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Thread: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

  1. #246
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul G. View Post
    Anyone noticed that the "big" threads have dried up over the years, I may be wrong but most of the forum seems to be about ply and epoxy trailerables or small repairs. Are people not coming here or have the restorations dried up? Perhaps its a certain kind of low budget person that hangs around on internet forums but Ive noticed that the boats are getting smaller and there is a lack of traditional work being showcased.

    Interested to hear your comments.

    Another point of view in rereading your original post. My contacts in the Hot Rod world are feeling the SAME trend... but why?

    Well, Baby Boomers were the market. It was a very fat part of the populations proportion. The average age now is getting up to the point that they are perhaps concerned more about healthcare and finishing their years then spending the giant wad on toys?

    This is especially felt here in Sonoma County where hundreds of those "Dream Cars" were lost in the fires. They don't show much any more for service, repair or modification.


    WoodenBoat's "life span" is really rooted in the late 70's and this forum is late 90's. The view of the "Past" is really perhaps only of a bubble?

  2. #247
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    I was watching the construction of what were essentially very long dories in Thailand on YouTube the other night. The people building these boats had very few fine wood working skills. The gaps between planks were very irregular, and as big in some areas as wide as your finger is thick. I was thinking.. "wow, they aren't doing any better than I did when I was 12 building my own canoe out of crate lumber". They filled the gaps with tar and something fibrous. Extremely sloppy wood working. Yet, these boat are used continuously for fishing and transportation in open waters.
    The boatwrights in Thailand are commercial boatwrights making commercial boats for a living. They may, or may not, have fine woodworking skills but they clearly don't have customers who care enough to pay for the results of them. The boatwrights I saw working in Kerala were skilled with their rudimentary tools, and did good work. But when your customer is using a hand propelled woodenboat to haul sand they can't spend much on the boat itself. A totally different mindset than selling things to rich leisure consumers.

    Rich leisure customers are as much buying the process as the product. They want to know how meticulously the unseeable details were done. They need to see websites dripping with pictures of craftsmanship and hand tools, even if people actually are using a CNC to make it. They need absurd levels of skill for things that don't really matter. They'd turn away a Guarnieri del Gesu violin because he didn't clear the toothing plan marks off the inside of his ribs and maybe a scorch mark here and there. So craftsman need to up their game, focus on making sure every bit of bark on every tree in the forest of their product is perfect. A totally different mindset.

  3. #248
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    [QUOTE=BrianM;5451533}Well, Baby Boomers were the market. It was a very fat part of the populations proportion. The average age now is getting up to the point that they are perhaps concerned more about healthcare and finishing their years then spending the giant wad on toys?[/QUOTE]

    That's a very good point, Brian. Not only is the pool of easily restorable boats shrinking, but the pool of likely restorers is shrinking too. Not much nostalgia for wooden boats among the younger generations, just like they don't have much nostalgia for our old cars. Hard to fault them for that, really. As time goes by, each upcoming generation is more removed from the wooden boat golden years.

  4. #249
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Hugh Conway View Post
    The boatwrights in Thailand are commercial boatwrights making commercial boats for a living. They may, or may not, have fine woodworking skills but they clearly don't have customers who care enough to pay for the results of them. The boatwrights I saw working in Kerala were skilled with their rudimentary tools, and did good work. But when your customer is using a hand propelled woodenboat to haul sand they can't spend much on the boat itself. A totally different mindset than selling things to rich leisure consumers.

    Rich leisure customers are as much buying the process as the product. They want to know how meticulously the unseeable details were done. They need to see websites dripping with pictures of craftsmanship and hand tools, even if people actually are using a CNC to make it. They need absurd levels of skill for things that don't really matter. They'd turn away a Guarnieri del Gesu violin because he didn't clear the toothing plan marks off the inside of his ribs and maybe a scorch mark here and there. So craftsman need to up their game, focus on making sure every bit of bark on every tree in the forest of their product is perfect. A totally different mindset.


    I think this thread will stoke a revival in building functional "wooden" rather than "Wooden" boats!


    Thanks to the O.P!

  5. #250
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I realize that many do not consider plywood to be "real wood" but many real boats were built out of it. As maligned as they were, Owens planked their boats in ply. My own GP14, now approaching 54 years old was built of ply. Granted they are not ChrisCraft quality, but many were not even when new.

    What I find funny, my 'Glass SeaSprite 23 is OLDER than my wooden boat

  6. #251
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianM View Post
    I think this thread will stoke a revival in building functional "wooden" rather than "Wooden" boats!


    Thanks to the O.P!
    if by "wooden boats" you mean "smug baristas" it's spawned all manner of stoke sponges.

  7. #252
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Because it's boiled in copper cauldrons!!!

  8. #253
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    A number of people have put forward increased cost of traditional materials as one of the significant contributors to the decline of traditional boat building and restoration. I think there is yet another reason, that hasn’t been mentioned yet. That is, the disposable income of the demographic most likely to undertake such projects has gone down pretty drastically.

    Here in Canada, the results of the 2016 census have been made available recently, and the numbers on prices and income are illuminating. Between 1985 and 2005, inflation pushed the consumer price index up 201%. During that same 30 years, the bottom 50% of income earners saw their income rise by only about 31%. Now the people on the bottom half of the income curve are not likely to be building boats for the most part, traditional or modern, they are just trying to scrape by. At the top half, the 90th percentile and above, their income only increased by 37%, which is a little surprising, but these folks likely have enough money to pay someone else to build or work on boats for them, if they are interested.

    Where it really hits home though, is in the cohort above the 50th percentile and below the 90th, whose income only increased by about 19% over the past 30 years. This “middle 40%” is the group that I would think would be most likely to take on a boat-building project – they make enough to have a little extra to put into a project but not so much that they can afford to pay someone else. Put that together with the change in age demographics that someone mentioned, i.e. more of us baby-boomers not interested in spending the time or not having the energy, and I think it is a significant factor.

    Don;t know whether these same would hold for other countries, but I suspect they do, at least in USA, UK, Aus, NZ, and maybe much of the rest of the EU.
    Alex

    "A man who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned, for he will be going out on a day he shouldn't. We do be afraid of the sea, and we only be drowned now and again" Aran Islands Fisherman

  9. #254
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Alex, I think the income shift is even more dramatic in the U.S. Those who want to get out on the water are buying cheap kayaks by the truckload, in large part I think because that's all they can afford. As we've seen reported elsewhere on this forum, sometimes bigger boats can't even be given away. There was canoe craze in the U.S. among the working and middle class folk about 120 years ago. I wonder if that can be compared to the current fascination with the kayak.
    -Dave

  10. #255
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Interesting numbers Alex. There is also the fact that very few of us like to invest in depreciating assets. I'm on my third sailboat project, and hopefully the last....
    Mark

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