine for many purposes. Some of those who start there will move on to more sophisticated methods, and may even discover the joys of handplanes, clear cedar, steam-bent oak and copper rivets.

    My advice: Don't be snobs. Ignore those who suggest it.
    I was trying to figure out how to best put it, you did it for me. +1 and well done.

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    ^ +1

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    +3 !!

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    But Keith, that's exactly my point. I was addressing the magazine's content and our need to preserve the crafts of a traditional trade. You built your first boat from Payson's book, a fine work and readily available, not from WB. As I said, there are many great sources of how-to-do-it information by good authors readily available to people starting out in the game and I heartily endorse it. (My own first "big" boat was a homebuilt plywood ketch.) Maybe what is really needed are different magazines. Maybe WoodenBoat has bitten off more than it can chew. Maybe we need a "Fine Boatbuilding" magazine like "Fine Woodworking" and a "Home Boatbuilding" magazine for those who do their sailing on "amber waves of grain."

    I'm 62. All my "hands on" mentors are gone now. The master boatbuilders whose shoulders I looked over when I was in my twenties were in their forties, fifties and sixties then. These "90 day wonders" bumming around the yards looking for work and waiving certificates from the few "wooden boatbuilding schools" that exist can't hold a candle to the oldtimers who served formal years-long apprenticships in the old days. Greer and Smalser are about the only connection to that era we have here in the forum and they're older than dirt. There's a wealth of "tricks of the trade" that are becoming lost to us on a daily basis as the last generation of traditional boatbuilders dies off. I've built and owned plywood boats and mixed my share of googe. I can't think of much that applies to traditional boatbuilding that doesn't translate over to modern methods, really. I think boatbuilding is like music, you'll do better if you master the basics before you try to play jazz.

    WB is positioned to preserve this irreplacerable knowledge and in many respects, it does. My point is that their publishing information that is already readily available, such as cruising yarns, basic seamanship and plywood and epoxy boatbuilding technology, wastes precious column inches that could be devoted to saving a vanishing (and to some, fascinating) store of knowledge created over centuries of hard work and skinned knuckles.

    I've seen many fine boats built of non-traditional materials and techniques, but I don't think much is added to our store of boatbuilding knowledge by those who promote wooden boatbuilding materials and techniques designed primarily for people who are lured by the promise of instant gratification. It may certainly be said that "paint by numbers kits" gave (or give... do they still make them, or have video games rendered them extinct?) millions of people an introduction to fine art and the satisfaction of creating a "real oil painting," but did they add anything to fine art? I submit, so also is it with "instant boats." Like "paint by numbers," there's a place for "instant boats," but I do think it cheapens a publication that aspires to something better when it "teaches to the dumbest kid in the class" and follows an editorial policy of "No boat left behind."

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    At least in the northeast - there are boatbuilders who are not "90 day wonders" - but folks in their 50's & 60's who've been doing it for a long time now & have (as is the normal course of life) taken over the mantle of the people you are talking about.

    This is the first president who's younger than I am too......

    Finally - I'd rather see the magazine as inclusive than exclusive.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Quote Originally Posted by Garret View Post
    At least in the northeast - there are boatbuilders who are not "90 day wonders" - but folks in their 50's & 60's who've been doing it for a long time now & have (as is the normal course of life) taken over the mantle of the people you are talking about.

    This is the first president who's younger than I am too......

    Finally - I'd rather see the magazine as inclusive than exclusive.
    God love 'em, but Maine doesn't count! LOL 250 years ago, if "inclusiveness" were the "politically correct" thing it seems to be with so many now, we'd all still be living in New England, waiting for the "slow ones" to catch up before moving westward. It's a noble endeavor to lend a hand to the laggers, but really, do we always have to cater to the lowest common denominator? I guess, when you are selling magazines, their money is as green as everybody else's and the publishers have to watch their bottom line. I can't blame them, I suppose.

    Consider, for a moment though, how much we see written, not just in WB, about lofting that assumes the reader has no understanding whatsoever of basic high school geometry. Or how many pages have been printed picturing the rings of a tree and the way the grain turns out when a log is sawn. Or the ink that's been spilled writing about sharpening tools, written with the assumption (perhaps sadly accurate) that American boys no long learn how to sharpen a pocket knive by the time they are eight. I guess we deserve to be a nation in which the average person no longer even knows how to hold a hammer. (By the end of the handle, not the neck, BTW.) What need is there for such knowledge when anything we want can be made by children chained to workbenches in China and bought with borrowed money?
    Last edited by Bob Cleek; 02-04-2012 at 02:59 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    Maine doesn't count? When the magazine's headquarters are there? I'm confused.

    As far as the average guy's training goes - there are many bright people out there trained in other areas. Additionally, if you grow up in the city & aren't ever allowed to carry a knife (especially to school) - what's the point in knowing how to sharpen it?

    You hold the hammer on the comfortably shaped metal end right? Put the claw in your "claw"?

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    No, Bob, we have a deeper disagreement that you may think. I think techniques using effective glue - which is the major difference in technology from the old days - add to wooden boatbuilding rather than being something inferior for beginners, the incompetent, the hurried, or or the lazy. I think a well-built glued-ply lapstrake boat is functionally and aesthetically superior in many respects to traditional construction. I think a good cold-molded cruising boat is in every respect at least the equal of a traditionally built type. I have no patience at all with traditionalist snobbery, which is what I think you're demonstrating. Look at your language: "paint-by-numbers", "instant gratification", "the dumbest kids in the class". While traditional knowledge is certainly worth preserving and disseminating, so is developing new building techniques as we learn more about chemistry and engineering. The smartest kids in the class are not learning only the way it was done in 1900, they're figuring out new ways to do things using the resources and the knowledge we have now, and Wooden Boat should be a part of that. The magazine should not be "Nineteenth Century Boatbuilding", arbitrarily limited to the techniques used before good waterproof adhesives, when good-quality solid lumber was plentiful and cheap. We're much the same age; beware the Good Old Days syndrome.
    Last edited by Keith Wilson; 02-04-2012 at 03:22 PM.
    "For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations,
    for nature cannot be fooled."

    Richard Feynman

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Two bits...

    I too agree with Keith and actually like "instant boats". It's OK for Bob to extol the vertue of traditional builds, but allow us our views too.

    Oh yes, and many thanks to Scot for exempting the bilge from the new posts button, a modification I've been suggesting for years and now a dream come true

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