Cost Of Traditional Wood Build Vs Various Modern Techniques

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Boston, Mar 29, 2010.

  1. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    I was just wondering what the cost comparison between say strip planked cold molded ashcroft method or what ever else you can think of might be when compared to standard plank of frame construction for a wooden yacht

    my bet is that standard plank on frame is cheapest with ashcroft coming a close second and diagonal maybe a distant third

  2. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    Depends... if you have a reasonably prized source for quality boat building timber.. For the modern methods it's easier to get strips and veneers..
  3. liki
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    liki Senior Member

    Any idea for a source with reasonable prices in Finland? :)

    I'd need a few sheets of 6mm and 9mm okoume plywood along some boat-quality pine. Any ideas other than the one supplier in Kotka?
  4. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer

    What are you including in the cost? Materials is obvious, but if you include skilled labour, the shed/overhead, tools, etc, things will change.

    Using reasonably good material ensures longevity in any method, though in theory you can get away with lesser grades in some modern construction methods.

    Sheathed strip planking over NC cut molds will be the quickest and cheapest method to get a high quality round bottom hull. Multiple layer cold-molding will be the most expensive but also the highest quality and strongest (best) construction. Traditional plank-on-frame cost will be somewhere in between, but requires skilled people to accomplish quickly, and thousands of fastenings which are expensive and getting hard to come by.
  5. Tapio Peltonen
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    Tapio Peltonen Junior Member

    I don't know, you might have to import it yourself, if you really have to use okoume.

    Hannu Vartiala ( uses birch ply for pretty much everything he builds, with good results. Of course birch is at least twice as heavy as okoume.
  6. TeddyDiver
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    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

  7. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    Boston, I would guess you have no problem getting the traditional woods and certainly have the skills and tools to put them to good use. On the other hand, marine ply is expensive and the epoxy and glass that usually go with it up the ante even further. So I would have to say it's the trad route for you.

    For me it would have to be marine ply and the pox every time; the fine old traditional stuff is wasted on me. I finished my small sailboat last year and did a few experimental sailing projects over the Winter. Now the bug is biting again and I'm taking another look at the lines of Rushton's Wee Lassie. is there any sign of a cure yet?

    I know you're not busy. So get on with it, man! What are you planning?
  8. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    ya Im beginning to look twice at the more of a traditional build again
    finances are continuing to slip and I want the biggest bang for the buck

    I like the idea of diagonal planking and want to work that into the program but I need to chose materials and technique in order to move forward with the weight budget

    red ceder is cheap for me at least and white oak is even cheaper so plank on frame is probably my cheapest in terms of materials cost
    I also have a handle on bronze rod pretty cheap so bolts wont break the bank if I just thread them myself. I also have all the forge stuff so knocking the heads into them is also no big deal.

    thing is I keep hearing about how nice and dry these cold molded hulls are to live in and if I can possibly swing it I'd really like to do a cold molded hull

    frankly it just doesn't look that hard and the frame is much simpler to boot
    what I really need to know is whats the best material choice
    maybe I could sandwitch ceder and oak. thing is that cedar is going to soak up a lot of epoxy.

    so maybe white pine instead although white pine rots really easily same as all the pines
  9. ancient kayaker
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    ancient kayaker aka Terry Haines

    I dunno, I always thought the main ingredient in any molded hull tends to be epoxy. There are cheaper alternatives if you can master the challenges.

    There was a time I believe, when molded hulls were made using shellac between the layers. If that is correct -I'm told I have senior moments though I haven't noticed myself- that could be an interesting experiment and dirt cheap if you can mill your own wood.

    I'm not sure I would want to leave such a hull in the water too long. How big a boat are we talking about, something that can be dry-moored or bigger?
  10. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    9# shelac to be specific yes but the stuff costs about as much as epoxy
    Im thinking of going with a diagonal planking and an epoxy coating on the outside for antifouling and maybe shelac for the interior layers of diagonal plank
    our friend Par once mentioned this plan would work just fine

    might be my best alternative

    thing is its a bad idea to mix and match building methods so I will need to do a frame for this
    I think

    frame is is no big deal but it needs to be accounted for in the weight budget which is where Im at now in the process

  11. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Concur completely on your entire post.

    But we have to tell the novice that the material is just about 3 to 5% of the whole task, and the entire enclosed hull and superstructure not more than 12 to 20% of the boat.
    Having a "monel" fastenenings supplier today, seems to be something like a godsend gift. It is´nt, we just must pay them proper and they will survive.;)


    a traditionally built boat of wood on wooden frames is the cheapest, most reliable, and longest lasting boat one can do!
    IF you have skilled labour, knowledgeable shipwrights, and every single day a hand on your boat.

    If you neglect it, wood is the least forgiving material.

    Expensive to make, but extremely easy to take care of. One can replace planking and frames as often as it is needed! Replace a single sheet of metal in a metal boat!?
    No you do´nt do! imagine >removing the entire cabinetry, insulation, plumbing, wiring in that area will cost you the same amount than half a new hull.<

    A glassfibre yoghurt cup? ahh forget it,
    A well done wood epoxy? (perfect choice ´til repairs) forget it,
    A metal boat? perfect til the first repair of the shell.

    When wood is possible, to old plans, old performance, old methods, new prices, go for conventional wooden boat building!!!!
    You know I build in wood epoxy, but doing a sailing boat to your demand (Passages), I would say, build a old boat to old plans, and have every single plank replaced at no cost at every other anchorage, have the entire structure replaced through the years, without removing the insulation and cabinetry (I can tell you this is a difference of 50 to 200 times the cost!).

    When calculating the lifetime cost of a boat (you bear in mind I am ALWAYS talking about active sailing / passagemaking only), you will find out, that the maintenance of the most demanding wooden built comes out to be the cheapest !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nobody knows, nowbody cares, now body believes, because they do not focus on cost over the lifespan, they are focussed on the maximum affordable volume.

    A good crafted woody, ist ten times the value and half the effort over the century.
    But has to be sailed daily!
    Neglect a woody and she will eat your wallet out.
    Sail a woody and she will be the cheapest boat you can think of!
    Replace the planks, for example. That is pennies, compared to replacing structural elements on a metal boat. (Just imagine to remove the entire cabinetry and insulation in the area???)
    And forget about the Yoghurt cups and even my wood epoxy boats......

    Plank on frame...
    to a very old and proven design.....
    done by proud and skilled shipwrights...

    will outlast all of our grandchildren.


    I can hear them already, butchering me, fighting for their preferred building method and / or material. Forget it

    i am sailing on trial runs in the Aegean on serial production sailing boats at present. We have destroyed one, got the tree down on another, ****** the entire rig on a third (we are happy and continue) ALL CRAP, the best names, highest prices, best selling boats ALL CRAP, PLAIN CRAP, Just CRAP......
  12. TollyWally
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    TollyWally Senior Member

    Richard has a good point, wood perhaps more than other materials depends on frequent use for a long life. A working boat of decent materials will outlast it's builder, lasting for generations.
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    "I dunno, I always thought the main ingredient in any molded hull tends to be epoxy. There are cheaper alternatives if you can master the challenges."

    I had a cold molded tri built in the 60's and the drill then was resoursinol glue and monel staples as pressure medium.

    The hassle with resoursinol is it doesn't fill gaps as well as epoxy , so a much higher standard of workmanship skills is required.

    The good news is unlike GRP if a few days or weeks go by , the work can be continued with out sanding and secondary bond issues.

  14. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    I can just talk about what I know, and the cost associated with my way of building.
    I prefer by trade and habit the sawn frames, double or clamp baked and closed spaced, then the heavy fastened strip plank, or carvel, then the ceiling. Usualy when possible fastened on the edge.
    I like deck in pine in tongue and groove but very thick. I used normally twice the scantling of the planking.
    I never bother with bronze, galvanized was always enough, and for the wood a lot of pine basically, from the Pyrenean which is very strong, and here I use a lot of spruce and fir (sorry for the purist!)
    I don't use glue, I use sealant or some kind of in between goop, but I use a lot, and I mean a lot of mechanical fastening.
    I spend a lot of time on lofting and pattern making, which I consider the most important step in building a vessel, so I know and cut all my bevels and all my different shape before ********.
    I keep my wood tender on a huge tank of kerosene and linseed oil, and as far as possible avoid the steaming.
    I don't realy care about the perfect fairing of the hull, and the glossy never atracted me.
    Nothing new under the sky with me, but I find I was not very expensive.
    I forget to say that I always built outside. The machines inside as as the lofting of course.
    And I take a very accurate log book, which I find extremely useful to know when i am slow, and when I can slowdown. These booklet after years and boats, gave me a lot of informations.
    I am not trying to sell myself, I just explain what I know and do.

  15. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    I have witnessed a few boat built traditionally from Indonesia. They are well built, and the costs are the lowest that I have ever seen. As they are stilll building that way for themselves, a foreign owner should be able to have one built there at the standard rate. I would suggest that you at least have a gander at them. I am not recommending that they are the best boats built or the cheapest, but from what I have seen for myself they certainly do require a closer inspection.

    The cheapest build will be one that you do yourself with skilled assistants that do it anyhow...they need not be paid anymore if you learn how to work with them, and I am sure you will be capable of doing that.

    Burma also has good quality builds, but no fasteners that I know of, so all fasteners and fittings will have to be imported. I would also look at neighbouring countries builds. Such as Thailand, Malaysia, and Ceylon.
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