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  #11  
Old 12-29-2009
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"Scared of wood"? I can't be. Every boat I've owned is made of it. I'm surrounded by it. A wooden boat in good conditon requires little more maintenance than a glass one. It just needs it more urgently. If you neglect a wood boat for ten years it's dead. A glass boat might be brought back with a thorough scrubbing.
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Old 12-29-2009
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There ya go......
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Old 12-29-2009
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I am not scared of dry wood. I am, however, scared of WET wood.
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  #14  
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It depends on the wet... Salty wet? love it. Sweet and fresh wet, uh oh.
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  #15  
Old 12-29-2009
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No, I'm not. Work with wood every day of my life. Pay my mortgage with it. But wood as a boatbuilding material? It exhibits nearly all the failure modes of FRP, plus several of its own: water absorption, swelling and shrinkage, rot, marine borers.... A plastic boat is every bit as repairable as a wooden boat, and far less likely to need stripping to the ribs to do it. Reminds me of a friend who bought trashed-out houses at auction, peeled the interior to the framing, redid the framing, redid the interiors, peeled off the exterior, and refaced the whole house. Did a nice job, rescued a sad domicile, made a little money, seemed to enjoy himself. Me, I'd drive a D9 thru the shanty and start from scratch. Or just find a better house.

I love wood, but I wouldn't build a boat out of it -- and a wouldn't own a boat made of it. Family friend had a 35ft Dutch lapstrake that he spent all winter, every winter meticulously scraping, caulking, sanding, painting. Always had blowers going, but it was always musty, and the engine & electrical corroded in the humid wooden bilges. Finally, around late Spring, he'd drop the thing in the water and it would leak like a sieve until the planks swelled up, after which it would leak like a finer sieve. Unless there was chop, when it leaked faster. Once, just after launch, the marine shore power failed and both bilge pumps stopped; guy came back to find his freshly prepped boat sitting on the lake bed. Pull it out, and back to the barn: no sailing this year.

And that's just it. My plastic boats are not all that fancy, but after 35 years of serious, willful neglect each was sailable on the day I bought it and has remained sailable even as I upgrade and refit and repair. The only major structural problem is wet decks -- wet wood-cored decks. I can balance the hours and hassles of upkeep with a little actual sailing. Figure 3:1 repair-to-fun ratio. Every wooden boat owner I know pulls more like 10:1. If that's what you like, great. Not for me. Many woodie owners go years without sailing while they reverse the degradation that cannot be avoided if you place wood near water. Not for me.
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Old 12-29-2009
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yet.. wood was the only choice for hundreds, thousands of years! which is why the art evolved so well.

The cost of lumber for boats is the most fear inducing thing about them! We need to remember most of these beauties were built when things were no where near what things cost now. we still had forests with old growth. Also, most wooden boat cultures didn't really build out of love or admiration.. they built them out of necessity. Which is another reason some designs are more popular in differen't areas.
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Old 12-29-2009
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I think the expense of some of the materials for wooden boats can be equally off-putting, but the time investment is enormous.

I've helped my parents re-do every bit of plumbing, wiring, refrigeration, prop shaft, rigging, masts, etc on their boat (now 30 years old, and virtually neglected its entire life) and it's a lot of time to be back up to a pristine setting. On the other hand I have some friends who have meticulously maintained wooden boats that need nothing other than regular maintenance, and they still come close to matching the number of hours we're putting in on a yearly basis. The difference is, as we run out of systems to replace and fix, our time commitment to working on the boat grows shorter, and the relaxing & sailing time grows longer. Their maintenance schedule stays pretty consistent.

I do love the beauty of a wooden boat (generally the sexiest sheerlines every laid out IMO), but I loathe the work aspect. I'm definitely in the glass or steel only camp.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobmcgov View Post
And that's just it. My plastic boats are not all that fancy, but after 35 years of serious, willful neglect each was sailable on the day I bought it and has remained sailable even as I upgrade and refit and repair.
Now THAT'S my kind of boat. I fully intend to dutifully neglect every boat I ever own.
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Old 12-29-2009
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Works for the used cars I buy so it might work for ya I guess......keep close to shore..
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Old 12-29-2009
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Charlie - First, congratulations on a excellent job. Most people that haven't done the job don't get to see all the steps involved, so you're providing us with a community service. Both my father and uncle built sail and power boats; I worked in a yard that specialized in wood boat repair and have built the Joel White Nutshell Pram so I'm familiar with what you're dealing with. (see Little Mike at Toys)

I think that there are several things to consider regarding why more people don't undertake a restoration of this magnitude.

First, most people don't have the skills and haven't deconstructed the project, so they don't see that a restoration is a thousand little, easy jobs). It's not wood per se, but the how to get from Point A ( a wreck) to Point B (a gem) that is so daunting.

Second, most people want a boat to do the fun stuff. A surveyor told me in jest that the really smart owner is the one that buys a new boat, has fun and does not maintenance and then sells it when it's beat. We all know of a thousand owners that do nothing for themselves which brings me to the next part.

It is difficult to get a wood boat in good shape, so most older wood boat buyers are immediately getting into a project that they either can't pay for or don't have the skills to complete.

Fourth, I don't think that it's an either-or thing. There are advantages to glass and wood. IMO, glass is easier and may or may not be eternal. Since most people don't own their boat that long, longevity isn't really a concern.

Fifth, wood is far more expensive to construct and this is the single most significant reason IMO that people shy away from wood. Without the skills to work wood, an owner would need significant resources to restore a vessel such as Oh Joy. A new wood boat? Very expensive since each and every component must be manufactured in a one-off fashion. As for performance, wood doesn't have it unless it's a dinghy (a notable example is the GP-14 - MUCH better in wood than glass).

You are doing a magnificent job, but it's not for everyone. My father went from owning 3 successive glass boats to working nearly full time on the Gazela of Philadelphia. By that point in his life, he loved working on boats far more than sailing them. I suspect that you are gaining as much joy from Oh Joy right now as you will when she's done. Perhaps more. Keep up the great work and posts.
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