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Thread: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

  1. #141
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Wright View Post
    I don't want to sound argumentative or unpleasant, so with respect, why suggest that the obvious progression flows from ply and epoxy to what, the more traditional?

    Reflect on it a bit. I would argue that many of us have owned carvel planked boats and maintained them in our youth, and for many of us the rational progression is to strip planking, or cold molded, with epoxy glues and coatings, and with care, even plywood.
    Dave,

    I agree that there is an unquestioned "obvious progression" because the base assumptions aren't stated.. (but the world changed.. or we aren't all living in Maine/Seattle....)

    Many of us live in highly populated areas, so access to water/free mooring/storage is no longer "Free". Haul-outs at approved and $$$ yards are the only choices as careening to do bottom paint is a magnet for nosy kayaking/jogging "concerned citizens"....

    One can scream and yell and rail about the injustice associated with that, but it remains fact and isn't going to get better.. so we just have to adjust.....


    - I don't think anyone is going to argue that the woodworking skill level needed to build a fine boat in the Carvel or Clinker tradition requires many years of trial and error. Certainly you have to start somewhere and "progress" to the fine skills (planing a "Gain" to meet a stem flush for instance...).. that's just the way people learn and I think that is the basis of the 'flow' argument.

    - Nor that bending sheet goods over frames, or stitching together is much more approachable by unskilled beginners, and that mummifying everything in epoxy slows down the rot spores and allows the usage of home-construction grade materials. (Personally, I call these "Composite Boats" because glues & resins are significant structural members that in their absence, make the construction impossible)


    Marinas are not for me anymore, and likely, not for MOST of the people in boating because of financial restraints... so we have few choices....

    Trailer-ed boat have to endure radical heat/humidity cycling. Carvel-Planked boats can't satisfy that requirement (Ashcroft Can.. but I'm calling those boats "Composite") Some Clinker boats CAN endure the heat/humidity cycles (see lifeboats), so there is still "hope" for tradition to meet modern lifestyle limitations.

  2. #142
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Brian, How does your dory sail?
    Jay

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    Brian, How does your dory sail?
    Jay

    Hi Jay,

    I did much experimentation to get the boat to track straight. The boat was very adept at rounding up when heeling... and with an unburdened Banks Dory.. heeling isn't a choice unless you have the bigger fraction of a ton of ballast in the bilges (which dramatically increases her immersed beam).

    This was from John Gardner's book, and was his '12 Banks Dory (16' overall).

    I had made a 1/2" steel plate centerboard that I modified to a foil-like shape to help with lift by adding a tapered trailing edge and ground the leading edge "round". Having all the weight down low was great (about 50 lbs), but the unless I sat in the bilges dead a mid-ships, my 240 lbs had MUCH influence on the boats angle to the water. (Again, an unburdened Banks Dory is happiest heeled rather than flat)

    I added a full length external "keel" from a nice chunk of Oak I found (about 1 1/2" wide by 2" deep). This helped on the directional stability to help her track straight, but killed a great deal of speed... I can imagine the collision of water flow under and around the hull of all these flat-adjacent-to-curved edges that wreaked havoc. I probably should have only added a skeg. (She also became a huge Bear to row which killed much of the point of a dory.... )

    I sold her back in 2002 when I bought my Bill Garden cutter.

    I'd like a sailing dory again, but this time, I'd build one meant for the purpose, and now I appreciate the subtle differences between the Banks dory hull shape and that of an Alpha, or Swampscott.

    Banks Dorys... Simple to build, difficult to sail well.
    Last edited by BrianM; 04-06-2017 at 04:16 PM. Reason: spelling....

  4. #144
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Rian,
    You had the same experience I did with my own banks dory. I rigged her out with a metal center board as you had and also made a rudder quite similar to yours. I found I did not need the rudder and usually just made use of an oar to steer her. And, of course there was no stability of hull form unless she was loaded down with ballast or fish. I could steer with just a weight shift. She was a dog up wind! All in all, my own experience with a dory shaped hull has always made me wonder why anyone would want to build a twenty plus footer with a cabin to go cruising in! I rigged mine out with a dodger and canvas storage bags. I spent several weeks cruising around the Channel Islands in S. CA. Most of the time I rowed her standing up and facing fwd. That part I really enjoyed.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    This may be the thread my son Jonathan references in the opening paragraph of his build thread.
    http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ducing-Astraea
    I couldn't be prouder of the work he's doing particularly as you can see that he's doing it despite daunting limitations of time and shop facilities that would have derailed a less determined builder. He's an inspiration.

    My own current project is a cruiser based on the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Buyboats. They were traditionally built with cross planked bottoms, fore and aft topsides planking, and either staving or chunk construction in the transom and forefoot using native pine. I'm using epoxy sheathed laminated plywood over a frame of laminated timbers, all Douglas Fir. It will definitely not be cheaper than doing it the olde way. But I believe it will be the right choice resulting in a strong hull with manageable maintenance requirements. And unlike all the originals that I'm familiar with, it should be dry. But if I manage to do a decent job of it, she should be as attractive as her planked ancestors. Their sections may be straight lines (they're basically a big skiff) but I don't think anyone would mistake them for a box. I guess my point is that it's not the material as much as the hullform that makes a boat look good - as long as the one suits the other. I think Ruele Parker's designs make that case pretty well btw...

    Hope so anyway; this weekend will see the first panels glued to the frame of what I've come to call 'the lumberyard buyboat'. So we're kinda committed. Or maybe that's I should be committed....
    Last edited by FSS172; 04-06-2017 at 06:06 PM.

  6. #146
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    My own current project is a cruiser based on the Chesapeake Bay Oyster Buyboats.
    This sounds excellent. I hope there's a thread to be started.

    On your boat itself, I would assume that lighter construction and a hull shaped for the lower displacement (no need to carry tons of crabs and oysters) will allow for an efficient setup. I've been sailing around the bay for years and love the look of those old buyboats, but they clearly burn some diesel to get where they're going.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    This sounds excellent. I hope there's a thread to be started.

    On your boat itself, I would assume that lighter construction and a hull shaped for the lower displacement (no need to carry tons of crabs and oysters) will allow for an efficient setup. I've been sailing around the bay for years and love the look of those old buyboats, but they clearly burn some diesel to get where they're going.
    You're right Dave. Those boats could carry incredible loads. And they were often loaded right to the deckline needing enough power to push the submerged hull through the water.

    [/URL

    So after the war a lot of them had big honking surplus engines installed. This is the recently restored Linda Carol's engine room. It's a pano so really doesn't convey the scale of that beast.



    Ours won't need that kind of brute force. Had a NA run the numbers on our design and even at 20T or so displacement we'll do fine in the 85hp + - range.
    Jim
    Last edited by FSS172; 04-07-2017 at 10:07 AM.

  8. #148
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    But, back to the topic at hand, i've spoken with more than one builder who's worked on these boats. Initially I was really reluctant to reveal that I intended to build with ply. But to a man, they've taken me aside and said things like 'you *are* going to use plywood for the hull aren't you?' Leads me to think that had those materials had been available back in the day they'd have been used. Although the economy of the nailed together plank on frame hull when that stock was growing on trees right down the road would no doubt have been a huge consideration. So who knows.

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I know I'm wrestling with how to build the boat I see myself sailing into retirement on. (Because you'll ask: something in the 24-26 foot range for single or double handing thorough the San Juan Islands and Inside Passage)

    The romantic craftsman in me says "Traditional plank on frame! Think of all the new skills you'll get to master!" The 21st century woodworker says "Build a stripper to make use of modern materials and minimize maintenance in your old age, given the chance that's what they would have done 100 years ago!" Mostly because I like to build stuff, carvel has a strong lead at this point but we'll just have to see, I'm a good 9 or 10 years out from becoming a pensioner.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post
    I know I'm wrestling with how to build the boat I see myself sailing into retirement on. (Because you'll ask: something in the 24-26 foot range for single or double handing thorough the San Juan Islands and Inside Passage)

    The romantic craftsman in me says "Traditional plank on frame! Think of all the new skills you'll get to master!" The 21st century woodworker says "Build a stripper to make use of modern materials and minimize maintenance in your old age, given the chance that's what they would have done 100 years ago!" Mostly because I like to build stuff, carvel has a strong lead at this point but we'll just have to see, I'm a good 9 or 10 years out from becoming a pensioner.
    If you think that "modern materials" minimize maintenance in anything but a fiberglass or metal hulled boat, I'm afraid you'll find yourself sadly disappointed. I agree completely that if "modern materials" had been available to boatbuilders in ages past, they'd probably have used them (here I'm talking about boats constructed with modern adhesives and strip or sheet products) if they wanted to build an inexpensive and expendable boat. The enduring wisdom of traditional construction is that it accommodates the inevitable deterioration, damage, and decay that any wood boat is heir to in the marine environment. It's not a lot different than cars built with "modern materials." They have a lot of advantages in the short term, but past their designed lifespans, they aren't intended to be repairable. There are still many Model T's and Model A's and VW Beetles on the road today. Odds are, there won't be any 100 year old Honda Accords, post-1980 BMWs, or post-1980 anythings on the road 100 years from now, while people will still be restoring, maintaining and enjoying the cars that were designed to be repaired forever and they'll be a lot more valuable than they are now. If you wanted to listen to music forty years ago, you could have built a modern 8-track stereo system or a good guitar or violin. If you'd decided to conquer the learning curve, mastered all those new skills, and built a guitar or violin, you'd still be playing it today. Not so the 8-track.

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Mr. Cleek that is a boatload of BS and you know it.

    Please explain what part exactly of a boat buildt with "modern materials" is not repairable or replaceable forever? And why would "modern materials" only result in "expandable" boats?

    As for cars not becoming classics you are wrong again. Why should they not? Only because you can not repair and maintain one does not mean anybody can't. I suppose you refere to the often cited myth of electronics failing. Let me assure you that an electronics package is like a bearing. You can not operate a car without one and you can not repair one by yourself. But you can buy one and exchange it. When 90's models cars will become classics there will be someone qualified enough to make replacement parts for them, exactly like there are now people making parts for Model T's.
    As for not beeing intended to be repairable that is simply not true. Modern cars are beeing repaired right now all over the world. What is true is that some types of repair are not economically sustainable because mass production has made replacement parts so cheap that swapping it out is cheaper than repairing it. This does not make a car unrepairable it just means you are not paying the guy next door to do something by hand you pay the faraway guy who invested in tooling.

    Back to boats. I happen to agree with you that bad plywood and bad workmanship makes bad boats. But this does not mean that bad wood and bad workmanship does not make a equally bad boat, and that it was not exactly as prevalent back in the day. Every boat and material has a designed lifespan and maintainance that must be observed during that lifespan. And no, unscrewing a plank, replacing it, recaulking and repainting is not easier or quicker than cutting out plywood or strips, scarfing in new material, reglassing and painting. It is only different, with different tools and skills needed.
    This is exactly like your 8-track vs violin. If you decided to conquer the learning curve and mastered all those new skills of becoming a electronics engineer and invested in tools you'd still be playing that 8-track today. Or to compare apples to apples the violin builder should compare to the electronics engineer building a keyboard, and the electronics engineer building the 8-track to the software developer writing a new recorder/player for your phone, since one is a recording/playback device, and the other a musical instrument. And incidentally 40 years ago besides 8-track there was vinyl, and vinyl is still around and getting stronger again while 8-track remains in the realm of fanatics niche market and new releases are far and between.

  12. #152
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    So here's one of those "unrepairable" non-traditional wooden boats, finishing 15th across the line in a fleet of about 200 boats in the Mackinac race at 38 years of age and just 35 feet overall length.

    Adagio

    Here's a clip of one of those unrepairable plywood wooden boats sailing at high speed across Bass Strait on her way to a class win in the Sydney to Hobart at the age of 44.

    Ragtime

    At 21:56 into this there's a shot of an unrepairable cold-moulded boat winning the Hobart overall at the age of 35.


    The tiny plywood Suidoos 2, 30 feet long and weighing 2 tons, has done four Transatlantic crossings including a 3rd place in the 2007 Transatlantic race, doing 750 miles in three days. She was about 40 years old at the time.

    There seems to be no reason to think that well cared for "non traditional" wooden boats won't keep on sailing fast and safely for eons.

  13. #153
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Here is not a picture ( cuz weak internet) of my "difficult to repair) 33 year old stripper spending six months a year on an 85 degree shed and six months a year being being minimally maintained while I sponge out a quart a week from a pesky keel bolt.
    NO carvel boat can take this punishment , not Lin n Larrys, no European tight seam boat, none.

    EDIT..Here she is ,6 months later, being launched after 5 months indoors and a month on the hot cement...
    Last edited by wizbang 13; 02-11-2018 at 06:48 AM.

  14. #154
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    Here is not a picture ( cuz weak internet) of my "difficult to repair) 33 year old stripper spending six months a year on an 85 degree shed and six months a year being being minimally maintained while I sponge out a quart a week from a pesky keel bolt.
    NO carvel boat can take this punishment , not Lin n Larrys, no European tight seam boat, none.
    This is a true statement.

    My beautifully crafted strip planked sloop nearly exploded last year after 5 day on the hard, in the sun when temperatures became 105 and waiting for a bronze piece made. When i soaked the boat down to cool it off i was warned that i should do that in the dark when no one was around due to environmental concerns. It took 6 months for the swelling to come back tight and bilge dry once back in the water. Even for an experienced layman - i was nervous.
    Be wary of your critics, at peace with your decisions, and work hard to be a better man.

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Seems that there are limitations with most of the traditional types, most of us know that. That will probably include a higher level of maintenance but also ease of repair. Most of the plywood and or composite boats, generally less maintenance. I think the build quality is a big factor in either case. Assuming that for some reason fibreglass did not eventuate, I reckon that plenty of lower end workboatswould have been built of ply and would have had a generally accepted service life. Ted, my Woollacott 28 Ghost spent months in a shed through an Australian summer, plus a 2 week heatwave, every day around 40, now has to be recaukled below the waterline, I had done this previously grrrr. Thread drift acknowledged, will some day have time to post my rebuild so I can address the decline
    the invisible man........

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    That was an interesting twenty minutes of reading.

    I think most of the reasons for seeing less of the large builds and restorations have been covered - materials scarcity, fewer shipyards, expensive moorage, generational differences, increasing regulation, etc...

    I know that I have owned, used, and suffered for old wooden boats for 25 years, and it is far more expensive in terms of real dollars today than it has ever been. There is nothing in our local Englund Marine in a one gallon can for under $100.00. Quarts of decent paint cost $50. A tiny can of dolphinite costs over $50. My last haulout I did everything except block the boat and spray the bottom paint and the bill was over $4K. I have to drive a 16-hour round trip to Port Townsend to buy decent wood in plank lengths. I do it, and with joy in my heart, because I have a problem. I have a mental disorder that gives me some twisted pleasure in taking on the most unpleasant of tasks, as long as it is onboard my boat. There is no cure that I know of. Years ago I tried to quit cold turkey, and went to live in the rocky mountains for a year, mining and hunting and fishing and staying as far away from a seagoing vessel as I could be. Less than a year later, I was 100 miles offshore in a leaky 34 foot salmon troller, hand pulling tuna and keeping one eye on the bilge pump light.

    So I will continue to go deeper into the restoration madness of a 50 foot 1930 ex-seiner, regardless of the consequences. But I totally understand why normal, sane, economically rational people would shun old wooden boats and the madness they represent.

    It helps to have a wife who is an enabler. We are trying to move to Puget Sound and she has offered to live aboard to make that happen. My liver cannot take another winter here. We've had over 75 inches of rain since October and it blew 80 knots at the headland where we live yesterday. In April. So if anyone has a line on a good liveaboard spot in the Olympic rain shadow feel free to speak up...
    M/V Pokalong
    1973 Grand Banks 42

  17. #157
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    It helps to have a wife who is an enabler. We are trying to move to Puget Sound and she has offered to live aboard to make that happen. My liver cannot take another winter here. We've had over 75 inches of rain since October and it blew 80 knots at the headland where we live yesterday. In April. So if anyone has a line on a good liveaboard spot in the Olympic rain shadow feel free to speak up...
    Chris, assuming you don't need to actually be in Seattle there several places in the South Sound area that welcome liveaboards. I've heard recently that Lakebay Marina is actively looking for tenants, liveaboard welcome. Brown's Point might be another option. There was a guy on the forum last Fall who was able to get a liveaboard slip there. You might also ping Wojo (2dogsnight). He was the one who told me that Lakebay has space available. Bremerton and Brownsville are possibilities for mid-Sound. Farther North I'd check out Anacortes, La Conner and Bellingham.

    Otherwise, I have to say I recognize my own mania in everything you just wrote. We in the brotherhood of workboat restorers have to keep the faith as best we can. It's not an easy road!

    Cheers,

  18. #158
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    End the decline of threads of rebuilding large wooden boats here and now.
    https://vermont.craigslist.org/boa/6067293846.html

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I have restored wooden yachts/boats for some years (facebook.com/kiilson). Love it, but wood is heavier and needs more maintenance than ply+epoxy Talked to the older generation shipwrights, they all sigh and say that it is a disappearing art

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Sums it up perfectly.
    Who wants sanity anyway?????
    End of thread

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris-on-the-Boat View Post

    So I will continue to go deeper into the restoration madness of a 50 foot 1930 ex-seiner, regardless of the consequences. But I totally understand why normal, sane, economically rational people would shun old wooden boats and the madness they represent.
    .

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumars View Post
    Mr. Cleek that is a boatload of BS and you know it.

    Please explain what part exactly of a boat buildt with "modern materials" is not repairable or replaceable forever? And why would "modern materials" only result in "expandable" boats?

    As for cars not becoming classics you are wrong again. Why should they not? Only because you can not repair and maintain one does not mean anybody can't. I suppose you refere to the often cited myth of electronics failing. Let me assure you that an electronics package is like a bearing. You can not operate a car without one and you can not repair one by yourself. But you can buy one and exchange it. When 90's models cars will become classics there will be someone qualified enough to make replacement parts for them, exactly like there are now people making parts for Model T's.
    As for not beeing intended to be repairable that is simply not true. Modern cars are beeing repaired right now all over the world. What is true is that some types of repair are not economically sustainable because mass production has made replacement parts so cheap that swapping it out is cheaper than repairing it. This does not make a car unrepairable it just means you are not paying the guy next door to do something by hand you pay the faraway guy who invested in tooling.

    Back to boats. I happen to agree with you that bad plywood and bad workmanship makes bad boats. But this does not mean that bad wood and bad workmanship does not make a equally bad boat, and that it was not exactly as prevalent back in the day. Every boat and material has a designed lifespan and maintainance that must be observed during that lifespan. And no, unscrewing a plank, replacing it, recaulking and repainting is not easier or quicker than cutting out plywood or strips, scarfing in new material, reglassing and painting. It is only different, with different tools and skills needed.
    This is exactly like your 8-track vs violin. If you decided to conquer the learning curve and mastered all those new skills of becoming a electronics engineer and invested in tools you'd still be playing that 8-track today. Or to compare apples to apples the violin builder should compare to the electronics engineer building a keyboard, and the electronics engineer building the 8-track to the software developer writing a new recorder/player for your phone, since one is a recording/playback device, and the other a musical instrument. And incidentally 40 years ago besides 8-track there was vinyl, and vinyl is still around and getting stronger again while 8-track remains in the realm of fanatics niche market and new releases are far and between.
    Well, suit yourself, Rumars. I'm not saying boats shouldn't be built out of modern materials. What I am saying is that really fine boats should be built traditionally if one wants a boat that will be worth repairing and restoring over time. For my time and money, I'd much rather invest it in a traditionally built boat that will be worth more when done and retain that value on the resale market over time. There have been some high quality polymer adhesive boats built now and again, usually by professional builders. They will last for a good long while, I'm sure. This is particularly true of cold molded vessels like the Gougeons' Adagio and Ragtime cited above. Neither of these boats, however, were built using materials and techniques that were considered short-cuts for people who wanted to build a boat without fully learning the craft. And I'm sure they materials costs on such boats equal or exceed the cost of traditional materials and building techniques. What I and others are talking about here is the distinction between relatively "quick and dirty" built boats and boats built using traditional material and techniques. The entire premise of this thread was the question of why it is that this forum, which used to be primarily about the craft of building and restoring traditional wooden boats, has become overshadowed by a large number of people who want to build a boat without taking the time to really learn how and instead opting for materials that limit the designs of the boats when built of sheet stock that cannot take a compound bend and must rely on plastics and epoxies to remain watertight and structurally intact. I was, myself, one of the first people to tout the use of CPES and other epoxy-based adhesives and sheathing with epoxy and Dynel and other fabrics in certain applications in traditional boatbuilding, such as sealing beneath paint and varnish and as an alternative to canvas-covered decks and cabin tops. I certainly wouldn't opt for canvas sails over Dacron ones just because they are "traditional." This is, however, a far cry from the current fad of building skiffs out of Big Box Store plywood and construction-grade dimensioned lumber, slathered with epoxy. They have their place, but those aren't really the sort of "wooden boats" this forum, and, indeed, WoodenBoat Magazine used to be about any more than a Soap Box Derby racer is a "classic car."

    Now, getting back to automobiles, which this forum is decidedly not about, I'm here to tell you that if I owned my 1987 BMW 635Csi today, it would cost me more to maintain and repair than it would be worth, if it could be maintained and repaired at all. Sure, you can get tires and oil filters and maybe even some engine parts, but, electrical engineer or not, there are more than a few of the parts on exotic cars of that era and since that are simply unobtainable today and only theoretically replicable. I had a seat-adjustment memory computer go out on that 635 perhaps 20 years ago. The problem was a single electrical component in the large (by today's standards) box that held the computer. That computer could have been repaired by replacing that single component, which was proprietary, but it was no longer manufactured, had only been manufactured specifically for that BMW seat-memory computer, and only in a number sufficient to build the number of seat-memory computers BMW put in that model during the time the assembly was being put in new cars. Could another have been built? Yes, if one had the money to retool to produce the one component needed. As luck would have it, there were, at that relatively young age of that car, several replacement computers in stock at the BMW factory. The replacement computer cost around $2,000. Fortunately, it was covered on my insurance. By now, I am sure that finding that replacement seat-memory computer is near-impossible and that was a 1987 model vehicle. The present crop of cars, cheap or exotic, have many, many, times the digital sophistication of 1987 models and, instead of a hard-wired box full of circuit boards, they employ microchips which are not repairable, nor replaceable. These devices are manufactured in quantity on order for specific vehicles. The US government does require manufacturers of a certain number of vehicles (5,000 is the limit, I believe) to maintain parts availability for a minimum of ten years. Beyond that, it's all about the aftermarket because the big manufacturers don't want to bear the costs of flooring parts inventories if they don't have to do so. The economies of scale in the business of manufacturing microelectronics is such today that no one can ever justify what it would cost to replicate a microchip or the like on a one-off basis. That is simply a fact of life accepted in the car collecting game today and not a matter of my own opinion.

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Cleek;5206566This is particularly true of cold molded vessels like the Gougeons' [I
    Adagio[/I] and Ragtime cited above. Neither of these boats, however, were built using materials and techniques that were considered short-cuts for people who wanted to build a boat without fully learning the craft. And I'm sure they materials costs on such boats equal or exceed the cost of traditional materials and building techniques.
    Ragtime's designer/builder John Spencer was actually very heavily motivated by the desire to make cheaper and more easily-built boats. People have limited time available. Why not spend that time on the water instead of building boats?

    By what measure is a sheet ply (not strip planked) yacht like Ragtime not amongst those "worth repairing and restoring"?? She's an excellent performer, was very influential in the shift to light displacement, and she and her creator inspired some of the great names in late 20th century design (including Ron Holland, Bruce Farr and the Bethwaites of 49er fame) and she creates a huge amount of affection among sailors in NZ and California. Her historical significance, fame and objective qualities make her far more worthy of restoration than most conventionally-built boats in the eyes of many sailors.

    If the Soap Box Derby racer was faster than a "classic car", had more space and cost less, then why wouldn't it be deemed worthy of a place in a classic car magazine? Indeed, why wouldn't it be worthy of a very prominent place as an examplar of forward thinking and efficient design, sort of like the way that Chapman's simple fibreglass-bodied Lotuses are seen as great designs worthy of a place in the pantheon of great cars?

    I'm going to renovate my own cold-moulded and ply-decked example of a design that Spencer of Ragtime fame designed for plywood construction. The ease of plywood construction makes it practical to re-skin the cockpit, which is now almost 50 years old. On the other hand, it could be even easier to just build a whole new cockpit. The fact that either method is faster and easier means that the renovation is practical without forcing me to take so much time that I'd have to give up sailing my other boats.
    What's wrong with the easier and more efficient method? It's not dodging the challenge - it's saving time and therefore allowing me to take up other challenges.

    The BMW example is an interesting one. Perhaps it underlines the efficiency and value of creating objects that are simpler and less complicated, like simple boats?
    Last edited by Chris249; 04-09-2017 at 11:25 PM.

  23. #163
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads



    For every slab-sided skiff being built someone somewhere is putting together a boat like this.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  24. #164
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    And even some of those SSSs are worth preserving; this is one of Julian Bethwaite's two-man 18 Foot Skiffs, made in balsa core. The first was built over the four-day Easter holidays and was the test bed for the first modern assymetric spinnaker, of the type that is now so popular in high performance craft.

    http://forums.sailinganarchy.com/upl...60_1023256.jpg

    18 Feet long overall, with about 16 feet of bowsprit, the last in the series had a beam from one wingtip to another of 26 ft 6 inches, a 36 foot mast, and 1400 sq ft of sail downwind - one hell of a lot for two people to handle while trapezing. The hull weighed just 99lb, with fittings, but took that sort of strain for years.

    As well as kicking off the modern assymetric spinnaker, the Prime series of two-man 18s lead directly to the Bethwaite Grand Prix 18 Foot Skiffs, often believed to be the fastest non-foiling dinghy in history. That line of development then lead to the Olympic 49er and the international Youth skiff, the 29er. Both of them have had enormous impact on small boat sailing.

    The Primes, like Ragtime, can perhaps be seen as examples of wooden boatbuilding that is not classic but is actually incredibly innovative and sometimes leads the entire world in design terms. Other examples could be Tituscanby (Farr's first yacht), lots of Morrison, Proctor and Claridge designs, the Olympic Tornado catamaran, the Cunningham C Class cats that were the world's fastest small boat for many years, etc etc etc.

    When wooden boats can blaze this sort of trail, maybe denigrating anything but conventional planked construction is actually putting down and marginalising wooden construction? Maybe the alternative methods, including the cheap and easy ones that get so many people in the workshop and on the water, should be celebrated as much as the most magnificent plank on frame classic?

  25. #165
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Many working boats were not designed to last.

    The yards were full of skilled men, materials were abundant, the boats were under constant heavy use. You bought one, worked it for 30 years, threw it away and bought another one.

    Back in the day, an 80 foot herring drifter could be built in 8 weeks, from lofting to launch, including spars. They were nothing special.

    As there are now so few, we place much higher value on them, and as they are essentially reparable, they can be kept going by insane people. This was not considered economically viable back then.

    Ive repaired many 40' trad carvel and clinker working boats over 100 years old, cruised and raced them.

  26. #166
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Reviving this old thread to add my own observations. For the most part I believe there are simply less boats to restore. 40 years ago when I started working on boats there were wooden boats in most marinas on land and in the water. In the past few years when the occasion occurred that I cruised a marina there are very few wood boats around. For a while a lot wooden boats ended up in the hands of individuals that couldnt afford newer boats. That led to the decline of those boats because those same people couldn't afford to maintain their wooden boats.

    It's expensive to pay talented people to restore old boats. The number of people willing to spend that kind of money on old wooden boats has diminished over time.

    On a personal level I wouldn't want to build a big boat without the help of some younger guys the do the grunt work. Elsewhere on the forum I posted documentary video about Chummy Rich. He states the he hadn't built a wooden boat for 25 years! He and his family built boats for close to 100 years before then.

    I'm considering building a new wooden boat to use in Florida during my retirement. Mostly I thinking about a modified plywood sharpie. Not a plank on frame boat. Because a plywood boat will be, lighter, stronger, faster and easier.
    Last edited by navydog; 01-11-2018 at 05:41 PM.

  27. #167
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    What's THE cheapest way, the single most inexpensive way, aside from riding along on other peoples boats, to go sailing in a boat with some substance to her?

    Answer: Buy a late 60's early 70's <25 foot keelboat and fix it up and go sailing.

    On Craigslist in the SF Bay Area, right now there's an O'Day tempest that needs a haulout and needs the hull painted (it's peeling) for $500 and the harbormaster will give ... I repeat, GIVE it to anybody who'll haul it away and save him the demolition fee. The same marina has a 24 foot Islander Baham in the same situation.

    In my marina, we have a new harbormaster. He says he will GIVE ME a Yamaha 30 which needs a haulout and engine work, and a steam cleaning. If I don't take it, it's going to cost him $800 to pay the guy with the chainsaw and the dumpster. A really great International Folkboat on my dock with a working inboard diesel is also on the chopping block. Last year they cut up a 23 foot Sprinta Sport because they couldn't give it away. In the latest harbor newsletter, he says that he's desperately looking for small boats to fill berths. My marina is one of the 3-4 in the San Francisco Bay Area with significicant numbers of wet berths for <24 foot boats. He can't fill them. The previous harbormaster, long ago moved all the side-tie small boats into slips to make the place look more full than it is.

    At the same time, he has a waiting list a couple of years long for berths 36 feet-plus.

    Does this make sense? Sure.

    The people with money have big boats. People with lots of money generally don't see the allure of covering themselves in pine tar, sawdust and paint when they can pay someone else to do that. They have big boats, and someone else takes care of anything more complicated than hosing them down, or maybe touching up the varnish on a nice spring day.

    The people who want to sail and need small boats and squeezed out because the ongoing cost of keeping a boat in a marina keeps going up, haulouts keep going up, sails and everything else keeps going up and they're running as fast as they can just to make rent, feed the family and save a few bucks so the kids can go to college.

    What kind of boatbuilding can you squeeze in on your supertight budget and minimal spare time? Oh...a 12 foot plywood and epoxy dinghy might do.

    There used to be 7-8-9 DIY boatyards in the San Francisco Bay Area, back in the early 80's when I started sailing. There were easily 20 yards around the Bay. There are now 8 yards around the Bay and two allow DIY.

    The writing is on the wall. The economy and the society are changing.

  28. #168
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I might add, there's a Rhodes Windward 33 that's been floating for years and finally found a buyer before the harbormaster was going to reluctantly cut it up. But he's not making his berth payments and he hasn't moved the boat out of the marina, which was part of the deal. Clearly, he doesn't have the money to make it happen. If I had a spare $70,000 I might buy it, but realistically...I work a job, a day job. It would take me 20 years of weekends to rebuild that boat. If it's going to happen, I'm going to have to pay a crew of three professionals to do it. Anything else is a fantasy.

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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Bob Cleek, you wrote this: " I'm not saying boats shouldn't be built out of modern materials. What I am saying is that really fine boats should be built traditionally if one wants a boat that will be worth repairing and restoring over time. "

    I cannot disagree more strongly. "modern materials" ? So ONLY plank-on-frame is worth maintaining, or even CAN be maintained?
    The Pearson Triton, one of the first fiberglass keelboats ever, is going strong. Hundreds are still sailing and the earliest ones are almost 50 years old. The first one hit the water in 1969. Just four years ago, I know a lad who took one solo from San Francisco to Hawaii.

    I could list 50 wonderful 'glass boats which are lasting for decades upon decades and have enthusiastic owners and class associations.

    I don't know about you but I have done some relatively major interior repairs on older glass boats, built without liners, and honestly, it's easier than most of the wooden boat work that I've done. I've put new bulkheads and berth fronts in a Pearson Renegade, and it was a snap. That hull will last 100 years, assuming they don't plow it into a rock and sink the thing.

  30. #170
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    There isn't anything that can't be fixed if you have enough time and money.

  31. #171
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    At age 56, Magic is doing well and will outlive us all.

  32. #172
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I wrote that the first Triton hit the water in 1969.. Typo! Actually, that's 1959.

  33. #173
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    Quote Originally Posted by Alan H View Post
    I don't know about you but I have done some relatively major interior repairs on older glass boats, built without liners, and honestly, it's easier than most of the wooden boat work that I've done. I've put new bulkheads and berth fronts in a Pearson Renegade, and it was a snap. That hull will last 100 years, assuming they don't plow it into a rock and sink the thing.

    Depends on how you define "easy." I prefer measuring, sawing, planing and scribing to grinding, slathering, masking off and laying-up. I enjoy both, but I wouldn't say that professional level repairs on glass boats are easier. It would say it's easier to do a cosmetically challenged but structurally OK job on a glass boat but glass boat finishes are quite a bit more challenging on a pro-level, and hull fairing is a job best left to masochists.

  34. #174
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    I can say with conviction that I hate glass work, layup or grinding.

  35. #175
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    Default Re: Decline of Real Wood Building and Restoration Threads

    How many carvel, or lap straked boats can be left indefinitely on a trailer? (Few to none in my book).




    The few of you who live in a place where you are not charged for mooring your boat, or can afford marina fees are apparently a shrinking minority.

    The "Old Guard" is literally dying off. How many 30, 40, or 50-somethings can own that can of property where boat mooring is not a financial indulgence?

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