are teak and marine plywood a must???

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by rodmar, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. rodmar
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    rodmar Junior Member

    Ok, teak wood and marine plywood are expensive, very expensive and hard to get... the quiestion is... what are the other options?? can i use regular plywood? for the hull? if i varnish it with marine varnish, will that do? what other wood can i use for decking?? i do not want to use fiberglass because first of all i have no idea of where to find it and what to buy! steel will make my boat heavier and is more expensive than marine plywood i think, and alluminium is very, very expensive!!!! sooo any suggestions??
     
  2. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Teak is only one of hundreds of woods used in boatbuilding, yes it is good for some things, but certainly nat a requirement for building a decent boat.

    Plywood is just a term used to define layers of veneers glued together to form Plys of wood, hence plywood. Marine plywood is a definition of layers of ply, glued with a marine grade glue (resorcinol usually), it is also defined as having woods of certain densities and having no voids in the joins internally where the plys meet.

    You can certainly use other forms of plywood to make a very sound vessel. Marine grade is the best obviously, but let me assure you, most of the ply wood boats built in this worls are not marine grade plywood.

    A good grade ply with a waterproof bond can certainly be used.

    It would also be a help if you could state how big your boat is to be expected and also what use it is to be put to.
     
  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    It would help if you mentioned the type of boat, what length, or at least some ballpark.
    You would be well served investing in a book about boat construction, something general that describes all the building processes and their various attributes, pros, cons, etc..
    Look around the bookstore and see if there's something at your level you can reference through the index to answer all of those questions.
    In the mean time, I can help you to at least answer the above questions.
    Teak is not often used to build boats any more.
    It is ungodly expensive and is used sparingly when it is used, usually for decking on a gold-plater. For all practical purposes, teak no longer figures for most boatbuilders.
    Plywood, on the other hand, is often used to build boats. While you may not feel marine plywood is available, a quick check online will show you that all kinds of marine ply are available out there. The problem is shipping costs due to size. I don't know how far from you a dealer would be located, but it's worthwhile for you to check around. You might be surprised.
    Marine plywood differs from non-marine in several important ways, all of which will effect the longevity of your boat. Firstly, the glue is guaranteed to be waterproof. Secondly, the inner plies, which are normally hidden, are solid. There should be no knot holes to trap water and breed rot.
    Thirdly, marine ply almost always has more plies per thickness.
    Finally, wood species are far more limited when it comes to marine ply. Okoume, fir, meranti, and hard pine fare better than species like poplar or birch.
    For all of the above reasons, marine ply costs a lot. And because common exterior grade plywood is sold at hundreds of times the volume of marine ply, you are even paying for low production economics.
    Yet, plywood, even marine grade, is an excellent building material for boats. It's amazingly strong for its weight, easy to work with, and in the final analysis, worth every penny.
    Yes you can use an exterior grade fir, for example, but remember, the hours spent building will still be the same, and that's the greater cost of boat building.

    Alan
     
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  4. rodmar
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    rodmar Junior Member

    first of all, thanks for the help!
    im thinking of a 23' or 26' sailboat, i would like it to look sleek, more classic i do not want camping comodities, it`s meant to be a day sailer! i saw a very beautiful boat called "Tofinou 7m" from "Latitude 46" i would like to recreate something like that but with less expensive materials!
    marine plywood is very expensive but i guess you are right about the time i´ll have to spend building it! probably the same and a good marine plywood will last longer!
    i have been researching the web and i have seen tons o comments about varnish, special paintings and epoxy and i do not know anymore whats best!
    are the hull ribs plywood too? or i can use other material?
    i guess i should start the project and then ask questions as i go trough it but i guess materials are the first thing to think about when you are trying tocalculate a budget!
    SHOULD I USED PLYWOOD (MARINE OR NOT) FOR ALL THE HULL PARTS?

    thank you!
     
  5. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Do some homework on strip planking, it is a very easy building method, and when sheathed in glass is very strong and durable.
     
  6. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    Can I put you right on Alloy
    It goes three times as far as steel, up to a certain size of boat you could build a very cheap alloy chine sailboat

    It builds three times as fast, and it works out a darned site cheaper overall,
    But setting up costs a bit more in as far as you need good welding gear
    Modern yachts often have painted joinery, but to do a first rate job is a lot more time consuming than a varnish job, however if you a re not so flash at joinery,like me, it may be a consideration, paint looks very swish, especially with just varnished trim and lots of fabric
    once I crewed on MAXI racer Buccaneer, one the Syney Hobart, was the biggest ply racer in world,there are still many fine ply boats made
     
  7. Manie B
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    Manie B Senior Member

    Last year when i was shopping around for plywood i was shocked at the prices of "normal" plywood sold at our local builders supply mega stores. One would assume that their prices would be cheap - WRONG.

    I bought my marine grade plywood WBP from
    http://www.ckdboats.com/plywood.asp cheaper than at ANY builders supply, and that was including shipping costs!

    They supply kits worldwide, so check them out, you may be surprised at what prices they could supply - even to Mexico. Epoxy from ckdboats is easy to work with, incredibilly strong and you can build a damn fine boat.

    One thing that i always advise is, dont design yourself - BUY A PLAN you will only understand when you have made the mistake of building your own design first time out. If you are a keen worker and have the time to experiment, and throw your experiments away, go ahead and draw your own plans.
     
  8. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Hull ribs, as you call them, would be frames, partial bulkheads, and full bulkheads insofar as plywood construction is concerned. Often, just partial and full bulkheads without frames between.
    There is no clearcut rule saying plywood can or can't be used for the smaller frames, though in that orientation and shape, solid wood is both cheaper and stronger. Bulkheads are almost always plywood, often also forming part of the interior furnishings. Plywood is incredibly strong diagonally in comparison with a built-up bulkhead made from boards/planks. This is also called web construction. The webs are used to support the skin when "planking" but they aren't removed later. They are bonded to the skin and they become an integral part of the boat.
    This method is very strong and also easier to build from plans/kits as one need only accurately cut out parts from patterns and space them at designated "stations" along the building jig.
    If you are accustomed to accuracy, this part will be a snap. Your learning curve will involve how to make bonds between parts using epoxy and a host of filler additives and fiberglass cloth/mat.
    As others have said, find a design that has all the info you need to carry out the construction. Some plans are very thoughtfully drawn/written, and you can even call the designer for free (up to a limit) in many cases.
    Don't get too ambitious at first. There are so many things you have to learn---- I'm not saying you can't do it. I'm saying, starting with a smaller boat (16 ft is perfect) will allow you to make your mistakes without so great an expense of time and materials.
    A lot of folks here are really good boatbuilders but they might appear to you to be over-ambitious if they told you they (without any experience) wanted to buy a chest full of machinists tools and immediately go to work building fuel injection pumps.
    They're clever, but not that clever.

    Alan
     
  9. Gilbert
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    I will not say that Alan's suggestion that you build a 16 foot boat is bad advice. But if you build a smaller boat that you do not want, you are spending time and money that you may not be able to recover. This could be very significant as you indicate you are going to do this on a budget. I would recommend you chose a design of the size you want to have that is not above the abilities of a first time builder; one that has some step by step directions along with it to lead you through the process.
    Also those clear finishes on beautifully built wood boats do make you drool. But they come at a very high price in time spent both in building and in maintaining that 'don't touch it' look. My advice (been there, done that) is don't even think about it. A plain boat is just as much fun to use.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  10. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    By all means, don't build a boat that doesn't excite you. Many a schooner has been built in a backyard, sometimes a first boat, and something has to motivate the builder to stick with it for so many years. It's such an individual thing, how prepared one should be to begin, that it's impossible to say whose advice makes more sense in any individual case.
    It's healthy to approach the discussion from many different directions, allowing the original poster to make the most informed decisions.

    Alan
     
  11. the1much
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    the1much hippie dreams

    EXACTLY! hehe ,,,heres a "quickie" hehe ;)
    http://www.videonewslive.com/view/196197/popsicle_stick_boat_sets_sail
     
  12. rodmar
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    rodmar Junior Member

    thank you gus for all of youre advise!
    my main goal is to lear sailing, i hoped i could learn sailing on a 40 something feet long sailboat, buuttt i guess first you walk then you run and afterward you skate or ski!
    i am building the boat first because of the fun, and then because i can`t buy a brand new one. or i could if the house i bought it from allowed me to pay for it as i thought convinent for me, when i chose to invest on it and without interests or fees for deleyed payments. (which is utopic and impossible)
    all of you guys are right, it`s true that i will be stucked with whatever i built for a while and is true that i will be investing money on it and although i would like it to be etremely beatiful and of great performance (the lamborgini of sailboats jajaja) and perhaps someday i do it... i am certain that it won´t be this first time.
    but the other guys are also right, cause as much as i love my boat once is finished and as much it cost me to build it; in the end it`s a sailboat which it`s used for sailing and in the case of this particular sailboat, i will be sailed by a complete begginer! but to me, for now, learning is the important thing and trust me, wheather it comes out to be a pice oj junk or the most beautiful thing i could ever build, i will sink the damned thing if necessary with no regret in order to learn!!!! so the questions are all the same what ca i use as a cheaper decking material, what ca ia use as a cheaper skin material, and what is better? epoxi, varnish or special pain, or all of them?

    thank you guys!!!
     
  13. Dot_mdb
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Dot_mdb New Member

    I just happened to come across this forum when searching for something else on the internet. I built two boats quite a number of years ago and I have some comments about your question.

    First of all the larger the boat, the more expensive it is going to be to maintain. You have to consider whether you want to be able to trailer it, whether you will have to have it hauled out and stored at times during the year. If you have to leave it at a slip in a boat yard the fees will be considerable.

    Wood is an appealing material for boat building because it is traditional. I question if it is the best material in today's world. First of all the woods that used to be the boat building woods are scarce today and boats need high quality wood that is expensive. Second, if you are going to build the type of boat you are considering and if you want to use plywood you better use marine grade plywood. In my experience even the marine grade is not really that perfect. The problem is voids in the center of the plywood. Marine grade has less voids but they are still there or at least they were when I was using it and I doubt if quality has improved. Those voids lead to condensation and to rot.

    Before you build you have a lot of decisions to make. You have to decide on the type of boat and the material and then you will need a good set of plans. Don't even think of building a boat without good plans. Do you know how to loft the lines of a boat? If not you will have to learn because many plans are not full sized drawings and you will have to do the lofting to determine the shape of the various parts etc. Also plans don't always tell you how to make every part because the person who drew up the plans figured that the builder would have a certain amount of knowledge. That means you have to really know what you are doing before you start. I suggest getting every book on boat building you can find and reading each one cover to cover.

    A sail boat is a big project especially the size that you are talking about. Don't forget just finishing the basic hull is probably not more than half of the work. I built smaller boats but you will need a rudder, a mast, maybe a centerboard. Even if you don't plan to live aboard you will need places for storage and seats of some type. Everything has to be fitted and nothing on a boat is square and straight.

    Do you have the tools? I would guess that a 26' sailboat would require no less than 100 clamps of various sizes. Even then you will have to build some yourself because of the depth of throat required to reach the work that has to be held. You are going to need every size of wood plane and chisel and you better know how to sharpen so that the edge is good enough to shave with. Wooden boats are not so much sawn out as carved with some methods taking more detail work than others.

    For power tools you are going to need a decent table saw and a band saw. A jig saw and a router are nice also both stationary and portable. Do you have the capability to melt lead? If you need a keel cast you will have to have that done but even if you don't need lead in a keel you might need it in the centerboard or the rudder or for ballast.

    If you are going to use plywood, even good marine plywood you are well advised to seal it with epoxy. Epoxy comes in many different forms. To seal plywood you need to paint on the stuff with a brush applying many coats especially to the cut ends to seal them completely. You want to seal the faces of the plywood also and the stuff tends to run and sag a little and that makes getting a good paint finish later a problem. Every method of boat building has its own problems. There is no easy way to build a boat.

    Plywood comes in various lengths but it is not going to be long enough to cover a boat. That means it has to be scarfed, pieces joined together. You better learn how to do it right or it won't hold or won't look right. You are going to want to use epoxy glue. It is expensive but it is also permanent.

    If you want a boat that will last you will probably want to cover the plywood with some type of fabric, maybe fiberglass or polyester. You are going to need a resin. Epoxy is the best. But it is expensive. Labor to build a boat is even more expensive. You just can't skimp on materials. You will have to make a choice on fasteners. In my boats I used copper and bronze. When I was building copper was probably .25/pound. Now it is $4/pound. Everything you buy has to come from boat supply houses and they are not cheap because everything is a specialty item.

    The more curves a boat has the harder it is to build. Some designs can't use plywood becuase of the compound curves that sheet goods can't be formed into. If you are going to do your sailing along the coast and just for pleasure you would be well advised to consider a flat bottomed boat. They are easier to build and for the dollars and labor involved will give the greatest pleasure.

    One last note. Before you start consider the health hazards involved. Boat building has always been hazardous. The only things that have changed are the materials. You will be working with resins and you will be sanding resin impregnated woods and working with fibers. None of that stuff is good for your lungs and skin so be prepared to take precautions because the dangers are real.

    Bill
     
  14. rodmar
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    rodmar Junior Member

    Mr. Bill, i just got to say, THANK YOU! for the advise! i guess you are right, i still have many things to learn, to consider and to think about before getting started. i will wrete the link to the picture of the boat i would like to recreate, it does not have to be exactly like that one, i just want to find the plans of one that looks like it and i will try to make it look a like
    http://www.classic-boats.com/fr/diapos/Tof7/diapos.php
    http://www.classic-boats.com/fr/diapos/Tof7/diapos.php
    http://www.classic-boats.com/fr/diapos/Tof7/diapos.php
    http://www.classic-boats.com/fr/diapos/Tof7/diapos.php

    please let me know what you think, i think its beautiful and worth the try. perhaps i wonnt be able to use expensive woods like mahogany or teak but i can try to find something as effective, as beautiful and inside my income budget! please let me know what you think of it and what advise would you give me!

    Rod...
     

  15. Dot_mdb
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Dot_mdb New Member

    I am guessing because it is hard to tell by looking at pictures but I am pretty sure that those boats have a hull that is popped out of a mold. I don't know your skill level but building something like that as a first project would in my opinion be quite an undertaking. You have to remember that even professional small boat builders of years back built very few designs. They got good at one type and they had all of the cuts and shapes worked out and that is what they built over an over again.

    You are only going to build a design once. But in effect you have to do all of the same work as a builder who will build the same model time after time. The biggest headaches and mistakes will come in the first few times a boat is built.

    There is something else you have to consider. A light fast boat takes more skill to build than a heavy slow one. In my opinion if you want to build a boat, especially a wooden one you should look at designs that have a working boat heritage. They will be simpler to build and the boat will be quite useful and sturdy also.

    To a great extent boat building and boat sailing are very different endeavors. I suggest if you haven't already done so you should get some experience on the water to make sure you like being there before you think of building a boat. Also, it is a lot easier to learn to sail properly on a small boat than on a large one. The basics are all the same but starting with a small boat is going to be a much cheaper way to learn and you will get out there faster.

    You may want to find where boat people hang out and see if someone with a boat would take you on as part of a small crew to help you get started. My understanding is that crewmembers can be in demand and it can't hurt to try. Keep in mind that not owning a boat is very advantageous because you don't have the expense.

    There is a saying, "A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into." Another is, "A man's two happiest days are when he buys his boat and when he sells his boat." Those are not just funny sayings because there is a lot of truth behind them.

    There is something else to think about. Today there is a lot of traffic on the water. You have irresponsible people with over powered boats going too fast, water skiers, hang gliders and other things that you are better off staying away from when you are under sail. A small boat with a shallow draft can get away from all of that commotion and danger.

    If I was going to build another small boat I would probably build one that could use a small outboard motor. The boat could be faster to build because it wouldn't need all the extras a sailboat needs. Another idea would be to build a good rowboat. I don’t know if you can still buy a good rowboat but it is a design that benefits from being built of wood and being heavy is not a disadvantage. If you live close to the water you would never want to get rid of it and if you did there would always be someone who would want to buy it. If you decide on something like that have the oars professionally made and buy the best you can afford.

    I suggest you get “The Dory Book” by John Gardner and “Building Small Craft”: also by Gardner. If you have a library near you they may be able to get the books through some type of inter-library loan association if they have one.

    They are also available through Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/Dory-Book-Joh...bs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209283094&sr=8-1

    http://www.amazon.com/Building-Clas...d_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1209283094&sr=8-2

    If you intend to build a small boat you have to read those books. In fact don’t even think about cutting your first piece of wood until you have read them cover to cover and understand every word inside.

    Bill
     
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