Chesapeake bay work boat?????

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by localwaterboy, Jul 8, 2004.

  1. localwaterboy
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    localwaterboy New Member

    I am looking for plans (preferably free) of the oyster/crab/manoe boats seen on the chesapeake bay. I know most of them are built without plans, but something similar would do. 20' - 30' in length small pilot house on bow. Prefer plans for outboard even though most of these I see are inboard. Thanks in advance for all replies. P.S. GREAT site
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Check Howard Chapelle's books. They have plans for them.
     
  3. pungolee
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    pungolee Senior Member

    Chesapeake boat

    Have you considered restoring an original?A friend of mine went up to the Chrisfield area and bought a 20 footer for around 300 dollars,it had a chevy six-banger in it but it could have been easily turned into an outboard.The front cabin was cool looking but didn't have room to spit in,these guys wanted deck space.He put dark tinted glass in it and after painting it white with red bottom it really turned heads.I know you want new but there are many of these boats floundering around in need of saving,and most were built by the old timers that knew how to build one.A little searching may net a grey boat for 100 dollars,it would serve as a model/pattern boat while you build,this way beats plans by a mile,and with a little paint/renovation on the old one you would have a beautiful lawn ornament,or you could sell it to a seafood restaurant and recoup your investment.
     
  4. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The problem with those workboats, is that they were built to last a short time. For that price you get a boat with a lot of rot and other problems. Restoring a boat is more work than building a new one. I have worked on many of those boats. When the owner wants to get a couple more fishing seasons, it is not so difficult to patch them. However, for a pleasure boat quality, there is too much work and money involved.
     
  5. pungolee
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    pungolee Senior Member

    An original sitting there would still serve best to facilitate building a new one,a good pattern boat beats plans two to one for ease of assembly.Restoration is not always more difficult than building new,especially for the novice without clamps and jigs and good band saws.The concepts of repairing what is there is more quickly grasped than lofting and initial set-up by the novice.Being in Maryland Waterboy should have no trouble finding a restorable example,and plenty of good advice to see his project to completion.The one my friend purchased was built like a rock,from what appeared to be old growth lumber,not all of these boats were built for the short term.Many are still oystering after 50 years of hard work.
     
  6. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I disagree with that. Restoration is usually more expensive. First you need to take out the bad or damaged parts, then figure out how they were built and installed. After, you install the new part. That makes restoring more difficult than new construction. Marinas are full of boats that started being restored by amateurs and were left behind. Even for a professional it is difficult to estimate the time and materials for a restoration or major repair. However, localwaterboy if you decide to buy an old boat, I strongly suggest a pre-purchase survey by somebody familiar with those boats.
     
  7. pungolee
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    pungolee Senior Member

    R.R.Rivenbark, President of Barbour Boatworks, told me all Barbours were initially lofted,and then hundreds of boats were built by semi-skilled workers to a high level of quality from a simple pattern.If you have a frame in your hand to look at and study your confidence level that you can finish the project rises,no matter that a friend who is a cabinet maker or you yourself cut the timber.I've seen these yards,and despite the failures there are as many success stories,loners and couples doing the crap work to realise a dream.One has to fight the elements to own a wooden boat,newly built or vintage.There are just too many fine examples of classic vintage boats available for restoration to justify plans to build from new,unless you are in business or seek to build a Lifetime dream. In that case,you can subtract "time" from the cost,as these are labours of love.Restoration should not be overlooked,the cost of materials is not that high if you have a dream and plenty of time.And most wooden boat people do.
     
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I still disagree. The cost of materials is the same for a plank in new construction or a restoration. Time is costly too. Whether you have to build a barn to house your project or rent space at a marina. Many amateur projects deteriorate faster than they are worked on. Have you done a spreadsheet with time and materials? Doing the numbers bring forth the realities of the job. As for professionals making money, a restoration project is a gold mine comparing to new construction.
     
  9. pungolee
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    pungolee Senior Member

    I must disagree.Perhaps there are other more learned opinions as to what is more expensive,restoration or new construction,that would join this fray.You speak from a business point of view,but spreadsheets and time do not enter into a labour of love.If you remove the mystic of wooden boats for the novice then they will never join in what can be a rewarding experience,financial considerations is not the motivating factor.Perhaps first efforts at restoration do wither more quickly for the novice,but that is where knowledge is obtained,a most valuable commodity.There is a higher calling for the one who wishes to own a wooden boat,it can be great therapy to restore your own piece of history,and the satisfaction of seeing the job through surely equals that of building a plywood boat from stock plans.There are excellent boats being built by the students of the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort,but when one comes up for sale it is usually at a much lower price than a comparable Barbour or Grady White that has been lovingly restored.Old boats have soul,so to speak,compared to the lifeless okume skiffs I see being put out by first timers.
     
  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    It takes less skill to build new than to restore a boat properly. There is a misconception that it is the opposite. I think that is why so many projects never get done.
     
  11. Corpus Skipper
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    Corpus Skipper Hopeless Boataholic

    Lots of good points from both sides. Not having much experience with wood boats (as in plank on frame, etc...) I can't really add much. Though I know the two materials are worlds apart, I can say it is a whole bunch cheaper to restore a fiberglass boat than to build or purchase a new one. Even cheaper than "lifeless okume skiffs". I have a 1980 Chris Craft 26' flybridge I bought for $17,000. The previous owner had refurbished the cabin, and it is in very nice condition. My Dad and I rebuilt the engines, added fresh water cooling, added electronics, outriggers, and other gear. We have about $28,000 so far including our current haul out in progress. We do all the work ourselves. She still needs topside 'glass work (cracks, breakouts, etc...), paint, real marine A/C (she has a window unit now), and other goodies. All told, we'll have about $35-38,000 wrapped up in her when "finished". Meanwhile, we use her as she is and enjoy her a lot. The closest new boat in this size and configuration we can find is about $115,000. I estimate the cost to build Ted Brewer's Deer Isle 28 to be about $50,000 with a single diesel and finished to yacht quality, materials only. Still quite a bit more than what we'll have in our current restoration project. But like I said, wood is a whole other animal. :D
     
  12. Dutch Peter
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    Dutch Peter Senior Member

    Gonzo, you're absolutely right. A restoration project puts a higher demand on your skills.
    Pungolee, look at it this way: it's easier to build a brik wall than to take out a brik in the middle and replace it with an other.
    With new build you're the creator, with restoration you have the restrictions of the excisting shape.
    On the materials cost issue it's a bit dependant on the amount of restoration!
    With new build you need lots of materials and a discount can be optained from the suppliers (most of the time). Prices for the barn or rent are the same weather you're new building or restoring!
    The fact that lots of restoration projects get abandoned is also due to the fact that, once started, you start with braking up the bad parts, and you find more and more, and your list of what to repair gets bigger and bigger and the job seams endless (I've had this feeling several times, even on small projects). It's when you start to rebuild that you feel some new energy flowing and the horizon looks a bit closer. If that happens, I'm pretty sure the boat will get finished.
     
  13. pungolee
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    pungolee Senior Member

    The boy wanted a Chesapeake work boat. I doubt he could build one from scratch, but if he did, he would need either a mentor(to begin to understand how to work from plans)or a pattern boat of the general type he wished to build.I will repeat an earlier quote,it is much easier for the novice to work from a pattern boat than plans.Period.A pattern hull can be had for a low price,and will serve to aquaint the beginner with the basic systems neccesary for a well built craft,along with supplemental study.If he decides to complete a restoration, he will enjoy a historic craft,or a patched up mess.If he builds new,chances are very good he will end up with a crude homemade mess.Either choice is ok,because its all about learning,whether the job is completed or not.We can all argue till we are blue in the face which is easier,building from scratch or restoration,but since this is a wooden boatbuilding and restoration forum I will argue a restoration is more desirable in the long run and easier than building from scratch,and will promote the same concept.Down here we start our children with a simple restoration of their own before we put them to lofting and scale.It encourages them to see results,and perhaps some will gain the skills to build a classic,not these ply school boats you can't give away.If you go to the trouble of building new it should be a craft that is of the design and materials along with proper workmanship that could one day make it a classic as well,not something like a middle school project that gets thrown behind the house to fill with water and rot.We finish our restorations, and we own classics.
     
  14. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think you need to separate your emotions from the facts. I have built over 25 Carolina Sportfishermen in the Outer Banks. I have also built plywood boats in half a day. The statements about what is easier are based on experience and verifiable facts. The thing about "Down here we start our children with a simple restoration of their own before we put them to lofting and scale" is rather dramatic and inaccurate. Most boatbuilders start working in a shop with new construction before they aquire the skills to restore; particularly a classic.
     

  15. Ilan Voyager
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    Ilan Voyager Senior Member

    I agree with Gonzo. Build a new boat is easier than restoring. When you calculate the hours, it's better to sit down the customer before announcing the price.

    I have no any mysticism about wooden boats: wood is a good material for some applications, as fiberglass, or steel , or alu, or sandwich are good in their domain.

    My experience is mainly with work boats (professional race boats are work boats not pleasure yachts), and I agree with Gonzo that most small work boats were not built for lasting simply for economical reasons. The boat had just to last enough time to be paid and to raise the money for a new one, at the minimal price, that gives something around 5 to 10 years. For the fisherman it's a tool not a "children".

    So a lot of small (a bigger also) work boats give very bad surprises when you begin to restore them: often they are in a worst shape that you imagined after scraping the paint.

    It's twice the work (dismount and remount), and on wooden or steel boats it may become a nightmare: for example all screws are solidly stucked to the wood and the heads break one after one...hours and hours of hard work, or the plates show deep corrosion. Working inside a dirty smelly old boat can be agonishing.

    I've learnt naval carpentry before studying engineering, and I consider that most classic wood carpentry is beyond the capacities of a home builder. Formation of a good naval carpenter take years, and a lot of heavy tooling is needed.

    Time is an important fact; it costs in monetary terms but also in human terms. A home builder has a job, wife, kids, etc...so finally he has not so many hours for boatbuilding. If the restoration never ends, or becomes too expensive, it a guaranteed failure.

    Restoration, as I have seen in many places, is only for addicts (I understand very well this addiction), or for very luck people who found a boat in very good condition, needing only a engine rebuild and cosmetics. Fiberglass is the easiest: or the hull is good or is falling apart. A good surveyor will make an expertise in a snap.

    Cheasapeake boats are good boats and pretty simple, so building a new one won't be a difficult task. If I remember well Mystic Seaport museum must have plans by Gardner (?, I'm not sure of the name) or look at the Woodenboat internet site. In last resort you can take the measures and scantlings of one which pleases you, these boats are far from complication.
     
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