The Materials Realities of 2014

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by F.H.B., Mar 31, 2014.

  1. F.H.B.
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    F.H.B. Junior Member

    Well, here it is. The most likely heated debate about to begin, but yet is worth all of the opinions. I think we can all keep this civil :)

    I have been thinking of the ever present masses of wanna-be cruising home self-builders. Call it the DIY craze that returns every 20 years or so each time the economy dips. A great many people want to build a decent cruising sail or power boat that they can take off on either soon, "soon," or at 'retirement'.

    When I look at the modern (ok, getting to be actually, what, 20 years now?) plywood and epoxy methods, I see so little financial incentive especially compared to just buying an old glass cruiser and fixing it up. Plywood is no longer cheaper than lumber. M/HDO or marine grade? Fuhgettabout it! Ok, so it's not that many sheets, really, for a 30' cruiser or so, and may be worth the savings in time, skills, and effort. Up to you.

    But, lets look at epoxy now. What is the coverage of your epoxy when sealing plywood? There will be slight variations depending on how heavy it is applied. Generally speaking, a gallon of epoxy will yield 250 square feet. Therefore a typical 4'x8' sheet of plywood would require about one quart(32oz) to seal both sides. Oh! yeah... it takes 3 coats to properly seal it. So, now we are at 3 quarts per sheet. Double layer of ply sheets? 1/2qt to bond. Adding glass? More needed. Epoxy is, according to threads here, on "sale" for about $50/gal U.S.A. So that $50 sheet of on sale exterior ACX (of which the ply layers are bonded with cuprinol or it's various cousins) is now $100. It will last for a very long time.

    Compare that to Thailand teak lumber and cuprinol for $500 per cubic meter FOB - enough (after the sawdust of cutting it up) for a 1" thick slab-sided, waterproof, stip planking that is 32'long and 6' high. Same price as inferior plywood and you have real TEAK. Cheaper, and less oily, HARDwood is $100 per cubic meter with the cuprinol. A 5x savings and it it is still a beautiful hardwood boat.

    Ok... argue that strip planking is a lot of work on round bilges, but most in the category of DIY want to get going quickly and aren't 'yachtie' types. They are here asking about triloboats, bolger boxes, dories, etc. Dead simple strip planking.

    A cuprinol (or maybe Tightbond3 or others, though I haven't read up on them yet but urea-formadehide seems likely) boat is tradition of pre-epoxy days. Waterproof, but not a gap filler.

    Even if someone argues that in 10 years I will have to pull out 20% of the sides and replace the deck, so what?

    Let the (polite) rants begin below :) but, really, I am advocating materials and techniques for the current economy, not closed-minded 'this is how it is done now'. Can someone talk me out of this logic?
     
  2. oceannavigator2

    oceannavigator2 Previous Member

    I cannot disagree, assuming the promise land idea of Thailand is how you describe it to be. It is always cheapest and best for the environment to buy a used boat.

    And epoxy on sale for $50/gal?? That's a fantastic price.
     
  3. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    If you were worried about financial incentives, you wouldn't buy a boat at all.

    Poida
     
  4. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    Yeah , cant see much point to building your own boat, unless you really like to build boats.
    The bigger question is should we as a society allow people to build there own boats.
    Think of the danger in which people place themselves. Tax man forbid they go to an early grave. The DIY craze is bad, people will start do all kinds of thins by them selves, and this cannot be good. For a cohesive society to continue, we all have too be on the same page. the religion of consumerism, demands it.
     
  5. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Pu-leeze** You don't like epoxy or have an old dull axe to grind, don't use either and go your way. This argument is too tired to get out of the bed.

    Teak at $500 /cu meter?? Have you checked you calculator?
    Mine offers over $14,000/cu meter at $35/BF, and its often a lot higher than that.

    There are many reasons why builders choose the material for their boats. What are you talking about cuprinol for and what has it to do with plywood?
     
  6. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    I quess for the most part it depends on many thing. If you go back to the early 70, when "Woodenboat" started, wood and a place to build was relatively cheap. The baby boomers were young, and full of piss an vinegar. Boat at the time were expensive relative to what a young man made. So it made sense too build it yourself. There is also the intangible of the desire to create it by yourself. With the population increase , and the scarcity of material and coastal land, this all changed. We also have a aging population that have bought lots of boats, and now want out get out from under them.
    fiber glass boat last longer than wood boats, so there is an accumulated excess of these boats. Like everything else, the changing demographic and financial landscape, will determine what people will do for the most part , unless you just want to build a boat.
     
  7. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    Sorry for my comments , I see that "tom28571" has made this thread moot.
     
  8. Ozparker72
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    Ozparker72 Junior Member

    In my experience, stitch and glue method is a great way for someone who is not a trained wood-worker to build a good solid water-tight boat.

    I am a carpenter by trade, it has taken me many years to develop the skills to use traditional wood-working tools "properly".

    Also, how far back before the days of epoxy should we go?
    How about before power tools, just working with sawn timber and hand made fixings?

    IMHO modern materials such as Epoxy are fantastic, it means that someone who has the "guts" to try and build something themselves, (rather than buying some poorly made mass-produced piece of rubbish "off the shelf) has a realistic chance of success.
    These building methods can tolerate a wide margin of error without the consequences being catastrophic. That means a 1st time builder is in with a chance!
     
  9. Ozparker72
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    Ozparker72 Junior Member

    I've used "plantation Teak" from Thailand, personally it wouldn't be my 1st choice of timber, its not in the same league as the old Burma Teak. Personally I prefer Iroko or Douglas.
     
  10. Wayne Grabow
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    Wayne Grabow Senior Member

    Please confirm for me that this entire reply is tongue-in-cheek.
     
  11. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    If you are going to respond to the concern about rebuilding your boat in 10 years with "so what" then there really is nothing to discuss.

    Do what you want.

    I don't see that you actually raised a question, you just rephrased a rant.:confused:
     
  12. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    Yes, sort of. But there are a whole bunch of people out there that want to curtail any endeavor that they find dangerous or difficult. They want a world free from risk, or inconvenience. They think there can be a risk free democracy, when the very mature of of free society is fraught with risk.

    They will deny us the right to take food, but if we are starving give us the choice of begging from the government, or being arrested. We have become like the slave escaping to freedom and having to steel chickens along the way.

    That is the last of that, from me, on this stuff you will hear on this forum.
     
  13. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Would the real price of teak please stand up ? The OP says $500 per cu m, but if Tom28571's estimate of $35k is nearer to correct, the entire discussion is pointless.
     
  14. frank smith
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    frank smith Senior Member

    Honestly , I would look at steal or aluminum. Welding isnt that hard to learn, and you can certainly hire a welder. Plywood is good for a box or house barge. Cant see foam core one as that hard. Or have it build in the third world.
     

  15. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    :p I think you will go to jail if you steal.

    Should I use steel for my kayaks??
    How about a 20' Trimaran?
     
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