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post #1 of 5 Old 06-10-2004 Thread Starter
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Wood or Glass?

I know fiberglass is less maintenance than wood. But wood is easier to repair and certainly more commonly available in the more remote areas one might find themselve in.

Which material do you think would be more advantageous for a smaller (30'') full liveaboard in tropical, generally non-marina environment?
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post #2 of 5 Old 06-10-2004
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Wood or Glass?

Do you like working with wood? Do you have either time, skill or money? If the answer to the first question is yes and you have any of the second 3 then look hard at wood.

Also be aware that cold molded wood is a very different animal from traditional wood and has some really nice properties of its own.

Finding wood in remote places for repairs is not guaranteed plenty of places will either not have wood or have the wrong wood. It is true that fixing more traditional block and tackle rigging is easier in remote places because the parts are simple and easy to replace. However there are a lot of advantages to modern materials in a rig as well the biggest being that you don''t need to be very strong to handle a boat if you have winches.

Personally my boat is a composite (wood under glass) sloop with internal ballast of concrete and pig iron and a gaff rig that is all block and tackle. I happen to like this a lot. Figure out what you like a lot and go with it. There are a lot of good boats (and bad boats too) in both wood and glass you will end up with a boat that makes you happier if you keep an open mind about materials and spend the time to get a good one.

PS what ever you do don''t buy a wooden boat that had the exterior of the hull glassed over to stop leaks. Bad bad bad.
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post #3 of 5 Old 06-10-2004 Thread Starter
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Wood or Glass?

thanks for the reply. I''m handy with wood and enjoy it''s beauty. I don''t think I''d mind keeping it maintained although it might get old, a ''chore'' over the long term.

The boat I''m looking at has 1.5" cedar planking bolted to 3" X 3" double sawn frames. Deck is 1.5" fir planking. Recent survey (2003) said it is extremely structurally sound and suitable for offshore cruising. It was being rebuilt (''95) when work was stopped and thus just lacks a fully ''functional'' interior. I wouldn''t undertake rebuilding the cabin myself however (no access to proper wood & tools). But other small projects/repairs I would feel fully capable of handling.
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-12-2004
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Wood or Glass?

Please tell me what the difference is between cold molding and regular wood construction. Which one is better? Is cold molding easy to repair?
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-12-2004
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Wood or Glass?

Cold moulding is effectively using a timber laminate (like plywood) with the grain running in different directions on alternating layers and then pressure moulding it into shape. It produces a "skin" hull that makes for a good deal of rigidity as well as flex and shares many characteristics with GRP hulls.

Traditional timber hulls are made with planks (with the grain usually but not always, running along the length of the boat) over ribs. Pretty much at every point that you want the hull to change shape, you need a rib. The planks are either steam, dry heat or salt water moulded to the ribs and then secured in place. There is a lot of caulking and mystery involved between each plank (which only mostly behaves like it is part of a larger structure called a "boat").

So if you want to get a glass finish appearence on the topsides of a plank-built wooden boat, you can work very hard at it, and even get something that looks right. ...Until you put the boat back int he water and let it ride at it moorings for an hour or so. And then every plank will swell and flex a little differently, and even if the boat does not let in a drop of water, you will once again be able to see every individual plank.

Don''t get me wrong. I sail on a H28 that is lovely and wonderful...but I am glad that I do not own it! I have my Endeavour and love every solid fibreglass inch of it.

Cold molded sort of bridges the gap between the two. But personally, unless you are racing and want the super-light hulls that cold moulded timbers can generate....I would go with GRP.

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