What is the best material for a hull?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by El_Guero, Oct 26, 2013.

  1. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member


    First, "CBD Boat Design"

    Muchas gracias. Sus palabras fueron algunos de los mejores en este foro - siempre.

    rustybarge - that Jamison's might make any boat look better in a storm .... And it is good to know about aluminum, I had thought just the US Navy was having problems with aluminum.

    Erik, thank you for your observations. And I love your kayak, do you have anymore photos?

  2. erik818
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    erik818 Senior Member

    Asking an amateur boat builder for pictures of his boat is dangerous. There might be no end to them. Here are three pictures from the build. The wood strips are stapled to the stations. Epoxy to glue the strips to each other is applied when all strips are in place which makes the build less messy. Then the staples are removed, the hull sanded and the layer with glass and epoxy applied. At the end, the hull is removed from the stations and the work done to the inside.

    The spruce strips are 5 mm thick. I wonder if the method with epoxy applied when all strips are in place will work with thicker strips, like 15 mm.


    Attached Files:

  3. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member


    Thank you!

    The last photo looks so much like a dugout canoe .... Impressive and beautiful.

    I always love wood.

  4. lohring
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    lohring Junior Member

    When I look around my house on the Oregon coast, all the medium sized (over 15 feet) powerboats are aluminum. Smaller and older boats are fiberglass with some wood. A friend in the industry said almost no fiberglass boats were built last year. All the boats they sell are aluminum. There must be a reason.

    Lohring Miller
  5. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    The best material with which an amateur should build is the material with which the amateur can demonstrate his best skill.
  6. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Lohring; It seems that Oregon rivers are notoriously rocky and often swift. Smashing into rocks is an inevitable event. Aluminum skin fares better in those cases because it is reasonably malleable while fiberglass is not. Aluminum is the obvious best choice for the application.

    Here in Florida FRP is more common but we do not have the same kinds of hazards. Well there are alligators but they are not likely to attack ones boat.

    Though I am a wood enthusiast, if I was inclined to abuse my boat I'd select alluminum. It will put up with outdoor storage, internal collections of leaves, dirt, and other abuses, without much distress. Material should be selected in mind of expected use. That brings us back to SOR.
  7. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    True, but I am looking to expand knowledge .... I.e., if Aluminum skin is MUCH better than Dacron, I might want to change what I love a little.

  8. FMS
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    FMS Senior Member

    Maintenance. Most dead boats are because of neglect: death by a hundred screw holes. Most marinas have at least a couple boats with weeds growing around them abandoned because of rotten transoms or rotten stringers.

    The other reason is market demand and profit. Curves still appeal to common buyers and FRP makes curved shapes easy to mass produce inexpensively.
  9. El_Guero

    El_Guero Previous Member

    Thank you.

    That is a clear line. For my personal use, I think ply, or SOF, is still the direction I am going.

    But, I am not most people.

    Customer demand and maintenance are both important to choosing materials.
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    JETMORE New Member

    I have worked with various resins, cores, and types of boats for over 20 years, and as a general rule, as far as a "bang for the buck" i think a vinylester boat built in s-glass with an endgrain balsa core is hard to beat. vinylester does far better at keeping water out than polyester, and so then the balsa lasts much longer. s-glass is more forgiving than carbon fibre, though not quite as strong. if money were no object, but weight was a consideration then i would still opt for a balsa core, but would use epoxy and a carbon and kevlar weave, if weight and cost are not a consideration, then no core, but simply solid epoxy construction all the way through with carbon and kevlar. if you are filthy rich, forget the carbon and kevlar and get a boron weave.
  11. Barry
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    Barry Senior Member

    It would appear that if El Guero was interested in opinions on material choices that he should have chosen a specific boat type and then he would have been able to get some consensus on a BEST material choice and the reasons why and also if the boat is for mass production or a "one off" home built boat
    A 16 foot canoe or kayak---exotic composite, cheap polyethelyene, fibreglass
    A 30 mph jet powered river boat----------- welded aluminum
    A 12 foot fishing boat for lakes------------riveted aluminum
    A ski-wakeboard boat----------------------fibreglass
    a 35 foot sportfisher-------------usually fibreglass then the exotic composites if cost is not an issue, or aluminum
    a 300 foot ocean cruiser, fibreglass or steel or aluminum
    These are examples, so perhaps El can say for what type of boat, a one off project home built, or production, etc and the learned contributors to this forum can provide realistic and experienced opinions that will really help him
    answer the question "what is the best hull material"
    Then cost considerations, weight considerations, building difficulty considerations can be discussed.
    1 person likes this.
  12. Saqa
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    Saqa Senior Member

    For me, I want to go out and have a good fish, cruise and hoon around

    And be totally comfy and feel totally safe in my boat. I want the ability to smash through the roughest chop and wake

    Feel totally at ease when things turn ugly, relax through a 4m swell and head home without panicking

    I want to be able to store the boat and trailer in my garage, tow easy and still be passing many so called sports cars on the motorway and of the line in my 8cyl holden

    I dont want to worry about smashing the boat if I hit anything when fishing shallow rocky areas, oyster racks, if the boat ever accidentally comes of the trailer

    I dont want to be limited to where and when I can launch and retrieve, no worries about damaging the boat. I want to be able to winch it right up the ramp and rocks if I have to, or drive it up a rocky shoreline

    I want to muck around playing with installing stuff like electronics and this and that holders and such by screwing straight into the hull and want to be able to change my mind and screw it some where else and fix the old holes in mins

    hmmmmmm I found such a boat! 3.6m long with a 30hp motor and centre console...Mac 360 Attack....loved it to bits and miss it badly.....perfect hull material!!!!!
  13. parkland
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    parkland Senior Member

    For a slower boat, and inland fresh water use, I think steel is unbeatable.
    Cheap and easy to fix, easy to build, and takes a beating better than anything else, IMHO.
    Even a rotted out steel boat can be reapired to original strength, I have doubts about fiberglass patchwork. Same with aluminum; stress cracks show up, sure you can re-weld it, but will it crack again?
    Steel seems to be more idiot proof and forgiving.
    I wouldn't be surprised if a part time welding farmer could weld a boat out of steel, that would be stronger than an aluminum boat professionally done. Steel just seems to be more forgiving, and posesses more qualities I'd want in a boat.

    That being said, the corrosion resistance of fiberglass and aluminum are very alluring.
    I think in salt water, I'd lose interest in the upkeep of a steel boat quickly.
  14. SamSam
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    SamSam Senior Member

    So...it was made out of hamburger?

    Just kidding.

  15. Saqa
    Joined: Oct 2013
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    Saqa Senior Member

    Lol not the big mac, junior burger for me....that mob are the ones who actually make the Maccas playland stuff!!
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