The value of time

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by lewisboats, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. rxcomposite
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    Whenever I have the money, I don't have time; whenever I have the time, I don't have money.

    The value of time is proportional to the amount of money you have at the time.
  2. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Bill, as I was eluding to... it depends who you are.

    Do you normally make $95/hr at work (after taxes)? If not, your time is not worth $95/hr.

    Stick your after-tax hourly wage in there to run numbers. That will be what your personal time is worth.

    The idea is... if that after tax hourly income is greater than the hourly charge a pro boat builder charges, you are better off sticking to your regular work and paying someone to build your boat.

    This doesn't count the "love of the build" or emotions. This is just straight financial talk.
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  3. CaptBill
    Joined: Jan 2010
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    CaptBill CaptBill

    So, let me see if I understand what you are asking by asking you a hypothetical question....

    If the tax man comes to you and TAKES your money to the point you can't get on the water, is that a reflection on the quality of YOUR HARD WORK? Is that PROOF of you don't know what you are doing? Do you even have grounds for complaint?
  4. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    OK, what does that number mean in the real world?

    Unless I take up a career as a gigolo I can't get $95 an hour for my time, nor could I afford to pay someone else $95 an hour to do the work for me.

    I usually earn about $10-$13 an hour, but does that mean anything either? I can't convert the hours I spend working on the boat into hours at work (no one likes to pay overtime).

    Nor does this take into account the value of the enjoyment I get from working on boats. How much would I have to spend to have as much fun doing something else? If I enjoyed playing golf as much as I enjoy working on the boat (which I don't), would the value per hour of time spent working on the boat be equal to the cost of a round of golf?

    To my mind, the cost based accounting of time only makes sense when you are doing something you don't like. I can see how this applies to a lot of people on this site. They would rather be out using their boat than working on it and the time spent doing the latter is not much fun for them. They see this time as being lost, as time that could have been spent on something they enjoyed rather than working on the damn boat.

    For them the calculus of build vs. buy leans heavily to the buy side. Likewise, when considering the headaches involved in building something one can afford from less-than-ideal materials vs not building at all, many people will say the frustration and compromises aren't worth it. It seems to me that for many people giving advice here, no boat at all is better than a half assed one that requires continuous maintenance and repair.

    On the other hand, there are also quite a number of people who enjoy the building process and would rather put up with the headaches of a sub-standard boat than sit at home with no boat at all. Obviously I'm in the latter category. I consider the time I spend building and working on boats to be time enjoyed, not a chore that has to be done before I can go use the boat. Sure, I enjoy sailing, but I also enjoy all the ancillary tasks that go with it (well, most of them anyway).

    This is the source of a lot of frustration for me and many others when it comes to trying to get help on this site. Doing it right is often times not going to be an option for me due to costs, and not doing it at all is not an option I'm willing to consider. The question then becomes, how do I get the best results possible within the resources I have available to apply to the project. Many many people come to these forums with the same sorts of questions and get the answer "if you can't do it right don't even try", and that's just not helpful advice for anyone.
  5. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    I learned to build with my time spent on countless projects.
    It was time well spent and far more valuable to me than the projects produced.
    I would not discount the value of productive effort.
  6. lewisboats
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    I wasn't referring to any particular thread...just a general trend in some over the years. I do see that some folks are of similar opinion here. Personally I have more than half a dozen boats around here...all made with "substandard" plywood. I would not take them out in conditions or locations that the design is clearly not up to but I wouldn't hesitate to use them or abuse them (up to a point) in conditions that they were designed for. I beat the crap out of my little Vee bottomed 10 footer...eventually gouging a heck of a scrape out of it and not catching it before storing it. This was the eventual demise of the boat...and yes the ply was crappy luan that I paid all of $8 per sheet for plus about $100 in epoxy. There was more invested in the epoxy than the ply that is for sure but the whole boat cost me less than getting 2 sheets of marine ply shipped to my house and lasted about 7 years. I could probably have gotten more with some repairs but I wanted the space for something else and it was time to get it gone anyways. My point is that not everyone wants or needs to use the best of materials all the time.
    PAR...I about dropped my teeth (which are still mine) when I read your reply at the beginning of the thread you referred first thought was "who are you and what have you done with the real Paul?" I never though I would read you saying to use A/C exterior laminated together like that. I can decent Arocco plywood here...exterior glue, no voids 3 ply 1/4". It's a pine plywood and it checks pretty bad but stays nice with a light glassing. My other local alternatives are variations of 5 ply baltic birch...some are really nice and others are crappy. Otherwise I would have to shlep to Des Moines (a 4 hour trip one way) to pay $100 per sheet or so for 1/4" and I would have to take a day off of work to do it on too. That would make for some mighty expensive plywood. Shipping it comes out about the same and no-one to receive it so I would have to find time to go and get it from the shipping company...if it was local. I might have to go to Sioux Falls or Omaha to get it from them. Please understand...anyone in the center of the country faces the same problems...I could drive 8 hours west, southwest or northwest and Des Moines would still be the closest place to get marine ply. It just ain't easy or even relatively cheap to get anything marine around here if it doesn't involve Walleye or Bass
  7. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think it depends on the build. For example, a 14' skiff built of CDX is fine, I do it myself. Using cheap plywood on a 35' is really stupid because it is a very small percentage of the total cost.
  8. Dirteater
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Dirteater Senior Member

    I think I agree with Gonzo here,
    why build with cheap ply on a small craft.
    It makes sense the a first time builder (myself included)
    are probably building for their own personel enjoyment.
    and with proper maintenance every year or two, I am hoping
    the boat will last a long time. However, my budget and time are
    limited (as with most I'm sure). Having gone with
    Marine Ply, I believe it is a good decision, and
    other areas in my budget will have to compensate.
    I do understand how the question of ply is an age old question.
    as to what my time is worth? hmm?
    I don't have a deadline so its difficult to say :)

  9. SheetWise
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I think economics gets a short shrift in this discussion. You need to entertain the concepts of opportunity cost and marginal utility to actually make decisions that have a positive expected value.

    This will initially look like a foreign language if you're not familiar with it, but I can assure you that it is a language worth learning. These questions will soon disappear.
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  10. sabahcat
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    sabahcat Senior Member

    I agree
    First dinghy I built I did a lovely job of it using quality materials and then some ******* stole it

    Since then they have been cheap ply, deliberately looking crappy (no fairing of glass tapes and paint slapped on)
    But they do the job as intended are fast to build and I have no issue dragging them across the rocks.

    No ******* has stolen them either.
  11. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    But I don't have a homebuilt '32 roadster.:)

    I have a CJ-5 I call 'FrankenJeep,' because it was put together from parts of dead Jeeps. Frank gets a new paint job every two or three years, which usually takes three spray cans of Rustoleum Sunrise Red enamel...

    That might horrify some guys on a Jeep forum, but I wouldn't log on there for painting tips anyway. I'd log on to ask questions about tuning my Dauntless V6 oddfire, or about the pro's and con's of installing Detroit lockers.

    I think one of the original points was that some home builders aren't interested in turning out a work of art or an heirloom. They want to get a safe and usable boat built and get it in the water, with a reasonably minimal expenditure of time and money.

    There's little point in someone lecturing them about using only the best materials and best techniques to produce the best boat possible, and they shouldn't necessarily hold off until and unless they can do so. A couple of my canoes were built at times in my life when twenty dollars could be a lot of money.... one was built from scraps of cdx sheer paneling and 1x2 furring strips out of a housing tract dumpster, and it lasted for years. Of course it was dry-sailed most of the time, and I kept paint on it.
  12. cthippo
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    cthippo Senior Member

    I think this is especially true with a first boat, because it IS your first boat and hence a learning experience. Might as well make mistakes with the cheap stuff, figure out what's important to you and what techniques you like, and then later apply that to more expensive materials.
  13. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Na, I prefer to mess up with Core Cell foam, phenolic microbaloons, System Three epoxy and $100 sheets of plywood. ;)
  14. troy2000
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    troy2000 Senior Member

    That sounds to this old wood butcher like banging your head against a wall because it's going to feel so sooo good when you stop.:D

  15. Dirteater
    Joined: Oct 2010
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    Dirteater Senior Member

    CT: your probably right if one can afford to build more than one boat,
    I however can only afford to build the one, so I have to make sure
    I get all my mistakes right on the first one. :D

    I can see you going "big" good or bad. :p
    seems to me you taken on/done some fair size builds to say the least.
    (a braver man than I (better skilled as well I'm sure :) )

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