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Old 07-03-2011
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Rebuilding - Wood Vs. Fiberglass

I have a bit of a philosophical question to throw out to the members.

Over many years of reading about, working on and generally learning about boats I have noticed that a widespread attitude towards wood boats is that as long as a few scraps of wood (including the main beam with the reg. #'s) remain, a wood boat is infinitely rebuildable. Like Abe Lincolns' axe, lots of new heads & handles but still the original piece.

Please note that I'm not talking about historically significant boats like Dorade or Ticonderoga etc. but I've seen any number of stories of pretty ordinary wood boats being essentially re-created from new with a couple of bits of original wood incorporated and the result being called a rebuild. I realize that legally they are considered that, I'm talking about the work, logic etc. of the process.

In contrast to that, the general attitude to glass boats seems to be if they need new wiring, upholstery and paint they are ready to be scrapped. Not literally that minor but pretty close. Re-coring all or a large part of a deck seems to be a big dividing line.

I fail to understand this. To my mind a glass boat is much more easily rebuildable than a wood boat - re-coring all or part of a deck is pretty simple and a LOT less (extremely skilled) work than replacing a wood deck, beams, shelves, carlins etc. Similarly, doing some glass work on a hull, fairing & painting, maybe replacing a bulkhead or two, compares very favourably with building a new keel (backbone), steaming, sawing or laminating dozens of frames and then replanking a hull, which then requires the same fairing & painting as glass.

All the rest, new engines, wiring, systems etc. is pretty well the same and costs the same.

I'd really like to see thoughts & opinions on this please. (CharlieCobra, Jeff H?)
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