how to make a living building boats- advice please

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by tahoetom, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. tahoetom
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: west coast

    tahoetom New Member

    hello everyone, iv been visiting this site for a while and decided to become a member as i have a great interest in boat building. I wanted to know how all of you became metal boat fabricators and welders, did you get training, apprenticeships, or just experience working. I want to make a living building metal boats what path should i take im thinking about going to a community college for welding, iv only found a few boat building programs in the usa but most seem to focus on would. Any advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated


  2. kmorin
    Joined: Apr 2005
    Posts: 185
    Likes: 18, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 231
    Location: Alaska

    kmorin Senior Member

    Making a Living Building Boats

    I read an article by the late and great Tom Fexas whom, I think, repeated this axiom in his article:

    " IF you want to make a Small Fortune in boat building; first, you start with a Large Fortune and then....."

    Stay single, find a currently working builder and join his work force. You may not get a wage or a good one if you do get one, but if you stay at it, sweep floors and do what's needed and work to learn- you will.

    If you aren't patient with those who already know, like some folks tend to be today, they won't explain what they know. If you are patient, respectful and take advantage of every single opportunity to learn- not talk, not tell others what you do or don't know, but listen and learn- then you will.

    No one can keep you from knowledge if you're serious about getting it.

    You don't need a welding course you need a welding machine, or access to one. You don't need a course in boat building; you need some stiff paper -like file folders or poster board, a batten and some scissors and tape; start with a flat bottom skiff, and work up.

    There are countless books on every single phase/stage of design, welding and building in metal.

    You don't need to go to class - you need to write list of things to learn and look them up on the net, buy the books and start learning. It will be a measure of your interest how you move ahead- schools or your own self reliance? I'd wager every experienced metal boat builder is in the latter category but that is just the ones I do and have known.

    oh yeah, did I mention -stay single?

    Kevin Morin
  3. Paul A
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 16
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Florida

    Paul A Junior Member

    Buy a few sets of darts. Yep, those things that get thrown at dart boards and hanging on walls in a bar. Get the metal tipped ones, because everyone knows they are the best. Stand with the your feet firmly planted and about shoulder width apart, then throw the dart with authority, no wimpy stuff. Don't aim at the dart board, aim at your feet. Naturally, you'll want to move your feet to prevent getting "the point", but you can only do so after you've thrown the dart. As your skills build, you should be able to avoid getting harpooned with every other throw. This is when you've become a success, when you only get harpooned on every other throw.
  4. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Sound advice Kevin!

    And yes, Fexas made the point.


  5. tahoetom
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 4
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: west coast

    tahoetom New Member

    thanks for the advise
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.